Author Topic: Patchwriting/Avoiding Plagiarism  (Read 4300 times)

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Offline Tyler Hansen

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Patchwriting/Avoiding Plagiarism
« on: April 07, 2017, 07:19:59 AM »

Writing and Rhetoric Professor Rebecca Howard Moore coined the term "patchwriting" in one of her earlier articles titles “A Plagiarism Pentimento” which was published in the Journal of Teaching Writing in 1993. A pdf of the article may be found here: <>
In short, patchwriting majorily keeps the author's original syntax, switching out original terms for synonyms and rearranging the author's clauses. This was very interesting to me because I used to think that as long as used different words to communicate the author's message, I would be in the clear. However, patchwriting is a form of plagiarism, and students should be aware of strategies for avoiding it.

For ELLs especially, I believe that it is important to be taught a lesson about plagiarism before beginning a unit based around writing a research paper. I think a good idea for a lesson is one that focuses on writing strategies that students can use to avoid plagiarism. Purdue Owl gives some good information on this here: <>
For example, you may encourage students to take hand-written notes of sources materials so that they are more likely to use their own words. Activities for this lesson should have students practice quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing to avoid plagiarism. The instructor may want to give each student the same piece of writing rather than having them pick their own text to draw from. This way, the instructor will already be familiar with the text and will be able to easily see if the student was able to quote, paraphrase, and/or summarize without plagiarizing.