Who has read the policy on plagiarism? Unpacking students' understanding of plagiarism

J. M. Gullifer, G. A. Tyson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Research has established that the term plagiarism is open to different interpretations, resulting in confusion among students and staff alike. University policy on academic integrity/misconduct defines the behaviours that all stakeholders must abide by, and the parameters for reporting, investigating and penalising infringements. These definitions are the benchmark for assessing how well students understand plagiarism. An invitation to complete a survey examining students' understanding of the institutional policy on academic integrity was sent to all domestic students enrolled at an Australian university. A total of 3405 students completed the survey. The data were examined by year of study, faculty, and whether the students were studying on campus or by distance education. Findings indicate that only half of the participants had read the policy on plagiarism and that confusion regarding what behaviour constitutes plagiarism was evident. The implications of these findings are that a systematic educative approach to academic integrity is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1202-1218
Number of pages17
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • academic integrity
  • college students
  • education higher
  • plagiarism
  • universities (education)
  • university policy
  • university student

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