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Tips for Faculty

  1. Do not assume that students know what plagiarism is.
  2. Educate students about plagiarism and discuss why it is unethical. 
  3. Make the instruction about plagiarism as positive as possible.
  4. Show examples of proper usage of sources as well as examples of plagiarism.
  5. Discuss the benefits of citing sources.
  6. Make clear the university's policy for dealing with plagiarism and include the policy in the syllabus.
  7. Construct assignments to prevent plagiarism. Consider providing a list of highly specific or unusual topics so it is less likely to find off the shelf papers on the topic.
  8. Break the assignment into components with multiple due dates so students have time to work on the assignment. Poor time management, pressure of workload, and stress are some reasons why plagiarism occurs.
  9. Have students submit an annotated bibliography of the sources used including an evaluation about the usefulness of the source. This will help students reflect on the quality and reliability of the source.
  10. When students hand in their papers, have them submit an integrity statement to show that they are the true authors of the paper.
  11. Bring students into the library for a research session. Work closely with librarians about the research process.
  12. Schedule a library instruction session for your students so they can learn about the variety of research resources and citation tools available to them. Librarians can demonstrate how to access these resources, evaluate them, and use them effectively in their papers.

Content adapted from:

Harris, Lockman, V., & Lockman,  Vic. (2001). The plagiarism handbook : strategies for preventing, detecting, and dealing with plagiarism. Pyrczak Pub.

Strategies for Detecting Plagiarism

Here are some standard clues that may help detect plagiarized papers:

  1. Mixed citation or bibliographic styles (some paragraphs containing APA style, some containing MLA style, etc.).
  2. Lack of citations or quotations.
  3. Unusual formatting, incorrect spacing, or lines may be indicators of a cut and paste job.
  4. Glaring inconsistency in diction or style, paragraphs containing a mix of sophisticated and colloquial language.
  5. Long sentences can sometimes be a red flag. 
  6. Search suspicious sentences or paragraphs in google by enclosing them in quotations.
  7. Become familiar with the sources of plagiarized papers. There are many paper mill sites.
  8. If you suspect plagiarism, try a keyword in the subject appropriate database(s) or seek help from a librarian.
  9. There are many plagiarism detection services that are available for free and for a fee. See Plagiarism Detection tools on this page.

Plagiarism Detection Tools