Technical and Non-Technical Programme Students’ Attitudes and Reasons for Plagiarism

  •  Madhubala Harji    
  •  Zalina Ismail    
  •  Thiba Chetty    
  •  Krishnaveni Letchumanan    


To date, plagiarism continues to be a widespread problem in higher education. Deemed to be endemic, researchers continue to examine various aspects of plagiarism, including students’ perception, practices, attitudes and reasons for plagiarism, in addressing this growing concern. Most studies, however, tend to examine these aspects independently. This paper reports on a study that examined both the students’ attitudes and reasons for plagiarism, particularly among the Technical and Non-Technical programme students. A questionnaire was administered to 120 students, i.e. 60 each from each programme to gather quantitative data on their attitudes and reasons for plagiarising. The study found that students in both groups hold negative attitudes towards plagiarism. They deem it synonymous to cheating in final examinations and advocate severe penalty to offenders who submit free downloaded or purchased articles. However, they disagree on being penalised for permitting their peers to plagiarise their work. Significant differences were found for the latter two attitudes between the groups. Albeit, disfavouring plagiarism, the two most cited reasons that compel students in both groups to plagiarise are their self-inadequacy in writing skills and poor time management, followed by the temptation and opportunity to plagiarise from the internet and to cope with the institutional load. With an understanding of these variables, all parties will be able to make more informed decisions in addressing this malpractice and upholding academic integrity.

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