In the recent years, there has been a high increase in the number of international students studying in U.S. universities, especially Chinese students. The high increase is caused partly due to the need to promote knowledge exchange and establish relationships between people from diverse cultural settings (Bartlett & Fischer, 2011).
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Although this high influx in the number of international students helps to boost the economy, forge international connections and research capacities, universities also have to contend with the challenge of academic dishonesty that such international students could bring to their institutions.
To many Chinese students, plagiarism is a foreign concept as the Western definition of plagiarism varies significantly from the Eastern construct. If all the international Chinese students admitted to ISU are to avoid committing plagiarism, the university should consider developing a handbook on what entails plagiarism, how to avoid it, and the possible consequences of committing plagiarism.
Description of the handbook
The proposed plagiarism handbook should guide new Chinese international students joining the university. Ideally, the handbook should be used as a part of the students’ orientation exercise. One of the reasons why Chinese students find it hard to apprehend the Western idea of plagiarism, while studying abroad, is because of their deep-rooted Chinese cultural norms according to which expert opinion is respected (University of Cambridge, 2013).
As a matter of fact, the Chinese view referencing the sources as an act of disrespect to not just the author, but the reader as well. The assumption is that by referencing a source, you merely state that it is not widely known. As such, it would be better to use a handbook on plagiarism to explain how variations in the Western and Eastern culture could actually be one of the reasons why plagiarism is detected in the works by many Chinese students.
Another unique cultural norm of the Chinese is their total commitment to practices taught at school (University of Cambridge, 2013). As such, a lot of explanation is needed to convince Chinese students to accept and appreciate the requirement for referencing the sources used in order to avoid plagiarism. Again, a handbook would be the most ideal tool of choice as there would be enough space to provide the explanation.
The handbook would provide the international Chinese students with such useful information as:
A clear, detailed and elaborate definition of plagiarism.
The handbook should give various definitions of the term plagiarism so that Chinese students can understand what plagiarism means. The handbook should also bring in examples of situations that are likely to lead to plagiarism, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
For example, writing the words of another author verbatim and failing to put such words in quotation marks or even acknowledge the original quotations will be considered as plagiarism. To drive the point home, such an explanation should be followed by detailed examples.
Why students are likely to commit plagiarism
Many students plagiarize unintentionally mainly because they do not know the correct way to incorporate the ideas and words of other authors into their own work. Therefore, the handbook should guide Chinese students on the various strategies of avoiding plagiarism, such as by giving credit to the author of the original work that you cite by properly referencing it both in-text and on the reference page.
Strategies on avoiding plagiarism
The handbook should demonstrate using examples how to put quotation marks around directly quoted work, in addition to identifying the source. The handbook should also demonstrate the right way of paraphrasing text in your own words, followed by proper in-text citation, and citing the source at the reference list.
Tips on how to summarize the main ideas of the text should also be provided (Chen & Ullen, 2011). In addition, the handbook should provide examples how to cite various sources, such as printed sources (journal articles, books, and newspapers), electronic sources (government websites, online articles, etc.), and images, among others.
Also, students are likely to commit plagiarism due to pressure to complete assignments or term papers before the deadline is due. In this case, the handbook should learn them how to manage their time wisely to avoid rushing at the last minute.
Consequences of committing plagiarism
The handbook should also clearly spell out the penalties for plagiarism. Such penalties include expulsion and/or failed grade for the particular subject or the entire course.
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Language of the handbook
Considering that English is the second language to Chinese international students, it is important to choose the words used in the handbook carefully. The language should be simple and clear. Attention should be paid to avoiding colloquial English.
In order to manage the problem of academic plagiarism committed by Chinese international students, the institution should consider developing a simple but detailed handbook that defines the term of plagiarism, the reasons why international students are likely to commit plagiarism, strategies and techniques to avoid plagiarism, and its possible consequences. The handbook should be detailed but easy to read.
Bartlett, T., & Fischer, K. (2011). American colleges find the Chinese-student boom a tricky fit. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Web.
Chen, Y., & Ullen, M. K. (2011). Helping international students succeed academically through research process and plagiarism workshops. College & Research Library, 72(3), 209-234.
University of Cambridge. (2013). Different Cultural Perceptions of Plagiarism. Web.