Faculty Plagiarism Resources: Prevention and Detection
Simply put, plagiarism is the use of someone's words or ideas as your own.
When writing a research paper or making an oral presentation, you must cite all
the sources used whether from a book, a printed article or an electronic
resource found on the web.
The age of "cut and paste" online information makes it easier
to cyber-plagiarize than ever before. However, the same online resources that make it
simpler to plagiarize also make it easier for individuals to detect
instances of academic dishonesty.
Understand Why Students Plagiarize
Students may not intend to plagiarize but might simply be unaware or
- May be unfamiliar with citation styles
- May lack appropriate research and writing skills
Students may also be confused about issues surrounding copyright and
- Don't understand what's an appropriate paraphrase vs. plagiarism
- Incorrectly perceive online information as non-copyrighted public knowledge
- Pressure to do well in school
Of course, there are a few bad apples who plagiarize willfully. Educate
yourself! The informed consumer of information is less likely to
plagiarize or to be victimized by acts of plagiarism.
- Define plagiarism for your students, and help them learn to recognize its many forms.
- Discuss plagiarism as an ethical, moral and legal issue. Point out that it's an issue of trust between a student and a faculty member as well as among student peers.
- Articulate the consequences of plagiaristic acts for students. At UNCA, academic
dishonesty may result in a failing grade on an assignment or test, or
a failing grade in the course. In some cases students may be referred
for expulsion or other serious University sanctions.
Design Plagiarism-Resistant Assignments
Here's a suggested list to aid in designing plagiarism-resistant
projects. Consider stipulating that your assignment requires:
- Detailed components
- Specific number and type of sources (in extreme cases, ask students to provide
a first-page copy of each article, book or website)
- Information the
instructor provides (i.e., incorporate article, book or data set into paper)
- Personal interview (current and verifiable source)
- Process steps with successive due dates such as a topic or problem statement, outline, bibliography, rough and subsequent drafts that reflect revised development, etc.
- Annotated bibliographies
- Recent sources (within the previous year outdates most paper mill
- Oral or written "writing process" summaries or evaluations
- Students to engage and apply ideas using synthesis, not mere description
- Consult with a librarian when creating assignments (what resources are available
in our campus network?)
There are many fine plagiarism education tutorials, guides and handouts available on the
Comprehensive site with links to articles about plagiarism, intellectual freedom and copyright created by Sharon
Stoerger (in conjunction with UIUC). Provides links to guidelines, detection tools, paper mills and other resources. Truly one-stop plagiarism shopping.
Electronic Plagiarism Seminar
Another fine site notable for its frequently updated plagiarism "In the
News" section. Includes a handy list of common term definitions
(copyright, common knowledge, intellectual property) as well as prevention
and detection strategies. Created and maintained by Librarian Gretchen Pearson of LeMoyne College.
Detection and Prevention
For those who prefer a more concise, easily navigable site, Baylor
University Libraries' page lists and links to excellent resources.
What is Plagiarism?
Indiana University's basic tutorial that educates students about what does (and doesn’t) constitute
plagiarism, by Ted Frick.
North Carolina State University's version.
Guides and Handouts
Site of the popular TurnItIn detection service that provides good
definitions, guidelines and printable handouts.
of Alberta Guide to Plagiarism
Well structured site with handouts and online resources for both
faculty and students.
Be alert in order to detect clues and red flags within assignments. Ask
yourself about these common indicators of plagiarism:
- Quality of writing differs in sections?
- Does it contain stylistic variations (fonts, headers, links, layout)?
- Paper/outcome differs from actual assignment?
Student work exceeds his/her research and writing abilities:
- Specialized vocabulary or elevated jargon used?
- Highly sophisticated writing style not aligned with previous
Examine the bibliography:
- Are most of the citations from older sources?
- Most materials referenced not found in our library system?
- Differing citation style than what you assigned?
Trust your instincts! If
you suspect you've got a little instance of academic dishonesty on your
hands, strategize and investigate. Better than having it
surgically removed ...
Library subscription databases for source articles.
- Select database(s) by Subject appropriate for the paper topic in order to locate and verify cited (or search for non-referenced) articles.
- Advanced search feature usually allows for phrase searching.
2. Use Google (or another web search tool)
to search for suspicious phrases or paragraphs that may originate from
- Conduct a bound phrase search (use quotation marks to enclose
- OR use Advanced Search option (allows for exact phrase searching).
3. Search for suspicious phrases or paragraphs within paper mills.
Cheat House: Possibly the most popular
"term paper for purchase (or trade)" site. Ability to search
from hundreds of available topics,
includes a rating system for users to find lower level through higher quality papers.
- EssayFinder: Self-advertises
as "The #1 Essay and Paper Search Engine" with over 50,000
essays and reports available for purchase. A free brief
description of each essay proves useful.
- Further Fee-based Paper
Mills as listed by the Google directory.
Detection Software and Services
Detection service subscriptions are available on an individual basis or
you might wish to consider requesting an institutional subscription from the appropriate campus office.
Perhaps the highest rate of detection among subscription software, TurnItIn searches not only a large portion of the
web, but also a number of full-text proprietary databases.
Software which compares a submitted essay to "anything" on the web.
Occasionally offers a 15-day free trial.
Glatt Plagiarism Screening:
Alternative screening software for detecting plagiarism from purchased
papers, other students and books. Also offers teaching/educational
software as well as a free, online plagiarism self-test available for concerned
More Detection Services:
Excellent list and information about available detection software and
services from LeMoyne College.
- Certain “free” detection services and websites have been found to share an IP address with paper mill sites. Such a guise may be one way that paper mills expand their paper-product offerings.
- Potential copyright issues arise in dealing with student work.
It's highly recommended that you submit only sections or phrases from
works rather than the entire paper.
Plagiarism - Definitions and information for students.
- Useful links and tips on how to document/cite both print and electronic resource information.
Web Information - Checklist and teaching tool for critically analyzing web sites and
Copyright Resources - Useful links and tips on everything you need to know about copyright and intellectual
property at UNCA.