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  • Howard, Rebecca Moore. “Plagiarism in Higher Education: An Academic Literacies Issue? – Introduction” in The Handbook of Academic Integrity, edited by Tracey Bretag. Singapore: Springer, 2016. 499-501. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-287-079-7_68-1
  • Serviss, Tricia.  “Creating Faculty Development Programming to Prevent Plagiarism: Three Approaches” in The Handbook of Academic Integrity, edited by Tracey Bretag. Singapore: Springer, 2016. 551-567. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-287-079-7_68-1


A comparison of published statements about the source-use skills of sophomores in the 1990s and those revealed by the more recent Citation Project study of researched writing suggests that many of the assumptions driving pedagogy, policy, and curricula need to be revised and that faculty working across the disciplines should work with students on reading and source-use skills when they assign researched writing. The Citation Project studied research papers by 174 first-year students at 16 US colleges and universities, producing a data-based portrait of student reading and source-use skills. Those students work from one or two sentences in 94% of their citations, cite the first or second page of their sources 70% of the time, and cite only 24% of their sources more than twice. While 78% of the papers include at least one incidence of paraphrase, 52% include at least one incidence of patchwriting, with students moving back and forth between the two within the same paragraph. Like earlier small-scale and single-institution studies, this research presents an image of students moving into their sophomore year only sometimes demonstrating expert reading and still mostly shaping what they read and write “at the point of utterance.” They need help to manipulate sources into academic conversations and arguments.

The Citation Project Pilot Study

  • Howard, Rebecca Moore, Tanya K. Rodrigue, and Tricia C. Serviss. “Writing from Sources, Writing from Sentences.Writing and Pedagogy 2.2 (Fall 2010): 177-192.


Instead of focusing on students’ citation of sources, educators should attend to the more fundamental question of how well students understand their sources and whether they are able to write about them without appropriating language from the source. Of the eighteen student research texts we studied, none included summary of a source, raising questions about the students’ critical reading practices. Instead of summary, which is highly valued in academic writing and is promoted in composition textbooks, the students paraphrased, copied from, or patchwrote from individual sentences in their sources. Writing from individual sentences places writers in constant jeopardy of working too closely with the language of the source and thus inadvertently plagiarizing; and it also does not compel the writer to understand the source.