Plagiarism: proactive prevention instead of reactive punishment

Arabella Volkov, Michael Volkov, Peter Tedford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - This study investigated whether providing university students with extra feedback regarding their referencing improves their referencing confidence and reduces their propensity to plagiarise. The study also sought to increase our understanding of what factors underlie student plagiarism.

Design/methodology/approach - Undergraduate and post-graduate accounting students were surveyed regarding their experience when completing a formative essay designed to give feedback on their referencing ability. All students in one undergraduate and one postgraduate accounting course were invited to participate in a post-assessment, electronically administered survey consisting of sixteen questions.

Findings - The results indicate that a considerable number of the students perceived the formative assessment to be of benefit with respect to improving their referencing confidence. A significant proportion of the students indicated that their understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and their confidence in avoiding plagiarism improved as a result of the assessment and its associated feedback.

Research limitations/implications - This study supports the provision of assessment designed to assist students with improving their ability to both recognise and avoid plagiarism in their written work. However, this research has not investigated whether these types of exercises lead to an actual reduction in the incidence of plagiarism in tertiary student cohorts. This is an area for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-35
Number of pages14
Journale-Journal of business education & scholarship of teaching
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Plagiarism
  • Tertiary Education
  • quality teaching

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