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MEDICAL EDUCATION
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 270-277

Plagiarism in a resource-constrained context: A cross-sectional study of post-graduate medical college trainees and fellows in a tertiary health institution in South East Nigeria


1 Department of Family Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria
2 Department of Public Health, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
3 Department of Anaesthesiology, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Gabriel Uche Pascal Iloh
Department of Family Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/amhs.amhs_103_18

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Background: Globally, plagiarism is a crack on academic and professional integrity that has permeated the fabrics of medical education and constitutes a threat to genuine scholarships. Objective: The study was aimed at describing the prevalence, attitude, enabling factors, punitive, and preventive measures for plagiarism in a cross-section of postgraduate medical college trainees and fellows in a tertiary health institution in South-East Nigeria. Materials and Methods: A descriptive study was carried out in a cross-section of one hundred and 43 study participants from postgraduate medical college trainees and fellows in a tertiary health institution in Nigeria. Data collection was done using pretested, self-administered questionnaire that elicited information on awareness, prevalence, and attitude toward plagiarism (ATP). ATP was assessed with 29-item prevalidated ATP tool. Operationally, favorable range of scores for academic integrity was low-positive attitude, high-negative attitude and low subjective norms, respectively. Enabling factors, punitive and preventive measures were also studied. Results: The age of trainees ranged from 26 to 47 years with a mean of 36 ± 9.8, whereas the age of fellows ranged from 35 to 59 years with a mean of 43 ± 8.2. All the respondents were aware of plagiarism. The prevalence of plagiarism was 23.8%. Committals of plagiarism predominantly occurred during undergraduate project writings. For trainees, the mean scores for positive attitude, negative attitude, and subjective norms were 53 ± 5 (high), 12 ± 2 (low), and 30 ± 8 (moderate), respectively, while for fellows, the mean scores for positive attitude, negative attitude, and subjective norms were 35 ± 6 (moderate), 22 ± 3 (moderate) and 30 ± 5 (moderate), respectively. The most common enabling factor and punishment were ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism and demotion, respectively. The most common preventive measures were the use of anti-plagiarism software and education on what constitutes plagiarism. Conclusion: This study has shown that plagiarism occurred among the study participants. The level of awareness of plagiarism was very high but did not translate to appropriate positive, negative, and subjective norms attitudinal orientation required for academic integrity. The most common enabling factor and punishment for plagiarism were ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism and demotion, respectively.


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