Authors: Yin Ling Cheung and Shuangjuan Kang
Along with the reported rise of plagiarism in academic writing across higher institutions in this era, plagiarism has received increasing research attention across a variety of fields. In the field of academic literacy, a large number of well-cited monographs and research articles have been generated to add on this already-heated scholarly discussion. Despite the abundance of literature, as many researchers have recently asserted, there seems very little that we know for sure about plagiarism. Such an uncertainty becomes even more acute with our deepening realization that the multi-dimensional, multi-factorial, heterogeneous and instable nature of plagiarism defy for a simple explanation, characterization, and approach. As a result, appeals are voiced since long by researchers that for future studies, pluralistic, integrative, ideographic perspective and approach instead of singular, nomothetic ones need to be taken in either its reconceptualization or investigation. Nevertheless, in reality, probably because of complex operationalization required or varied research orientations, the above-mentioned pluralistic perspectives have not yet translated into general research, not to mention the institutional practice. A majority of studies still approached plagiarism from a monolithic manner. Specifically, these studies either failed to acknowledge the existence of multiple and unintentional plagiarism verified by numerous studies, obstinately endorsing an absolute conceptualization or view plagiarism from a restrained or singular perspective such as cultural perspectives, developmental and/or enculturational perspectives, disciplinary perspectives or contextual perspectives, without realizing that these perspectives may possibly intertwine intricately around the plagiarism concerned. Thus, although insightful in their exploration of certain variable’s effect on plagiarism, there is ample space to doubt the findings generated might only be a fragmented representation.
textual borrowing, perspectives on plagiarism, reconceptualization of plagiarism