Academic Integrity in a Cultural Context
In the Caribbean we have traditionally been an oral society, meaning from the days of slavery our ancestors have passed on the art of storytelling from generation to generation. Today some of these stories have been documented and are taught as history in our schools and some are still being told by our parents and grandparents just as their parents and grandparents told them. If we try to trace the origins of some of these stories we may never find the source, so are we to conclude that our parents and grandparents have committed plagiarism without proper referencing? Western influences and globalization have affected our societies such that we now know and understand the meaning of academic integrity. Evolution has taken place in our society that it is now well accepted that a person can own his or her words and knowledge; for example our two Nobel Laureates Sir Arthur Lewis (Economics) and The Honorable Derek Walcott (Literature). Had they not owned their respective works would they have been recognized in their fields? Just as musicians have copyrighted material so too do academics own their work. “Academic integrity governs the way in which you research and write while at University. It is founded on the principles of respect for knowledge, truth, scholarship and acting with honesty. These principles and values are the foundation of academia.” (The University of Newcastle, n.d. [online]). Referencing and citation are tools of research which must be used and treated with respect and proper credit given to the author or authors whose work is used to show the depth of your research. While referencing is a vital and necessary part of higher education there is a thin line between academic integrity and plagiarism and according to the University of Liverpool referencing guide to online students, referencing should be used to show sources of information accessed to strengthen your academic argument. So then is it...
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