The Citation Project
   Preventing plagiarism, teaching writing

Results of the Sixteen School Study (Released August 2011)

The Citation Project has so far completed three studies: a pilot study, a study of three schools, and an expanded study of 16 schools. The current research of the Citation Project derives from the preliminary findings of the pilot inquiry. These findings are reportd in "Writing from Sources, Writing from Sentences."  (Howard, Rebecca Moore, Tanya K. Rodrigue, and Tricia C. Serviss. Writing and Pedagogy 2.2 (Fall 2010): 177-192.)

Our research team has completed coding the uses of sources in randomly selected papers from 174 students, from the sixteen participating schools. We have reported findings from the three-school study at conferences and in webinars, but from now on our presentations and publications will derive exclusively from the updated study of sixteen schools. The general trends are the same between the three-school study and the sixteen-school study, but the latter’s database is much larger, providing a more nuanced, more representative analysis.


For a discussion of our findings, please see our recent interview in
Project Information Literacy's Smart Talk series, Unraveling the Citation Trail,” Project Information Literacy Smart Talk, no. 8, Sandra Jamieson and Rebecca Moore Howard, The Citation Project, August 17, 2011.

You can also watch a video of a presentation of our preliminary findings at the 2011 Conference on College Composition and Communication.

To learn about presentations and workshops featuring Citation Project research, please check the list of upcoming presentations.


Below you will find PDFs of some of our data with brief comments and suggestions for further inquiry. The data are still being analyzed, and as we generate more reports, we will publish them here.  The complete set of data, accompanied by our full analysis and interpretation, will be published in
Struggling with Sources: The Citation Project Portrait of Composition Students' Researched Writing, forthcoming with Parlor Press, 2013.

Datasheet #1: Source Use in the paper (downloadable pdf)
  • Predominant type of source use in each of the 1,911 citations
  • Predominant type of source use in each of the 174 papers (the number of times each student summarized, paraphrased, patchwrote, and quoted within the coded section of their paper)
  • Predominant type of source by location in the paper (correlation)
Datasheet # 2: Sources Cited in the paper (downloadable pdf) 
  • Type of source selected by students (data for each of the 930 sources cited in the 174 papers)
  • Type of source used in each of the 1,911 citations
  • Page length of the source cited in each of the 1,911 citations
  • Page in the source that was cited in each of the 1,911 citations
  • Correlation between predominant type of source use and reading ease of the source cited (using  Flesch Reading Ease analysis)
Campus Reports

We are in the process of generating results and analysis of the data from individual institutions
in the context the whole data pool, which will be sent to each participating campus.

Further Research

Watch this site and our twitter feed for calls for papers for two planned edited collections.

Citation Project Home

What is Plagiarism?


Research questions

Research methods

Participating Institutions

* Findings

Conference Presentations


Recommended Articles and Books

Recommended Websites

Resources for teachers

For information about how to participate in the project, please email us at or .
  Upcoming Presentations

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