Try it on: Voice, concordancing and textmatching in doctoral writing

Cally Guerin, Michelle Picard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Appropriate use and acknowledgement of sources continues to be a central concern of academic integrity. A major challenge for research students in using sources is the development of a confident authorial voice that matches disciplinary expectations in language use, yet manages to do so without plagiarising through inappropriate textmatching or recycling of language. This is a daunting challenge for all research writers, particularly for English as an Additional Language (EAL) researchers who are still grappling with English grammar and syntax. In order to develop novice research writers‟ understanding of acceptable use of sources and mastery of disciplinary language, we have developed a process called “Try it on” that uses concordancing software alongside text-matching software (Turnitin). Here we present textual
analyses of two cases using this process: in one, the student's percentage of
matches decreased as he developed his authorial voice; in the second, the
percentage of matches increased as the student's language choices came to reflect more closely the expected usage in the discipline, thus replicating the expected authorial voice for that particular audience. These cases demonstrate how “Try it on” can be used to help students write in an appropriate authorial voice while also avoiding plagiarism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)34
Number of pages45
JournalInternational Journal for Educational Integrity
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


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