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Library Guide for International Students

Academic Integrity

The International Center for Academic Integrity defines academic integrity as a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to six fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. Acts of plagiarism and other forms of cheating compromise academic integrity.

Plagiarism -- A Cultural Context

International students may sometimes find it difficult to understand the concept of plagiarism depending on their cultural backgrounds. There could be several reasons for that -

Plagiarism - A Cultural Construct

  • Western cultures view an individual as owner of knowledge while Non-Western cultures view knowledge as shared property
  • Western cultures value individual achievements and responsibilities while non-Western cultures often emphasize on collective/shared efforts and goals
  • As a form of respect, international students may not feel that they can enhance or refute the ideas and writings of scholars in their specific fields
  • Copying the scholar's work without citing the source may be considered as a sign of respect
  • Students may not cite a well-known scholar on the basis that it is implicit in their paper (everyone knows who they are talking about) 

Different Teaching and Learning Styles

  • Open discussions and debates are encouraged in Western Classrooms. Drawing attention to oneself by expressing opinions may be considered disrespectful to the professor who is considered to be the ultimate authority in classroom
  • Memorization of the scholar's works may be viewed as a sign of respect and the ability to recite their works verbatim in tests and exams could win higher grades
  • Academic performances in non-western educational systems are often based on memorization and tests/exams and students have little or no experience in writing research papers that require critical thinking and individual opinions

Language Barriers

  • Research and writing may take much longer if the students' native language is not English
  • Students may not feel confident in expressing themselves in English and find it easier to find and use already written text that reflect their personal opinions

Even if these reasons are understandable, all students, international and domestic, at Skyline College are responsible to know what constitutes academic dishonesty. Please make sure to read Academic Integrity/Honesty at Skyline CollegeIf you have any questions about plagiarism or academic integrity, just ask for help!