Good and original : Plagiarism and patchwriting in academic second-language writing

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

295 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-345
Journal / PublicationJournal of Second Language Writing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


Plagiarism is regarded as a heinous crime within the academic community, but anecdotal evidence suggests that some writers plagiarize without intending to transgress academic conventions. This article reports a study of the writing of 17 postgraduate students. Source reports in the student-generated texts were compared to the original sources in order to describe the relationship between the two. Interviews were also conducted with the student writers and their supervisors. The student writing was found to contain textual features which could be described as plagiarism, but the writers' accounts of their work and the textual analysis strongly suggest absence of intention to plagiarize, thus providing empirical verification of similar suggestions in the literature. Implications of these findings are discussed and include a recommendation that the focus on preventing plagiarism be shifted from post facto punishment to proactive teaching. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Patchwriting, Plagiarism, Source use