(Background: I am a full-time EFL instructor at a university in S. Korea. I want to do independent research, as most faculty would not be interested to collaborate with someone who only has an MA.)

Korea is known as the plagiarism capital of the world. Since I work with student writers there, I am very interested in the subject. I am trying to devise a research project which can measure the efficacy of plagiarism intervention strategies, namely teaching paraphrasing, summarization, and citation skills. I have done a small literature review and have ideas for getting student perspectives on plagiarism using already validated surveys. However, since I want to focus on effect, I was wondering if anyone had suggestion on how to actually measure this?

I was thinking some kind of pre-test/post-test, but would really love some more ideas.

Edit: to expand on the pre-test/post-test idea, I had thought about giving them a number of short paragraphs which they would need to paraphrase and cite correctly (assuming paraphrasing is a vital referencing skill) pre-intervention and then post.

  • MA is short for 'MAsters' or 'Master of Arts'? I am surprised that no one is interested in working with you on that problem, since a positive result could make your university stand out in a positive way? – superuser0 Jun 13 '13 at 6:42
  • Unfortunately, the foreign faculty and the Korean faculty don't have much interaction. – Acornrevolution Jun 13 '13 at 9:07
  • I've voted as not a real question for being overly broad. I don't see how designing a research project for you is in within reasonable scope of the forum. Please attempt to edit and ask a much more specific question. – Andy W Jun 14 '13 at 12:08
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    My specific question was how to measure the effect of plagiarism intervention. – Acornrevolution Jun 14 '13 at 14:47
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    "Teaching paraphrasing???" I am always bewildered by the notion that taking somebody else's ideas, reformulating them in different words, and passing them as your own is supposed to be more honorable than plagiarism. A notion that is very widely held in academia. (Note that I am a university professor as well, albeit my field is in molecular neuroscience - where deeds possibly count more than words). – aag Apr 29 '16 at 20:12

I am just improvising on the fly here but does Korea have software like TurnItIn which measures (in a few different ways) the level of plagiarism in a particular paper or a set of papers usually from online sources.

If you do, then you could think about devising an experiment where, in a class, you inform the students that you will be trying to reduce their "plagiarism tendencies" and take a pre-test perceptions survey. Next, you set a particular class paper as an assignment and note the different measurements on TurnItIn (or equivalent). Then, you make your intervention (in whatever form you choose) and finally set another class paper as an assignment and note the different measurements on TurnItIn this time. Finally, you set a post-test debriefing and follow up survey.

I think this would make for a very nice repeated measures model (from the TurnItIn or equivalent data) and some nice latent variable analysis from your surveys.

I hope this helps you in some meaningful way.

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  • So you recommend setting a small research paper, and checking for instances of accidental and deliberate plagiarism? I had also thought about this but was trying to find something a little more controlled. This will be their first time ever writing research papers (in English, maybe even Korean) so they may not use outside sources at all (plagiarized or cited). – Acornrevolution Jun 13 '13 at 9:54
  • As I said, I was improvising. :). This kind of a repeated measures study involving one controllable unit is quite common among the psych or comm scholars that I find myself collaborating with. As you pointed out, there will obviously be issues (like the language choice) that one must address while designing the study. However, if you are interested in this topic (and its a great topic), you must start somewhere, even in an exploratory way. :) – Shion Jun 13 '13 at 17:17
  • I will have them write short essays at the beginning of the semester as a diagnostic anyway. I suppose if I find a high incidence of plagiarism, I can start there. What free alternatives to TurnItIn are as reliable? Also, What did you think of my edited idea above? Also – Acornrevolution Jun 14 '13 at 8:21
  • Sorry for the late reply. I checked your edited answer. It could work. Basically, we are talking about how you operationalize your theoretical construct. This can be done in multiple ways. I would need to know more about the specific literature in that idea to go deeper. Unfortunately, I do not have that expertise. :( – Shion Jun 26 '13 at 1:36

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