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Preventing Plagiarism

Preventing Plagiarism Across Campus

Ensure that students and faculty are aware of the university’s policies on intellectual honesty, especially the Student Code of Conduct

Preventing Plagiarism in the Classroom

  • Require a 1-page writing sample from each student, early in the semester.
  • Model good behavior by citing your sources on handouts and other course materials.
  • Follow through when you detect academic misconduct.
  • Include a policy on intellectual honesty in your syllabus.
  • Sample Syllabus Statement: Plagiarism occurs when a person passes in another person’s work as his or her own or borrows directly from another’s work without documentation. It doesn’t matter if the work is that of a published author, an unpublished co-worker, or another student. Plagiarism also occurs when a person passes off another person’s ideas as his or her own; merely casting another writer’s ideas in different words doesn’t free one from the obligation to document one’s source. Finally, plagiarism occurs when graphic images are borrowed without attribution. A student who plagiarizes will be excluded from the course, will receive a final grade of F, and will be referred to the Dean of Students for disciplinary action. Other penalties may include academic probation, suspension, or expulsion from school. With this in mind, keep all preliminary work you do for each assignment. For instance, you should print hard copies of each draft or make separate electronic files. Should you turn in an assignment that appears to me to have been plagiarized, you will want to be able to show evidence of your work: notes, outlines, drafts, and other such material. If you are unable to do so, then we have a serious problem. If you have any questions about plagiarism, talk to me. You can also find further clarification in A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations; the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers;  and the Student Code of Conduct.

Preventing Plagiarism in the Assignment

  • Assign topics for projects and papers rather than allow students to choose a topic. Students choosing topics are better positioned to buy existing papers or supplemental materials for projects.
  • Clarify the extent to which collaboration is acceptable.
  • Require multiple drafts.
  • Require specific formatting (to prevent students from buying essays and papers).
  • Require photocopies or print-outs of all sources used.
  • Assign interesting, personalized papers that require students to integrate their own opinions. (For other ideas about designing assignments that help to prevent plagiarism, see Designing Plagiarism-Proof Assignments.)