Deconstructing Attitudes towards Plagiarism of Japanese Undergraduates in EFL Academic Writing Classes

  •  Jennifer Teeter    


In this study, a qualitative analysis of 276 first-year Japanese university science major responses to plagiarism to deconstruct prevailing generalizations regarding the incidence of plagiarism by Japanese university students. These students were enrolled in a compulsory yearlong English academic writing course. While utilizing a contextualized incident, rather than generalized statements, to gain a more thorough understanding of students’ perceptions of plagiarism, this study also seeks to address the current imbalances in English-language analyses on plagiarism in Japan which fail to incorporate Japanese-language sources and studies. In contrast to previous research based on hypotheses of cultural conditioning which assume students are ambivalent towards plagiarism, the students surveyed displayed a complex awareness of the educational and societal issues that frame occurrences of plagiarism and a desire to receive effective training in academic writing techniques, similar to their native English-speaking counterparts. Finally, the paper makes suggestions for pedagogy that empowers students with tools to critically navigate the dominant academic world.

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