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Type: Conference paper
Title: Acceptable discipline 'intertextuality' versus plagiarism: combining concordancing with plagiarism-detection software as pedagogic tools
Author: Picard, M.
Guerin, C.
Citation: The Education Research Group of Adelaide (ERGA) conference 2010: The Changing Face of Education, 24-25 September, 2010
Publisher: The University of Adelaide
Issue Date: 2010
Conference Name: ERGA Conference (5th : 2010 : Adelaide, Australia)
Department: Adelaide Graduate Centre
Statement of
Michelle Picard and Cally Guerin
Abstract: This paper describes how plagiarism-detection software can effectively be used in conjunction with discipline-specific corpora to help research students develop their academic ‘voice’ and enhance discipline-specific language skills. In the academic sphere, despite notions of authorship reigning supreme, the line between transgressive and nontransgressive ‘intertextuality’ (Chandrasoma et al. 2004, Eira 2005, Moody 2007, Share 2006) is often unclear. Further confusing the issue for today’s research students, contemporary communication technologies and digital-age attitudes towards information can easily result in uncertainty (and indifference) regarding the ownership of text (Flowerdew and Li 2007, Gabriel 2010), sometimes leading to inadvertent plagiarism. Research students are caught between competing demands as they negotiate this treacherous territory: they are required to demonstrate their synchronicity with the literature of the field and use discipline-specific formats, yet are instructed to ‘be original’; they should use the language structures of their (sub)community, yet do so in their ‘own words’ (Eira 2005). Students using English as an additional language face particular challenges in unpacking the ambiguities surrounding acceptable recycling of language when they are still struggling to develop competency in the grammar and syntax of the target language. Discipline-specific corpora (libraries of sample texts) along with concordancers (online text-searching tools that reveal how words are used in context) have been effectively used to help students uncover discipline-specific language structures (Cargill and Adams 2005), while plagiarism-detection software has been established as a formative learning tool (Davis and Carroll 2009). We used these tools in combination to enable research students to first detect language that might potentially be too close to an individual source using plagiarism-detection software, and then explore whether this language constitutes an acceptable recycling of discipline-specific language. Participants demonstrated an enhanced understanding of what constitutes plagiarism, and we observed improved language outcomes in successive drafts of a research document. A survey of the participants indicates that they consider this process improved their awareness of acceptable ‘intertextuality’.
Rights: Copyright © 2010 The University of Adelaide
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Appears in Collections:Adelaide Graduate Centre publications
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