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critical thinking

2020-02-04 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Paper范文

今天给大家带来一篇关于论文写作思维的文章。摘要作为一名国际学生,论文作者应具备发现学生潜在思维的能力。

Introduction

The essay Beyond the accusation of plagiarism, by Gu and Brooks, is about how an alternative cultural perspective can be applied in the analysis of plagiarism for international students. This topic is important because it is relevant to the increasing number of foreign students in UK universities. This makes it necessary for the education institutions to adopt an improved approach in interpretation and correcting the plagiarism behaviors of international students, instead of simply adopting punitive measures without a thorough consideration over the consequences it may have for the students’ academic and intellectual development. The essay is divided into five major sections: an introduction that sets the scene and the importance of the topic, a literature review that introduces the concept of plagiarism and relevant studies, a methodology section to justify the research approach adopted by the paper, a results and discussion section to analyze the findings, and finally a conclusion section that sums up the entire paper.

 

In the result and discussion section of the paper, which is also the focus of analysis in this essay, the authors have combined the interview results from ten Chinese students currently studying in UK universities and their instructors with the discussion on the alternative interpretation of plagiarism. The section is divided into five subsections, according to the concepts relevant to plagiarism raised by the authors earlier. ‘Conceptual confusion’ focuses on the gap of understanding between international students and the western education system. This is believed by the authors to be a major source of misunderstanding and plagiarism. In ‘Deliberate versus unintentional plagiarism’, the authors provide different arguments from the interviewees on the extent of unintentional plagiarism. Again, they conclude that it is the different cognitive patterns that lead to uncertainties in plagiarism behaviors.  ‘Memorization and understanding’, ‘patch writing as a transitional strategy’, and ‘conceptual, holistic development’ are three sections that gradually approaches a potential solution to the problem of plagiarism.

 

Presentation of the Results

The result section of the paper has been merged with discussions. The results of the paper are mainly in the form of responses from the interviewees, which the authors would take excerpts of and analyze them piece by piece. For a result section to be solid, one important condition is that it must provide an adequate amount of data that correlates with the hypothesis of the paper (Porte, 2002). It is important for the authors to objectively present the data, in this case, interview results, to the readers, before leading to the discussion and analysis of these results. From this perspective, the authors have failed to provide a comprehensive result section, before jumping to the discussion part. Excepts of interview results are taken out of the context, with little reference to the questions asked. Since there is not enough space to present the interview results of all interviewees, the authors picked the most representative answers from the responses to include into the article. However, this may diminish the credibility of the paper, since its results presented have already been processed and generalized. However, the authors have indeed presented the results in a highly readable manner, with indentations applied to all interview results. They have also established the correlation between the results and the research question/hypothesis successfully.

 

An important feature of the results of an academic research is that the direct interpretation of the results by the audience agrees with the interpretation of the authors (Porte, 2002). In arguing for the unfamiliarity of the Chinese students for the western education system as a source of plagiarism, the authors used the response from Hong, a student majoring in Media Studies. Based on Hong’s description of the level of difficulty in academic writing in English compared with in Chinese, the authors conclude that conceptual confusion is a common source of misinterpretation for the international students. Indeed, Hong’s response has not fully comprehended the source of originality in English writing. Instead, the means of academic integrity by making references and citations has become the source of easiness in writing for her. The authors have successfully aligned the readers’ direct interpretation of the results with their own interpretations. Meanwhile, they have also strengthened and enhanced the clarity of the hidden message behind Hong’s response, with reference to literature to reinforce the point of conceptual confusion.

 

On the Use of Interview

Interviews is a flexible form of information exchange. The purpose of an interview instead of surveys on a larger scale is to apply a more personal perspective by treating the study subjects as human beings instead of substitutable data (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011) . One major danger of conducting interviews is the possibility of bias from both the interviewees and the interviewers. If the biases are not properly mitigated, the result would drastically deviate from the truth. This makes it crucial for the interviewers to design the questions to recognize and control biases (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011) . As a serious academic offence in any university, plagiarism is a sensitive issue for all students. As international students studying overseas, there is an added sense of insecurity and self-awareness, which should be especially highlighted in the situation of an interview.

 

Different from surveys, interview is a much more personal approach which requires the direct interactions between individuals. Therefore, it is highly likely for the interviewees, especially the students, to adopt a defensive mechanism unconsciously when answering the questions. In the paper of Gu and Brooks, the exact measures to mitigate such a mechanism have not been clearly demonstrated. In the methodology section, however, the authors have specified some of the measures to ensure the accuracy of the results. With the combination of two authors from distinctive backgrounds, the chance of bias has been effectively reduced. Moreover, the identity of Gu as both an academic scholar and an overseas student once may have given her the advantage to better understand and interpret the responses from the Chinese student interviewees. With an understanding of the defense mechanisms from the past experiences as an international student herself, the author should be equipped with the ability to detect the students’ hidden considerations. Such a background and experiences may also be a source of bias as mentioned above. Therefore, the addition of the second author and tutors as a second group of interviewees create a necessary balancing force for the interview findings.

 

The purpose of using interview as the dominant means of information gathering is probably its intimacy and directness in studying the interviewees group (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011) . In the form of an interview, as compared with a survey, a much freer form of communication can be created. The benefit of this is that it may provoke new ideas from the interviewees that the interviewers themselves have overlooked. An interview can function to both test existing hypotheses and to suggest new ideas and form new hypotheses (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011) . In Gu and Brook’s paper, the sections of ‘memorization and understanding’ and ‘patch writing as a transitional strategy’ are both derived from the interviewee responses, which have not been mentioned previously in the introduction and literature review. These two parts then contribute to the construction of a gradual approach to the conceptual, holistic development of originality and the final elimination of plagiarism. Meanwhile, the interviewee responses have also verified the conceptual gap between deliberate plagiarism and unintentional plagiarism proposed in earlier sections. Through reference to voices from both the instructors and the students, the distinctive approaches to understanding have been addressed.

 

Since most of the responses from the interview are high descriptive, narrative, and with a high degree of individuality, it is natural to categorize the interview as a qualitative interview, as opposed to a quantitative one. Some features of the qualitative approach to interview include open-ended, responsive, uniqueness, long0tern, continuous, particularity, quality, informality, etc. (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011) . These features are shown in Gu and Brook’s interview as well. For instance, all of the ten interviewees have been carefully selected, which ensures a fair coverage of different types of students. In addition, the authors have invested a large amount of effort on each interviewee to ensure the quality of the responses. The interview has been conducted in two phases, one at the beginning of the interviewee’s studies in UK universities, the other towards the end of their studies. This, according to the authors, is mainly to capture the continuous development of the students regarding concepts and beliefs of academic integrity and plagiarism. In the final part of the discussion, the authors have focused on the change in the interviewees through the second phase of interview. Notable differences have been expressed by almost all of the interviewees, regarding their way of thinking and construction academic writing. They have successfully adapted to the system and completely embraced the values of originality and academic integrity installed by the system. From the planning of the interview to be continuous with an emphasis on the individuality, to the final presentation of findings, an effort of overall planning, coordination, and cohesion has been observed.

 

A diminished level of accuracy is the common problem in analyzing the responses of an interview with the qualitative approach (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011) . It is inevitable for the results from the interview to be highly interpretable. To analyze the results in a most natural and objective way, a standardize procedure is introduced, by classifying, categorizing, and ordering the established units of meaning, and assigning interviewee responses into these units (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011) . From the ten interviewees’ responses, the frequency of occurrence is one important parameter to determine the significance of the response. For example, similar responses of the interviewees regarding the misconception of citations and reference in academic writing have been considered as a general trend among international students by the authors. The comment of Hong is selected as the representative of students’ confusion, but the authors have specifically pointed out that ‘the other nine all point to similar confusion.’ This method of generalization is considered a valid way of analyzing data.

 

Findings and Discussions

In the discussion and conclusion section of an academic paper, it is the responsibility of the authors to lead the readers back to the introduction part of the paper and perform an interpretative general account of the findings (Porte, 2002). By dividing the discussion section into five parts, the authors of the paper have deconstructed the research question into steps. At the beginning of the paper, the authors propose a ‘conceptual’ interpretation and understanding of the international students’ approach to knowledge construction and plagiarism, thereby aiming for a ‘holistic’ approach to solving the problem. Corresponding, the first two parts of the discussion, ‘conceptual confusion’ and ‘deliberate versus unintentional plagiarism’ explains the phenomenon of plagiarism from the conceptual perspective. These findings have largely answered the proposed hypothesis of conceptual interpretation. The responses from students like Hong and Hui, along with the comparison with the tutors dealing with plagiarism issues, have indeed demonstrated a clear gap in conceptual understanding of plagiarism, originality, and academic integrity.

 

However, the authors have failed to address the cultural aspect of the issue of plagiarism, which has been briefly mentioned in the introduction. This, according to the authors, is an attempt to avoid cultural stereotyping and respect the individual differences in the students’ motivations and backgrounds. Although the authors have remained politically correct with the avoidance of cultural stereotyping, they have also largely denied or intentionally overlooked the cultural factors as one potential source of the problem. Such an omission and the highly selective nature of interviewees (all Chinese students) cannot be justified with individual differences. A cultural behavior is a group of people with similar beliefs performing similar actions, which fits perfectly with the setting of this paper. The correlation of Chinese culture, both conventional Confucian values and modern educational influences, with the source of plagiarism, may sound culturally-biased and stereotyping. However, from the purely academic point of view, such considerations are necessary for the authors to develop a more comprehensive understanding of plagiarism. Failing to establish such a cultural correlation, yet selecting all the student interviewees from only the international students from China seems odd.

 

The central focus of the discussion section, is for the authors to infer from the findings (Porte, 2002). The researchers should actively examine and interpret their findings and draw inferences from them (Porte, 2002). However, the discussion part of the paper is mainly descriptive of the phases of change for the interviewees. This fails to connect strongly with the final proposed idea of a holistic perspective on plagiarism. From the observations over the interviewees and their distinctive ways of coping with the plagiarism issue, the authors are basically saying that people should adopt a ‘holistic perspective’ and ‘understand’ the dynamic nature of the academic adaptation of the international students. However, merely understanding and viewing the problem from a different angle does not result in any physical change in the situation. The authors have failed in proposing constructive measures that will fundamentally change the situation and solve the problem. For example, what adaptive courses should be specifically designed for international students to help them with the construction of new originality and plagiarism beliefs, what measures can be taken for the students themselves to accelerate the adaptation process, and what the faculty and instructors should do to reform the system and exert a more positive influence over the international students.

 

Conclusion

In the paper by Gu and Brooks, the issue of plagiarism for international students is discussed. Through the continuous process of observations and interviews, the authors have provided an alternative, less critical, and more holistic view on the issue of plagiarism. Through the evaluation of the results and discussion section of the paper, it has been found that the authors have used a combinative approach in presenting the results, with the sequence of literature, interview excerpts, and a segment discussion. This pattern is repeated several times throughout the section. The use of excerpts without providing the context of the conversation is a major shortcoming. However, the authors have in general managed to align the direct interpretation of the readers with their own discussion. This makes the presentations of results largely effective.

 

The adoption of interviews served to both verify existing ideas and provoke new ideas. Through the responses, the authors have made new discoveries on the gradual approach taken by the students to adapt to a new system of values and academic practices. Despite the disadvantages of the form of interview in achieving accuracy and balance, the background of Gu makes her the perfect candidate to study international students from China, since she is able to relate with her personal experiences and expertise and better interpret the responses. A balanced view is also provided with both the students’ and instructors’ perspectives, both the Chinese and western perspectives through the interview. The authors have largely overlooked the important cultural factor in the analysis and discussion of results for the sake of political correctness, which is considered a major flaw in the discussion part. Overall, the evaluation of this paper can be better facilitated with relevant research of the same topic. The limitation of this essay is the adoption of purely academic and standardized approaches in the analysis, without the reference and support of relevant studies in the field.

 

References

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011) Research Methods in Education. London: Routledge.

Porte, G. K. (2002). Appraising Research in Second Language Learning: A practical Approach to Critical Analysis of Quantitative Research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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