Plagiarism Memorization study approach, by using information based
Plagiarism is always granted, specifically by Western universities, to be a vital issue affecting student’s study result or even on their onward lifetime. Many critics attempt to shed light on how culture influences the plagiarism practice including Colin Sowden. Sowden (2005) stated that the differences in cultural background seem to be a crucial determinant, especially for the Asian students, to acknowledge that utilizing ideas from the others without referencing is acceptable.He, also, suggests approach for Western universities to compromise and help the overseas students by improving their comprehension and language skills via oral presentation. However, it seems that Sowden’s article is including some selective information and unreliable evidences supporting his ideas. So, this essay, I would like to evaluate the Sowden’s article by focusing on his claim about culture impact on plagiarism; 1) Communal ownership of knowledge, 2) Respecting in group consensus 3) Memorization study approach, by using information based on Sowden (2005) and Liu (2005).The communal ownership of knowledge: Sowden (2005:226) appears to believe that, a common Asian’s culture, is to recognize knowledge as the public goods in which everyone can utilize without commending or referencing.
He gives two support evidences which are the interview result of a group of Japanese students and the tradition of Chinese academic norms using in Civil service exam. Pecorari (2005 cited in Sowden, 2005:226) reported that the Japanese students gave the reason for their plagiarism that since the knowledge is belongs to no one, thus, it is unnecessary to mention the author’s name.Another evidence is the Chinese academic Norms, in which, according to Sowden (2005: 227) ‘The Philosopher’s word were known by and belong to everyone, and being able to reproduce them, without citation, in place of your own, was considered an appropriate’.
Nonetheless, it seems that his support evidences are, to some extent, unreliable as using selective information. To illustrate, his samples of the interview, solely the group of Japanese students, is inadequate to significantly indicate what all the Asian students have been taught.Specifically, the group of students is the one who is plagiarism suspected, so, this information can be partially biased. Furthermore, his latter evidence is more likely to be based on his own opinion and there are number of evidences against his conclusion. Referring to Liu’s study (2005:235), the idea to accept plagiarism is never exist in China and, in fact, Chinese people are raised to respect and always give the credit when using other’s idea.He raised the Chinese words, Composition book and textbook, which has written long time ago before this debate has started, that contain words and article which is anti-plagiarism as his evidences. Moreover, Liu (2005:236) also stated that, even in present, anti-plagiarism concept still be emphasized over the Chinese academic and research institution.
With more reliable evidences from Liu’s by using more authoritative source, while Sowden’s evidence is more selective, it is more likely to believe that Asian nation, especially China, also raise plagiarism as an immoral practice.Respecting in group consensus: Sowden (2005:227) claimed that the Asian’s tradition to commend the group consensus than one self’s opinion leads to plagiarism. He further explained that this Asian’s tradition to respect in group consensus can reflect through the Asian students’ behavior in the classroom by sharing knowledge and accountability which is different from Western universities’ expectation and this may responsible for the plagiarism. Yet, this seems to be relying on his presumption and not always true.According to Liu’s study (2005:238), after evaluating between Chinese and Western study system by his own experience, he found that the Western system also encourages students to do group work and share their own experiences and knowledge to each other as the same as it is in Chinese System.
So, there is a little likelihood that the Asian culture of respecting the group consensus normally has a great impact to encourage student to plagiarize, if so, the Western students should also be encouraged to plagiarize by the study system as well.Memorization study approach: Sowden (2005:229) assumes the idea that Asian students seems to get accustomed with the memorization study approach with less critical thinking. In other words, the Asian students are more likely to learn by reproducing the existing knowledge and this reproductive approach seems to promote plagiarism as he has stated. However, it appears that Sowden attempts to explain the connection between the memorization approach with plagiarism by sing implicitly assumption that memorization study approach is to reproduce the other’s idea and knowledge without citation, and this can be a part of plagiarism practice.
His implicit assumption is seemingly wrong, as a matter of fact, the concept of memorization and copying is different to some extent. Memorization is a tool to support the overseas students to improve their language skills by memorizing how to write a well-written essay. This is not similar to copying which means to steal or use other ideas and claim to be their own.Liu (2005:237) also highlights this difference in his study, ‘Yet memorizing good writing to help one to learn better is not the same thing as copying other work and claiming it as one’s own’.
All in all, Sowden’s study (2005) provides the useful perspective of how cultural background influence plagiarism acknowledgment and practices. Yet, his study seems to use some selective information and unreliable sources as his support, and also, his assumption usually can be against by argumentative evidences.Thus, it cannot be precisely conclude that the Asian cultural background, which are Communal ownership of knowledge, Respecting in group consensus and Memorization study approach, responsible for the plagiarism practice by Asian or overseas students. References: Sowden, C.
(2005) ‘Plagiarism and the culture of multilingual students in higher education abroad’, ELT Journal volume 59/3 July 2005: 226-233 Liu, D. (2005) ‘Plagiarism in ESOL students: is cultural conditioning truly the major culprit? ’, ELT Journal volume 59/3 July 2005: 234-241