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Examining Plagiarism Among First-Generation and Historically Underrepresented College Students Through Semi-Structured Interviews

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By: Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

This research used semi-structured interviews to discuss experiences with plagiarism among 18 first-generation and/or historically underrepresented college students. The questions guiding the research focused specifically on the reasons students gave for why they plagiarized and how those explanations differed from prevailing typologies that construct plagiarism as wholly intentional or unintentional. In other words, this project considered the extent to which students’ explanations were similar to those discussed in other research and the extent to which their explanations were inadequately represented in other research findings. Furthermore, this research asked to what extent students’ K-12 educational histories played a role in their decisions to plagiarize, either because they lacked confidence in their academic skills or because they struggled with a sense of belonging (or "fit") in higher education. Methodologically, this research gave particular attention to the stigma and academic repercussions associated with plagiarism, emphasizing the heightened vulnerability of the interview participants and the importance of strict confidentiality. Interview data were analyzed using provisional and causal coding techniques described by Saldaña (2013), and findings indicated that prevailing explanations for student plagiarism did not adequately capture the complex reasons some students have for engaging in academic dishonesty.

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Methods Map

Qualitative interviewing

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