A cultural bridge for academic integrity? Mainland Chinese master’s graduates of UK institutions returning to China

Stephen Gow


Cultural and developmental perspectives (Flowerdew & Li, 2007) of plagiarism were explored through interviews with Chinese graduates of UK master's degrees after they have returned to work in transnational higher education in China. This allowed reflection on experiences of plagiarism in the context of the participants' educational history, life in the UK and their return to China. These accounts provided narratives of their development of academic integrity and a cultural comparison of the British and Chinese understandings of plagiarism. Interpretive repertoires (Gilbert & Mulkay, 1984) identified the significant commonalities and inconsistencies within and between the participants' accounts. The findings suggest that the participants use UK institutional vocabulary and have developed a more strict approach to plagiarism and academic integrity during their master's course and in their subsequent educational career. Analysis indicates that rather than being equivalents, plagiarism and the corresponding Chinese terms are dependent on the particular assessment backgrounds in the UK and China. Having moved between and adapting to these educational contexts, the potential for these returning Chinese graduates to act as a cultural bridge for academic integrity within internationalised higher education is discussed.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21913/IJEI.v10i1.935