Student and staff perceptions of the effectiveness of plagiarism detection software

Doug Atkinson, Sue Yeoh


The aim of this research was to determine student and staff perceptions of the effectiveness of plagiarism detection software. A mixed methods approach was undertaken, using a research model adapted from the literature. Eight hours of interviews were conducted with six students and six teaching staff from Curtin Business School at Curtin University of Technology, which had trialled the plagiarism detection software, EVE2. A survey questionnaire was completed by 171 students involved in the trial. The summary indication was that students perceived that plagiarism is an important issue; detection software makes it easier for lecturers; it is fair to use detection software; students support its use; and it will have some effect in preventing plagiarism. However, students' concerns included being caught for unintentional plagiarism, teaching staff placing too much emphasis on detection results above student ability, and the accuracy of the software at detecting plagiarism. Concerns for teaching staff included the time taken for the detection process, limitation of the software to publicly based Internet sources and direct copying, and the extra workload involved with pursuing academic misconduct.

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