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Home Journal Index 2023-3

What Are ESL Students' Academic Integrity Challenges and How Can Universities Help?

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Jim Hu

Wenhan Yu

Thompson Rivers University, Canada



Plagiarism is becoming more widespread at Canadian universities, but what are English-as-asecond-language (ESL) student perspectives on their challenges to avoid plagiarism and university strategies to support students? This paper presents a study of English-for-academic-purpose (EAP) writing students at a Canadian university. The study employed semi-structured individual qualitative interviews with 20 students who had completed an advanced writing course. The course discussed plagiarism and APA 7th edition extensively. The participants represented ten countries and ten first languages. One 60-minute interview per participant was conducted online. The data were analyzed qualitatively for recurrent themes. Research findings indicate that the predominant cause of the participants' challenges was their lack of experience using citations before entering the university. Thus, the participants found APA 7th edition hard to observe initially and paraphrasing an enormous challenge. Based on the participant perspectives and related literature, the paper proposes a strategy to implement from the semester start comprising: (1) interactive training workshops with explanations, models, templates, resources, and student practice with citations and academic writing, (2) access to self-correction software like Turnitin and Grammarly Premium, and (3) simultaneous oral-written teacher feedback (Hu, 2019).



Plagiarism causes, plagiarism prevention, ESL students, academic writing, APA style