High school students’ understanding of e-plagiarism

Some New Zealand observations

Kwok-Wing Lai

Jenny Weeks


While in the last decade there has been a growth of research on e-plagiarism in higher education, relatively little research has been conducted in high schools, particularly with regard to the extent to which it is being practised, its implications on assessment practice, and the pedagogical and technical strategies used to cope with it. This paper documents the findings of a study investigating the understanding of New Zealand high school students on the nature and forms of plagiarism, as well as the extent to which they plagiarised. Data in this study has been collected in two ways: (1) a questionnaire survey was administered to a random sample of first-year university students to solicit responses on their understanding of plagiarism when they were in high school; and (2) a content analysis of all the high schools websites in New Zealand was undertaken to gather data on school rules and policies with regard to e-plagiarism. Findings of this study show that the nature of plagiarism has not been clearly understood by students, and many schools considered it primarily as a copyright issue, with rules and regulations on plagiarism written as part of the Internet acceptable use policy.

This paper was submitted to the International Integrity & Plagiarism Conference which ran between 2004-2014. The paper was peer reviewed by an independent editorial board and features in the conference proceedings.