Publication Details

Koshy, S. 2008, 'A case of miscommunication? Obstacles to the effective implementation of a plagiarism detection system in a multicultural university', in J. Van Rij-Heyligers (eds), Intercultural communications across university settings : myths and realities: referreed proceedings of the 6th Communication Skills in University Education Conference, Pearson Education, New Zealand, pp. 145-159.


The issue of Plagiarism has besieged universities worldwide and proactive preventive measures implemented include the use of plagiarism detection systems like TurnItIn. This paper explores the use and potential misuse of TurnItIn by the students of a Western University in the Middle East that hosts a diverse academic community comprising 70 different nationalities. Preliminary findings show that the use of TurnItIn has generated a whole new approach towards plagiarism. Student interviews revealed that they seemed to have developed a false sense of competence based solely on TurnItIn results. Text matching was often misinterpreted to mean plagiarism and the focus of students when submitting assignments was preventing text matching on TurnItIn. These and other similar findings led to the conclusion that there has been a lack of accurate communication about plagiarism and the use of TurnItIn. An in-depth analysis of these issues may help to develop strategies to overcome the obstacles to the effective use of plagiarism detection systems. This may also lead to a re-evaluation of the current system.