There are two possible strategies for deterring plagiarism – 1) explaining the consequences of plagiarism and 2) formulating assignments to make plagiarism more difficult.

Explain “plagiarism” and its consequences to your students

  1. Incorporate an “Academic Integrity” statement into your syllabus or program. Many Colleges have a template for an Academic Integrity statement in place; see the Policy Links page for information. Some additional examples are listed below.NOTE: As of spring 2002 Senate Policy 43-00 (Syllabus) requires instructors to provide a statement on Academic Integrity within a syllabus.
  2. If your college or department has an Academic Integrity Web site, provide the URL or link to it in your syllabus if it is appropriate. See the Policy Links page for information.
  3. Show examples of plagiarism, either from your own archives or a student tutorial.
  4. Explain proper citation rules and “fair use.” You can also refer students to citation guidelines.
  5. Explain the difference between collaborative work and academic dishonesty. Provide specific dos and dont’s for collaborative projects.
  6. Post drafts or assignments for peer review. Students will receive advice and you will have another set of eyes.
  7. Review the Penn State policies on Academic Honesty (and your own) with your students.
  8. Speak of your awareness of term paper Web sites.
  9. Remind students that they may need the research skills or knowledge in their future careers.
  10. Ask your students to sign a contract.
  11. Include a plagiarism quiz. This site includes a question bank for ANGEL and links to other quiz resources.
  12. If you intend to use a plagiarism detection service or software package, warn students ahead of time. The warning alone may drop the rate of plagiarism and ensure that students are aware of their work may be submitted to an online archive.

 Plagiarism Quiz Resources

Restructure writing assignments

  1. Make writing topics specific – it is far more difficult to find and adapt outside papers to specific topics.
  2. Outline the research and writing process for students so they feel more confident in doing their own work.
  3. Work with students to determine a paper topic they like so they have more incentive to do their own research. A standard proposal form/worksheet could be used. If possible, you can meet with students individually to help with research questions.
  4. Ask for reference lists and drafts throughout the semester.
  5. Require very recent references or to include sources from a list you provide.
  6. Require students to turn in research notes with final drafts.
  7. Change assignments or topics from year to year.
  8. Make assignments unique to students/year (e.g. a family history, current issues, local issues, personal reactions).
  9. Include alternative genres such as an article review, Web site review, a video, podcast, journal, interview or other assignments requiring personal reflection or original research.
  10. Think about providing a bibliography for students so they know where to begin legitimate research.
  11. Research other courses in your area for additional ideas.

Other Tips

  1. Point out which assignments will require longer time commitments at the beginning of the semester.
  2. For longer assignments, spell out how long you expect it to take and suggested work or research tips so students have the opportunity to better prepare.
  3. Avoid tests and assignments which are all multiple choice or simple fill-in-the-blank.
  4. For math and science problems – requiring students to spell out each step will make plagiarism easier to detect. Alternatively, you can allow collaboration for some assignments if appropriate.
  5. If your course includes a threaded discussion area, you should monitor it from time to time to make sure students are practicing academic integrity.
  6. Use multiple assignments instead of one long paper, especially for general education classes.
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