Drew University Professor Receives $2 Million Research Grant

Seven-year project will focus on digital literacy and plagiarism

June 2021 – Drew University English Professor Sandra Jamieson is part of a research team that received a $2 million (CA $2.5 million) grant for research on digital literacy and plagiarism.

The grant, awarded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, funds a seven-year project, “Partnership on University Plagiarism Prevention,” focusing on how college students think about, use, and misuse digital sources in academic writing.

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Jamieson is a professor of English and director of writing across the curriculum.

The grant specifically targets the integration of students in the research, allowing the bulk of the funds to be used to pay doctoral, masters, undergraduate, and postdoctoral student researchers across the project’s 34 partner institutions, including Drew.

The research team spans seven countries and will conduct research in English and French, allowing the project to explore the impact of linguistic, national, and cultural relationships to plagiarism. It is led by Dr. Martine Peters at the University of Quebec en Outaouais, the University that received the grant, and includes 59 researchers and three co-directors, one on each continent. Jamieson is the U.S. co-director.

“I’ve been doing this research on plagiarism and ways to prevent it for over a decade, so I am excited to be part of this new project. The size and reach of this grant are an affirmation of the importance of this research, as well as the questions we are asking and our research method,”said Jamieson, who has been at Drew since 1993.

“The opportunity to learn about how students engage with sources in different countries and contexts is a game changer,” she added.

“Everyone has a story and a theory about plagiarism,” Jamieson noted. “But there is very little transcontextual data about what students are doing and thinking as they write with sources. We are going to generate that data by studying students engaging with and discussing the use of digital sources in real time.”

Once complete, the project’s findings will be used to develop pedagogies designed to reduce plagiarism.

“As a teacher, I want students to be empowered to engage with the ideas of others and have the ability to respond in ways that challenge them to think more deeply,” said Jamieson.

“As a researcher, I want to find out how they develop this skill and how we can teach it more effectively. This engagement is the absolute opposite of plagiarism, which is why this grant is so important.”

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