INFLUENCE OF AWARENESS AND ATTITUDE OF LECTURERS ON SELF-PLAGIARISM AMONG THE ACADEMIC STAFFS IN BABCOCK AND COVENANT UNIVERSITY

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ABSTRACT

The primary objective of the study is determines the influence of awareness and attitude of lecturers on self-plagiarism among the academic staffs in Babcock and Covenant University.  The study adopted the survey research design.  This design was considered appropriate for the study because it is because it is suitable for obtaining data from a large number of people. The data for the research was collected through a well design and structured questionnaire. A total of 287 questionnaires were administered to the respondents out of which 279 were completed and returned. The study employed both descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze the data retrieved from the questionnaire which were analyzed with the aid of SPSS. The study was guided by three research questions and four hypotheses. Among the findings reveals by the study were awareness has negative and significant relationship with incidence of self-plagiarism, awareness and attitude jointly has negative and significant influence on incidence of self-plagiarism. The study recommends that the management of the university should insist on creating awareness and organizing seminars as this will help in reducing the incidence of self-plagiarism.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0  Background of the study

Plagiarism has not really been seen as a topic for discussion by a larger group of people. This act has brought about ignorance in the consequence of this major misdemeanor. In collaboration with the ignorance of people towards the misconduct, there hasn’t really been any information about a good number of individuals that have been penalized for the practice of this felony, this has occurred mostly in intuitions. Plagiarism hasn’t been recognized by a good number of individuals but in comparison with self-plagiarism as a branch of plagiarism, it has reached more number of people.

Self-plagiarism simply referred to as the act of copying, texts recycling of an individual’s previous intellectual work in his\her present intellectual creation without citation has not been literally referred to as a threat. How is it a crime to use my own words, ideas and concept in another work of mine? Why should I cite myself? Isn’t it my work, why can’t I make use of it when I want? These and many other questions come up when this concept is discussed. Self-plagiarism was defined by different people of different occupations. An example would be one of an author who submitted a paper journal, claiming it to be an original work. Though, when the paper was run through a plagiarism detection system, it was determined that a great deal of the work was contained in earlier works published by the author. Lammey(2012)

It has to do more with the exact words and phrasing rather than the ideas or research, as it is with scholarly publication. McBride(2012)  Self-plagiarism is likened to traditional plagiarism in that there is a great deal of grey area and the separation between what is acceptable and not acceptable to do. “I would say that, when you take a work you have done previously and present it as new or something that is original, that’s when you cross the line. That presentation, whether it is implicit or explicit, is when I consider it self-plagiarism” Bailey(2012).

Self-plagiarism as one of the misconducts of an institution has been seen as a big problem in the institutions. What makes it more of a threat is the fact that not everyone knows that they practice it and those that know may not really see it as a big deal. Self-plagiarism just like most academic misconduct can be caused by peoples differing views of academic integrity in Nigeria. Factors such as the education system, pedagogy, predominant student learning style, and predominant assessment style. Maris(2016) Because of the differing views lecturers have of academic integrity, it has brought about the increase in academic misconduct as some lecturers do not see self-plagiarism as a crime.

The aspect of lecturers having different views of these practices is just one section of the challenges associated with the increase of the practices of self-plagiarism. The second section is, although there may be differing views of misconduct in general, how many of them actually know that self-plagiarism exists, of those that know that it exist, how many know the implication of this practice and how many are interested in knowing the implications of self-plagiarism. Also, of those that are fully aware of this practice and its implication, how many of them have a positive attitude towards the practice.

First of all, these lecturers have to be aware of the implications of practicing self-plagiarism as most of them bask in ignorance. Once the rate of awareness has been increased, then the problem would be narrowed down to how they respond to what they have been told. The more the knowledge about something increases, the easier it will be to know how to react to it, this also applies to this study. Once awareness of this practice is increased, then the next step would be to know how they react to this information, their attitude towards it.

The attitude of the lecturers towards self-plagiarism increases the chances of final extermination or increase in the incidences of self-plagiarism. A positive attitude towards it allows the lecturers stop any form of self-plagiarism they once practiced and this would rub off on the students as the lecturers would definitely enlighten them about self-plagiarism and develop a teaching method that would say a big no to this practice. Here, awareness has totally changed the view the lecturers had about academic misconduct and also changed their teaching technique. A negative attitude on the other hand doesn’t lead to any change at all but has worsened the problem because now the lecturer knows what self-plagiarism is and the implications of this practice but has intentionally refused to put a stop to this practice, this can be very detrimental to the intellectual growth of the lecturer and the students that have the go through him/her.

There are factors that cause the growth of self-plagiarism in institutions (among students), among authors in different fields etc.

Among authors, causes of self-plagiarism after being divided into two parts; individual causes and systematic causes includes:

  1. A higher number of authors on an article increases its chances of containing problematic text recycling
  2. Authors of younger scientific age are more likely to improperly recycle text.
  3. The absence of clear editorial statements on text recycling increases its likelihood of occurrence.
  4. Problematic text recycling is more common in research disciplines in which phrases are more standardized and editors are less willing to act. (Horbach, Halffman, 2017)

There are also several causes of self-plagiarism among students. Council of Writing Program Administrators (2014):

  1. Students may fear failure or fear taking risks in their own work.
  2. Students may have poor time-management skills or they may plan poorly for the time and efforts required for research-based writing and believe they have no choice but to plagiarize.
  3. Students may view the course, the assignment, the conventions of academic documentation, or the consequences of cheating as unimportant.
  4. Teachers may present students with assignments so generic or unparticular that students may believe they are justified in looking for canned responses.
  5. Instructors and institutions may fail to report cheating when it does occur, or may not enforce appropriate penalties.
  6. Students may not know how to integrate the ideas of others and document the sources of those ideas appropriately in their texts. etc these and many more are the causes of plagiarism among students.

One of the objectives of this study is to ascertain the causes of self-plagiarism among lecturers as much research has not been carried out on this area.

The practice of self-plagiarism has its implications in the intellectual growth of people that participate in it. Motivation to produce original material is decreased when the intellectual property of others are stolen. This occurs in two ways:

  1. Someone who possesses great ideas and writing potential may have his/her motivation to take time and energy to do the work diminished if you can just re-use someone else’s work and pass it as his/ he own. A continuous engagement in this practice would result to a reduced capacity for ingenuity and creative thinking.
  2. The knowledge of someone else passing your work is his/her own reduces your motivation. The result of this is, the victim would no longer see the use in putting so much effort and would keep re-cycling the same idea and work (Carson, 2010 ; HomeWork Help, 2016).

Another implication of self-plagiarism is, the failure to cite the sources of words or ideas decreases accountability. False information could be circulated without being able to find the source of this false information. Circulation of false information could damage the minds of individuals by filling their minds with incorrect information (Carson,2010).

Also, a reuse of your work or another person’s work is fraudulent. Graduating from a college or finishing any degree at all means you have gone through your own research, written ideas you’ve been able to come up with, developed writing and research skills. If all the work you had done were fraudulent, then a degree is not deserved by such individual (Carson, 2010).

One more implication of being involved in self-plagiarism is a weakened educational community. Academic debates and opinions are narrowed due to plagiarism, reducing their contribution to academic debate. Through academic debate people are pushed to develop and examine their academic thinking in response to the contribution of others. If this debated is limited to few well-constructed but unoriginal positions, this broadening may be lost which further weaken the educational community (Edmonds, 2017).

On further research on self-plagiarism among lecturers implications and causes of self-plagiarism that affect lecturers that practice this act are aimed to be discovered as much research on lecturers and how they respond to self-plagiarism have not been carried out.

1.2    STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The institution is seen as the home of knowledge where knowledge is slowly inculcated into the minds of individuals in that institution. This slow inculcation of knowledge in the minds of these individuals that is, the students is referred to as education. Being educated develops some characteristics in people, these characteristic includes

  • The ability to differentiate between what is right and wrong, what is immoral and moral, what is just and unjust.
  • Gives the person hope to solve the problems humanity faces today
  • Good education removes ill beliefs
  • Gives you the power to question anything wrong
  • Makes you more aware and confident
  • Helps you learn the right way to execute yourself and behave positively
  • Helps you find the truth and forces you to think in different aspects. Thiyam(2016)

The availability of these attributes of an educated person points out the fact that the institution should be an enlightened and misconduct freed place.

Sadly, even with all the education acquired by individuals in the institutions. Plagiarism has not been  seen only as the most practiced misconduct but also as the most practiced misconduct that isn’t taken as a big challenge by most institutions. A branch of plagiarism which is the core of this study is self-plagiarism.

Self-plagiarism has been seen as a threat as it negatively affects the intellectual development of individuals. Lecturers in the contest of this study are at the risk of having depreciation in the growth of their minds. The practice of self-plagiarism gives rise to, lower sense of reasoning, inability to be creative, a reduction in the range and scope of knowledge. These and many others would be the fate of lecturers that practice self-plagiarism. Because the lecturers feed the students with knowledge, if the lecturers do not develop their minds daily, learn more, and keep themselves updated instead of going around the same idea they have come up with for a very long time, the students themselves would receive the little those lecturers have to offer which will be detrimental to the growth of their intellect.

It is believed that the level of awareness affects the attitude they would have towards the practice. The more aware they become of the detriment of self-plagiarism to themselves and the people that come in contact with their intellectual work, the more they have a positive attitude towards this practice. If the level of awareness the lecturers have increases, it could also increase the range of positive attitude towards self-plagiarism. It is when their attitude towards this practice becomes positive that it would then decrease incidences of the practice among the lecturers as many are aware of it but still have a negative attitude towards it.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this study is to determine the influence of attitude and awareness on incidences of self-plagiarism among lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. Ascertain the level of awareness of self-plagiarism by lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State.
  2. Ascertain the attitude of lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State towards self-plagiarism.
  3. Find out the frequency of the occurrence of self-plagiarism among lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State.
  4. Determine the influence of awareness on incidences of self-plagiarism among lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State.
  5. Determine the influence of attitude on incidences of self-plagiarism among lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State.
  6. Determine the joint influence of awareness and attitude on incidences of self-plagiarism among lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State.

1.4       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. What is the level of awareness of lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State about self-plagiarism?
  2. What is attitude of lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State about self-plagiarism?
  3. How often does self-plagiarism occur among lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State?

1.5      RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

  1. H01: there is no significant relationship between awareness and incidences of self-plagiarism among lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State.
  2. H02: awareness has no significant influence on incidences of self-plagiarism among lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State.
  3. H03: attitude has no significant influence on incidences of self-plagiarism among lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State.
  4. H04: awareness and attitude do not significantly influence incidences of self-plagiarism among lecturers in selected private universities in Ogun State.

1.6      SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of this study will involve ascertaining awareness of self-plagiarism, ascertaining the attitude towards self-plagiarism, the occurrences of self-plagiarism and the influences of the attitude, awareness and frequency of occurrences of self-plagiarism among lecturers in selected private universities, Ogun State, Nigeria.

The universities where this research will be carried out are; Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State; Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State;  Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State.

The levels of the lecturers that are going to be the target for this research are; the graduate assistant, the assistant lecturer, lecturer ii, lecturer I and the senior lecturer. The aim of the variance in the levels of lecturers is to ascertain if the levels of the lecturers affect their level of awareness and attitude towards self-plagiarism and to also ascertain the frequency in occurrence of self-plagiarism on each level.

1.7      SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study is significant because it will:

  • Help us know the level of awareness that the lecturers have and how the university can help in the increase of the level of awareness among the lecturers.
  • Help us understand the attitude of lecturers toward the practice of self-plagiarism. If their attitude towards it is positive, then that is favorable to the extermination of this practice but if negative, then it creates an opportunity to help corrected their negative attitude toward self-plagiarism.
  • Help us know the empirical link between the lecturers’ attitude towards self-plagiarism and their level of awareness about this practice by confirming if the level of awareness the lecturers have has a negative or positive effect on their attitude towards self-plagiarism.
  • Help us know the empirical link between the lecturers’ attitude toward self-plagiarism and incidences of self-plagiarism among the lecturers in the institutions. This furthermore is achieved by confirming if the attitude of lecturers toward self-plagiarism increases or decreases the incidences of self-plagiarism among these lecturers.
  • Help us to know the empirical link between the lecturers’ levels of awareness about self-plagiarism and incidences of self-plagiarism among the lecturers by confirming if the level of awareness the lecturer has about self-plagiarism would increase or decrease the incidences of self-plagiarism among the lecturers.

1.8     OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

  • AWARENESS: knowledge or perception of a situation or a fact. Concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development.
  • ATTITUDE: a predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person or situation.
  • SELF-PLAGIARISM : described as recycling or reusing one’s own specific words from previously published texts.
  • PLAGIARISM: is the wrongful appropriation, stealing and publication of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
INFLUENCE OF AWARENESS AND ATTITUDE OF LECTURERS ON SELF-PLAGIARISM AMONG THE ACADEMIC STAFFS IN BABCOCK AND COVENANT UNIVERSITY