By presenting perceptions of Nigerian students enrolled in the online international postgraduate programmes of the University of Liverpool regarding academic integrity, this paper aims to explore Western ideas, such as originality and plagiarism that are extraneous in the students’ local cultures. Different historical and cultural circumstances may contribute to the construction of diverse meanings that online students attribute to these concepts. The multidisciplinary study follows phenomenological research design (van Manen, 1997; Creswell, 2007) and combines cultural anthropology (Hall, 1996, Hannerz, 2001; Coleman et al., 2010) as well as online education (Anderson, 2008) in the research. The paper promotes a non-judgmental and culturally aware approach when dealing with issues of academic integrity, intends to find ideological reasons in authentic cultural belief systems that may demonstrate that the common ‘nonunderstanding’ concerning academic integrity is due to a culture-dependent meaning construction process, which leads to the ideological misinterpretation of these Western concepts.
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