Preventing Plagiarism: Tips and Techniques by Laura DeSena

Tools for Identifying Plagiarism

  • 1) Give students in class writing assignments that you know are not plagiarized. This will help you become familiar with each student’s voice so that plagiarism will stand out. Keep samples of such assignments as the year goes on to see progress.
  • 2) Once you are familiar with a student’s voice a non cited sophisticated interpretation should jump out at you. Sentence structure and vocabulary use should also help.
  • 3) When you find a suspicious passage, use an electronic search engine to see if you can find where it came from. Laura gives some specific examples of how to do this.
  • 4) There are subscription services such as Turnitin that allow you to check student papers against electronic sources. If all students have access, you can have them submit their work via such services.
  • 5) Checking print-based resources takes a lot more time, but it can be done. Sometimes the student’s bibliography will point you in the direction of sources for non cited analysis. You can also check sources like Cliff Notes and Monarch Notes.
  • 6) Vary topics from year to year and make sure each student has a different assignment.
  • 7) Finally, you need to be willing to confront students when you have evidence of plagiarism. Laura offers some specific questions you can use that are respectful in nature.
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