Preventing and Detecting Plagiarism:
Tips for Faculty
Some Reasons for Plagiarism:
- Unintentional - unaware, lack knowledge
- Intentional - learned trait
- Pressure - teachers, parents
- Fear/Intimidation - bad grade, weak writing skills
- Procrastinators - wait until the last minute
- Readily available or easy access - Internet Paper Mills: websites that offer
"custom or ready made" research papers for free or purchase:
- Chalk Talk in the Classroom
- Syllabus - define meaning of Plagiarism, Intellectual Property, Academic Integrity
- Academic Dishonest Policy - explain school’s and yours
- Plagiarism - create a debate
- Skills - offer research tips
- Sources - talk about the advantages of citing sources
- Examples - offer examples of some repercussions (see
"Plagiarism in the News" from
Our Lady of the Lake University)
- Design Creative Assignments
- Assign - varied, specific, and clear assignments
- Add - analysis and criticism component
- Give - smaller research projects
- Coordinate - due date with length of assignments
- Require - assignments orally, written, and electronically
- Monitor Research
- Be aware of your students' capabilities and writing styles (assign an on the spot writing exercise
- a brief writing assignment is an effective way of becoming familiar with each student's style)
- Monitor your students work which will include checking the progress of research step by step
- Approve topic/thesis statement
- Require current sources
- Specify type of sources and citation style
- Request a copy of the bibliography (or annotation of sources)
- Offer guidance and be available (this will be time consuming, especially with a big class, but in
the end, this can be beneficial
- Provide referral
Detecting plagiarism can be time consuming, so allow sufficient time to mark research papers and verify
questions surrounding unethical practices such as plagiarism. Therefore be cognizant and set some
extra time aside before grades are due.
- Be familiar with students' writing styles and abilities.
- Does the writing style "contain complex or specialized vocabulary"
that might be used by scholars in the field?
Look for inconsistencies in:
- Quality of Writing - does the writing go from poor to excellent or vice versa?
- Formatting - does the layout of assignment change as well as the formatting?
- Font Size: Is the lettering all the same size?
Example of three different font sizes within one paragraph.
instructors, teaching and non-teaching, we need to be conscious of our students, assignments,
and how we teach. Polls from other neighboring universities along
with various inquires from
some teaching faculty here at LIU have indicated that the Internet...
- Font Style: Does the choice of fonts change for no reason?
Example of three different font styles:
Times New Roman, and
...Electronic Plagiarism is altering the way we teach, learn, and gather
information for research. In the academic world, the roles and responsibilities of everyone, professionals and
non-professionals, have changed primarily because
of the simple truth is that it is easier for students to plagiarize from the
web than to research and write a paper on their own
- Page Numbering: Are there multiple page numbers on a single page?
Example of two sets of page numbers on a single page: "-5-" is the actual page number that the student
typed in, and "3" is an example of a page number that was inadvertently copied when the
student did a cut and paste from the web.
...the 1960s were a decade of abortion reform. During this period states began to
liberalize their abortion laws, primarily in response to pressure by a variety of
interest groups including associations of medical professionals...
- Web URLs: Are there addresses of websites that begin
with "www." or "http://"?
Be wary of the placement of web addresses (URLs) when they appear at the top or bottom of students' assignments.
Sometimes when students plagiarize from the Internet, they also unknowingly lift web addresses that then
become part of their finished papers.
Example of a web address that is present on a page of a student's assignment without the student's knowledge.
signed into law the nation's most liberal abortion law, which essentially
provided for abortion on demand. Yet by 1972 many states still banned most abortions"
Questia Media America, Inc.
- Embedded Hyperlinks: Does the paper contain underlined links that look
like they would lead to a website?
Example of an embedded hyperlink: "(5)".
Page 4 of 5
12 million jobs are tied to these exports, including 1 in 5 in the manufacturing
In rural areas, crops grown on one of every three acres planted by U.S. farmers are also destined
for overseas markets...
- Spelling: Are there inconsistencies with the spelling in the text that go from
American spellings of words to British? (Caution: Consider the student's nationality. Students from
a British country, Commonwealth nation, dependent territory, or other place where the British custom is
observed might forget and mix spellings.)
Example of some British spelled words within an assignment where most of the words use American spelling.
...revered by many because they accepted all people as brothers
and sisters regardless of race, religion and colour or memorise
...two favourite match memories are firstly the Challenge Cup Semi-Final
versus Morton, as Craig says...
Some websites with lists of American and British words:
Research topic does not match up fully with the required assignment, class work, and lecture.
Assignment is incomplete
Bibliography and References
- Is it current?
- Is it complete?
- Is it readily available locally?
Suspicious: what do I do?
- Highlight the "questionable text":
Think about the source of this possible source of this questionable material.
Does it look like it comes from one or more of the following: web, hidden or invisible
web, books, journals, databases, paper mills.
- Search the web: Use one or more of the many Internet Search Engines available.
Find some on our Library Homepage under
Internet Resources - Search Engines.
- Read the help screens for the one you choose. They all use different search protocols.
- Try more than one search engine. They are all designed differently and can be
searched more efficiently using their terminology and protocols. Results may vary from one to another.
- For example, if you choose to search Google,
enclose the questionable text, line, or paragraph in quotation marks:
reveals that this text comes from the website:
"In George Elliot's lifetime England went through a series of tumultuous cultural, social,
and economic changes. By the time that she wrote Silas Marner in 1861, the moderately
industrial, though primarily rural, Britain of her youth had completely vanished, and the
Britain of her parents' youth only lingered like a partially forgotten reverie
in her mind."
Search the Hidden or Invisible Web: Most of what is available on the Internet is
password protected or fee-based.
- To access additional resources, use your library barcode (accessible from the
Circulation Department) to search the Library's subscription-based online databases
- Click on Online Databases at the Library homepage,
and choose a category or subject that applies to the topic. Remember to look under
General for the interdisciplinary databases
that are more general in nature.
Trust your expertise of the subject matter.
Consult a Reference Librarian: They are subject specialists and can assist in searching for
information on your subject or choose the appropriate database. Contact them at extension 2305.
Use a Plagiarism Detection Service such as
a new component of LIU's Blackboard
course management system. It
compares submitted student papers against a database of websites,
journal articles, and other student papers to determine which passages, if any,
have been plagiarized and from which sources.
Faculty may contact Tricia Hinchman in the
Information Technology Resource Center
for more information on this plagiarism module.
Consult student: the student has valuable information.
- Approach - calmly make appointment with student
- Communicate - converse and listen
- Inquire - ask student to explain questionable information
- Require - a short on spot summary (verbally or written)
- Request - a copy of the sources
When plagiarism is suspected, consider that the plagiarism can be:
- Offer some help on the writing process (note-taking, compiling a bibliography, citing sources)
- Refer writing center
- Recommend some writing classes
- Repeat the assignment
- Fail the course
- Face possible suspension
- Refer to LIU Post Policies:
- Purdue University. OWL: Online Writing Lab.
- Harris, Robert. (2004). Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for
Research Papers. VirtualSalt.
- Lathrop, Ann. (2000). Student Cheating and Plagiarism in the Internet Era : a Wake-Up Call.
Colorado: Libraries Unlimited. (Call Number: LB3609.L28 2000)
- Lipson, Charles (2004). Doing honest work in college: how to prepare citations,
avoid plagiarism, and achieve real academic success. University of Chicago
Press. Call Number PN171.F56 L5 2004
- Whitley, Bernard E. & Keith-Spiegel, Patricia. (2002). Academic Dishonesty: an Educator's
Guide. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (Call Number: LB3609.W45 2002)
Updated November 2012