Plagiarism: the Culture and Group Consensus

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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...
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