Nina C. Heckler David R. Forde


“Culture is the realm of human freedom—its constraints and impossibilities are the boundaries within which we can create and innovate†(Crouch 2008:35). How are general American cultural values related to the actual functioning of a particular social system such as a Christian university? More specifically, how is the pervasive problem of plagiarism in American higher education conceptualized by students on a Christian campus? Which values influence the practice or absence of plagiarism? These questions are addressed by surveying 148 students at a university affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. The results indicate that Christian college students are very able to define plagiarism accurately. Justifications for plagiarizing among Christian college students center on their own failings rather than faculty or college culture. The overall finding is that Christian students not only know what plagiarism is, but they also know how external cultural values push them into practicing it. As Christian universities increase worldwide, Christian educators and students should not feel pressured by American cultural values to compromise and plagiarize, but rather to feel empowered to be counter-cultural agents of change.



plagiarism, Christian college students, American cultural values

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