A Master of Arts Thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Randa Fayez Bou-Mehdi Entitled, "Investigating High School Students' Attitudes Towards Plagiarism in the Writing Classroom," August 2010. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis.
Plagiarism is a controversial issue nowadays, with some researchers arguing that students plagiarize because they are dishonest, and others believing that students plagiarize because they lack the specific research and citation skills required in the writing classroom. Others believe that students who are taught that plagiarism is unethical would not plagiarize if they were equipped with the necessary skills to accomplish the assignment. Following a clear pedagogy on what plagiarism means and how to avoid it would reduce the number of plagiarism cases in schools. This research sought to answer the following three research questions by involving 115 male and female students who study at a private school in Dubai: (1) Do students know what plagiarism is? (2) What research skills do these students say their teachers teach them? (3) Under what circumstances, if any, might students plagiarize? These students were in grade 10 and they were of different nationalities, both Arab and non-Arab. I distributed questionnaires which included open-ended and closeended questions, from which I collected both quantitative and qualitative data. The findings indicated that the female students were more aware of plagiarism than the male students were. Students' responses have shown that most of the students learned about plagiarism from sources other than their school environment. In addition, most students said that they were taught how to summarize and paraphrase but not how to quote. However, many students reported facing difficulty in paraphrasing. This may suggest that students are plagiarizing when they find it difficult to paraphrase because they do not know how to quote. The majority of the students said that they see themselves in situations where they or their classmates might plagiarize, for reasons like lack of research skills, time constraints, or not having enough information about the topic.