University Students’ and Instructors’ Paraphrasing and Citation Knowledge and Practices


  • Krista Schwabl University of Alberta
  • Marian J. Rossiter University of Alberta
  • Marilyn L. Abbott University of Alberta



plagiarism, patchwriting, paraphrasing, higher education


Plagiarism is a widespread concern at post-secondary institutions (Perry, 2010).  University students are expected to avoid plagiarism by citing sources and paraphrasing appropriately.  Their written work, however, often contains “patchwriting”, a developmental stage of writing that involves deleting/replacing words and/or altering structures in copied texts (Howard, 1995). Nine university instructors and 66 of their students responded to surveys addressing perceptions of paraphrasing and citation and recommendations for developing these skills. Responses revealed variations in perceptions of acceptable paraphrasing, particularly for patchwriting. Participants recommended paraphrasing workshops or online courses to provide more explicit instruction and guidance for both instructors and students.

Author Biographies

Krista Schwabl, University of Alberta

Krista Schwabl is an ESL instructor at NorQuest College in Edmonton, Alberta, and is a recent graduate of the Masters in Teaching English as Second Language (TESL) program at the University of Alberta.


Marian J. Rossiter, University of Alberta

Marian Rossiter is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Teaching English as a Second Language Program in the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Alberta.

Marilyn L. Abbott, University of Alberta

Marilyn Abbott is Associate Professor in the Teaching English as a Second Language Program in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta