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Thomas Library

Battling Plagiarism in the Internet Age

|| Why Students Plagiarize || Plagiarism Prevention ||
|| Detection || Other Useful Plagiarism Sites ||
|| Tools and Search Engines ||


Wittenberg's Code of Academic Integrity

Wittenberg University is dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and truth. At the heart of our search for knowledge is personal honesty, an honesty that makes possible an open and vibrant exchange of ideas. True community and academic excellence thrive at Wittenberg through honesty, trust, and mutual respect. It is the aim of this Code of Academic Integrity to foster an atmosphere in which each individual can reach their fullest potential as students and teachers and, ultimately, as human beings.
Wittenberg University's Honor Council Home Page

This page contains University and Honor Council guidelines for dealing with cases of academic dishonesty.

Why Students Plagiarize

  • Heavy emphasis placed on grades
  • Pressure to succeed
  • Belief that their skills are inadequate and whatever they download is better than anything they could write
  • Students feel overwhelmed by the research process -- Information Literacy Instruction done in conjunction with the librarians helps to alieviate this
  • Laziness
  • Procrastination
  • Foreign students -- in some cultures use of a known work or idea is seen as a sign of being educated
  • See the internet as free for anyone's use, part of the public domain and no need to cite
  • Don't know how to properly paraphrase
  • Have a consumer mentality -- see degree as something you buy rather than earn (Auer and Krupar 2001)
  • Widespread availability of the internet and increased access to fulltext databases has made cut and paste plagiarism very easy
  • Feel the to keep up -- "everyone else is doing it" argument
Plagiarism Prevention

  • Make sure students are aware of what constitutes plagiarism
  • Make students aware of plagiarism policies and penalties
  • Let students know that you are aware that plagiarism occurs
  • Deal with plagiarism consistently when it does occur
  • Instruct students on proper ways to paraphrase
  • Make assignments interesting (Renard 1999/2000)
  • Use assignments that don't lend themselves to plagiarism, i.e. personal reflection, oral presentations, in class writing etc.
  • Vary assignments from semester to semester
  • Emphasize learning, not just the project or paper
  • Critique, in class, a paper downloaded from a free term paper site (Austin and Brown 1999)
  • Engage students in the writing process, having them turn in drafts and notes (Renard 1999/2000)
  • Meet with students during the writing process to discuss their progress and share drafts
  • Discuss why plagiarism in wrong (Harris 2001)
  • Require an annotated bibliography (Harris 2001)
Detection

  • Look for changes in writing style, tense, or voice
  • Is the writing level greatly above or below what you would expect for the level of the class?
  • Look for unusual word choices
  • Keep samples of in-class writing for comparison
  • Have students write a brief summary of their paper in class
  • Unusual changes in font throughout paper (Auer and Krupar 2001)
  • Check list of works cited for possible sources of plagiarized information (Renard 1999/2000)
  • Paper is off topic or doesn't meet the requirements for the assignment (Harris 2001)
  • Dated references -- nothing new is cited (Harris 2001)
  • Require students to turn in copies of their works cited (Klausman 1999)
  • Look for falsified or nonexistent citations (Ryan 1998)
  • Look for more than one citation style
  • Perform Boolean searches for unusual words in the paper in metasearch engines and in subject relevant library databases (Bugeja 2000)
Other Useful Plagiarism Sites Tools and Search Engines

  • Plagiarism Resource Site
    From Lou Bloomfield, this site offers free software for plagiarism detection. However, it sounds as if you have to populate the database yourself.
  • turnitin.com
    Web based plagiarism detection for a fee.
  • Eve
    A fee based service that, "Quickly tracks down Internet sources of Plagiarism."
  • Glatt Plagiarism Services
    Produces and sells software to "help deter and detect plagiarism."
  • Google
    Sometimes you can find the plagiarized work just by using a search engine. Try picking out unusual words or phrases from suspected plagiarized works and searching for them in one of these large search engines.

Link to Works Cited

Compiled by Alisa Mizikar.
amizikar@witteberg.edu