• Understanding the Authorial Writer: a mixed methods approach to the psychology of authorial identity in relation to plagiarism.

      Elander, James; Stupple, Edward J. N.; Flay, Mike; Cheung, Kevin Yet Fong (University of DerbyCentre for Psychological Research, University of Derby, 2014-07-08)
      Academic writing is an important part of undergraduate study that tutors recognise as central to success in higher education. Across the academy, writing is used to assess, develop and facilitate student learning. However, there are growing concerns that students appropriate written work from other sources and present it as their own, committing the academic offence of plagiarism. Conceptualising plagiarism as literary theft, current institutional practices concentrate on deterring and detecting behaviours that contravene the rules of the academy. Plagiarism is a topic that often elicits an emotional response in academic tutors, who are horrified that students commit these ‘crimes’. Recently, educators have suggested that deterring and detecting plagiarism is ineffective and described moralistic conceptualisations of plagiarism as unhelpful. These commentaries highlight the need for credible alternative approaches to plagiarism that include pedagogic aspects of academic writing. The authorial identity approach to reducing plagiarism concentrates on developing understanding of authorship in students using pedagogy. This thesis presents three studies that contribute to the authorial identity approach to student plagiarism. Building on the findings of previous research, the current studies used a sequential mixed-methods approach to expand psychological knowledge concerning authorial identity in higher education contexts. The first, qualitative, study used thematic analysis of interviews with 27 professional academics teaching at institutions in the United Kingdom. The findings from this multidisciplinary sample identified that academics understood authorial identity as composed of five themes; an individual with authorial identity had confidence; valued writing; felt attachment and ownership of their writing; thought independently and critically; and had rhetorical goals. In addition, the analysis identified two integrative themes representing aspects of authorial identity that underlie all of the other themes: authorial identity as ‘tacit knowledge’ and authorial identity as ‘negotiation of identities’. The themes identified in the first study informed important aspects of the two following quantitative studies. The second study used findings from the first study to generate a pool of questionnaire items, assess their content validity and administer them to a multidisciplinary sample of 439 students in higher education. Psychometric analyses were used to identify a latent variable model of student authorial identity with three factors: ‘authorial confidence’, ‘valuing writing’ and ‘identification with author’. This model formed the basis of a new psychometric tool for measuring authorial identity. The resultant Student Attitudes and Beliefs about Authorship Scale (SABAS) had greater reliability and validity when compared with alternative measures. The third study used confirmatory factor analysis to validate the SABAS model with a sample of 306 students. In addition, this study identified aspects of convergent validity and test-retest reliability that allow the SABAS to be used with confidence in research and pedagogy. The overall findings of the combined studies present a psycho-social model of student authorial identity. This model represents an important contribution to the theoretical underpinnings of the authorial identity approach to student plagiarism. Differing from previous models by including social aspects of authorial identity, the psycho-social model informs future pedagogy development and research by outlining a robust, empirically supported theoretical framework.
    • Youth mentoring across professional settings: a pedagogic approach to social inclusion

      Morgan, Shaun (University of DerbyICeGS, 2012-10-01)
      Youth mentoring is often used to engage increasing numbers of disaffected and marginalised young people. As such, this research explores the extent to which key workers, across a range professional settings, adopt and integrate mentoring practices into their primary role. The research suggests that key workers recognise an informal and caring dimension to their primary role and use the term mentoring to capture the diversity of this activity. However, the attempt to facilitate integration into mainstream values and norms suggests that key workers and youngsters are actually engaged in a form of social pedagogy; undertaking social action to promote the personal development and general wellbeing of the youngster. As a piece of qualitative action research – based primarily on semi-structured interviews with key workers and young people – this inquiry also explores the extent to which practitioner mentoring, or social pedagogy, is successful as a transformation strategy – that is, the extent to which young people alter their attitudes, behaviours and beliefs as a result of being supported in this manner. The findings suggest that the informality of the interactions, a shared activity, the strength of the relationships and the duration of contact, are important aspects of social pedagogy/youth mentoring. The research has clear implications for practitioners, since the development of a ‘pedagogic perspective’ introduces a body of social theory into work previously undertaken intuitively. This, in turn, requires practitioners across professional settings to; engage with ‘clients’ on an a personal level to build trust and rapport, develop pedagogic opportunities that facilitate access to mainstream activities and, finally, maintain meaningful relationships until social inclusion is secure.