n South African Journal of Higher Education - Combating plagiarism using a community of practice approach

Volume 28, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article describes a teaching intervention, which was informed by a community of practice approach, undertaken to manage a plagiarism problem at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), South Africa. In particular, many final year students were submitting assignments which were, to a large extent, plagiarised. As this problem posed a threat to the integrity of the academic programme, an intervention was necessary. To that end, a prevention-and-development approach was adopted. The intervention took the form of an action research project using critical reflection as a methodology. The intervention, especially phase two, was successful, although incidents of plagiarism were not completely eliminated. The teaching intervention proved to be both time and labour intensive. Formal training for students on what plagiarism is; how to correctly cite and reference; and how to write in an academically appropriate manner, was found to be necessary if plagiarism in higher education is to be dealt with within a developmental framework. It was further found that a prevention-and-development approach cannot be effective without a detection-and-enforcement system being in place.

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