Plagiarism and attribution: an academic literacies approach

Anna Eva Magyar

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In many Higher Education courses in the UK the ability to write extended academic prose is central to assessment and therefore to student success. One aspect of academic writing which students struggle with is incorporating the work and ideas of others, using appropriate attribution conventions. This can lead them to fall foul of institutions' plagiarism policies. Advice on plagiarism often consists of discussions around what is or is not plagiaristic behaviour while advice on attribution has tended to focus on referencing. This paper explores what an academic literacies approach to plagiarism might look like. It discusses and illustrates how an academic literacies approach was used in the design, analysis and application of a small-scale ethnographic research which set out to explore international postgraduate students' understandings of and questions about plagiarism across the disciplines in one UK university. The intention of the research was to use the findings in developing more culturally and context sensitive explanations of our attribution practices.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Learning Development in Higher Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Plagiarism
  • writing development
  • attribution

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