Plagiarism in the International University: A Case Study of English for Academic Purposes at Roskilde University, Denmark

Klitgård, I. (Lecturer)

    Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution



    This paper presents an investigation of both Danish and international second-semester BA-students' perceptions of the problem of plagiarism. The 35 students attend the International Basic Studies Programme in the Humanities at Roskilde University, Denmark. The study is based on a questionnaire with the choice of both yes/no answers and the choice of free text answers. The purpose is to suggest improved ways of teaching students at international programmes to become better academic writers and thus avoid plagiarism.

         The study is the first one of its kind at Roskilde University as I am the first scholar to be employed in EAP at the university and in Denmark altogether. The study is going to be part of a major research project on the problems of plagiarism and authorship in the international university. The project is to be established within the international CALPIU network (Cultural and Linguistic Practices in the International University -

         It is my contention that with the increasing internationalisation of universities in Denmark and worldwide, we face new challenges in defining plagiarism. Working with students and staff from all over the world forces universities to transform habitual academic practice in teaching writing to accommodate a greater understanding of the diverse and often clashing linguistic and cultural practices in the internationalisation process.

         Surprisingly, the investigation proves that the students unanimously perceive plagiarism as directly copying other people's texts or entire works. Most of them even use the term ‘copy-and-paste' to illustrate this, suggesting that their perception is closely linked to their use of the internet. Only one student perceives plagiarism as something that might happen unintentionally due to a lack of English paraphrasing skills. This generally one-dimensional perception calls for immediate repair work in the teaching of English academic writing in International Study Programmes at Roskilde University.

         The paper ends by asking whether this is a general tendency at international universities. If so, I suggest that teachers of EAP need to elaborate on and perhaps rethink their methods of teaching academic writing in such a way that the students' learning awareness is redirected from a predominant concern with the management of electronic resources to a predominant concern with the English language.

    Emneord: academic writing, plagiarism
    Period5 Jun 2008
    Event titlePlagiarism in the International University: A Case Study Study of English for Academic Purposes at Roskilde University, Denmark. null
    Event typeConference
    LocationLuzern, Switzerland


    • academic writing
    • plagiarism