Finding Their Ground: Nigerian Nursing Students’ Perceptions of Plagiarism
George, Deborah Julie
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The essence of plagiarism is whether any individual can claim ownership of thoughts, words, and ideas. Social norms and culture influence each person’s perception of plagiarism. U.S. culture, which embraces individuality and values individual ownership, views plagiarism as unethical. Conversely, collectivist cultures such as that of Nigeria, value group ownership and have difficulty understanding U.S. values associated with plagiarism. The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria reports that an increasing number of Nigerian students are studying in the U.S., especially in New York and Texas. Little is known about Nigerian nursing students’ perceptions of plagiarism when they become students in U.S. colleges. This study utilized Naturalistic Inquiry to explore Nigerian nursing students’ perceptions of plagiarism. Seventeen Nigerian nursing students or recent nursing graduates were interviewed using a web-based chat dialog format. Study data consisted of demographic information, interview transcripts, and the researcher’s reflective journal. Data analysis utilized the Constant Comparative Method. Beck’s criteria were used to ensure trustworthiness and rigor of the study’s procedures. Study findings revealed that Nigerian nursing students often had little knowledge or understanding of plagiarism prior to entering U.S. schools and they struggled to understand and adapt to U.S. academic views and expectations regarding plagiarism. Nigerian nursing students who have immigrated to the U.S. to attend college wanted to follow U.S. academic plagiarism rules, but often found the rules regarding plagiarism in the U.S. unclear and confusing. Nigerian nursing students learned and adapted to U.S. expectations regarding plagiarism through an incremental process of adaptive transformation after matriculation to U.S. schools. The Nigerian students shared what they had learned with other Nigerian students as a way of helping other Nigerians. The Nigerian nursing students wanted to inform U.S. nursing educators about what Nigerian students need to help them learn, adapt, and meet U.S. rules related to plagiarism.