Research Skills for Developing Writers: Lesson 7 Pre-Reading Activities

An introductory guide to help multilingual undergraduate writers at the U develop their research skills.

Pre-Reading Opinion Poll

In your opinion, students plagiarize because...

Pre-Reading Opinion Poll
...they want to get a good grade.: 246 votes (36.28%)
...they are lazy and do not want to do the work.: 200 votes (29.5%)
...they wait too long to start their research project and run out of time.: 55 votes (8.11%)
...they are too scared to do their project because they don't know how to begin or where to find resources.: 32 votes (4.72%)
...they do not understand that, in the US, copying another person's work is cheating.: 65 votes (9.59%) is how they have always accomplished their research.: 22 votes (3.24%)
...they don't believe they can succeed using their own words and ideas.: 58 votes (8.55%)
Total Votes: 678

Pre-Reading Text: Background Information

Heitman, E., & Litewka, S. (2011). International perspectives on plagiarism and considerations for teaching

      international trainees.Urologic Oncology29(1), 104-108. doi:10.1016/j.urolonc.2010.09.014

In the increasingly global community of biomedical science and graduate science education, many US academic researchers work with international trainees whose views on scientific writing and plagiarism can be strikingly different from US norms. Although a growing number of countries and international professional organizations identify plagiarism as research misconduct, many international trainees come from research environments where plagiarism is ill-defined and even commonly practiced. Two research-ethics educators consider current perspectives on plagiarism around the world and contend that US research-training programs should focus on trainees' scientific writing skills and acculturation, not simply on preventing plagiarism.


Sowden, C. (2005). Plagiarism and the Culture of Multilingual Students in Higher Education Abroad. 

               ELT Journal59(3), 226-233.

The cultural values of multilingual students are sometimes at variance with Western academic practice, in matters such as plagiarism. In accepting this, however, it is important to avoid stereotyping. Instead we should respect and make use of the students' own traditions of study. It is also time to acknowledge that ideas and language are necessarily derivative, and to take account of this in our understanding of plagiarism. Plagiarism itself can be discouraged by the use of oral presentations, both as a means of improving language control, and as a tool within the overall assessment process. In addition, attention should be given to students' unfamiliarity with concepts which are culturally conditioned.


Next: Defining Plagiarism

Subject Guide

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