avoid plagiarism

Students’ Top Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism


avoid plagiarism

more on plagiarism in this blog:


Additional ideas for students, from students

1. Be confident in your own skill and originality!

2. Take care when quoting or paraphrasing others’ ideas.

3. Ask for assistance. 

4. Check and re-check your work.

Inquiry Learning

Why Inquiry Learning is Worth the Trouble


EduCon 2.5

it’s important to question whether alleged “personalized,” “project-based,” or “collaborative” learning efforts are actually helping students and teachers to “hold ourselves in a state of questioning.”

In a true inquiry-based model, how learning happens isn’t as important as whether that learning encourages students to try to learn even more.

“Inquiry means living in the soup. Inquiry means living in that uncomfortable space where we don’t know the answer.”

Increased collaboration between students and increasing student scrutiny of educational content were two other signs Lehmann and the group said signaled the right approach, even if they clashed with classroom norms. For example, collaboration can often lead to tricky discussions about what part of a students’ work are his or her own and what part is recycled. (see IMS blog entry on academic dishonesty: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2015/05/04/cheating-inadvertently/)

Inquiry-based education should improve student engagement, critical thinking skills, and cross-disciplinary opportunities (see IMS blog entry on cross-disciplinary idea and subjects versus topics equivalent http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2015/03/24/education-reform-finland/)

Cheating Inadvertently

Cheating Inadvertently


2001 article that illustrated nicely the challenge we face in helping students do their work with integrity.

the form of plagiarism continues into graduate school, where plagiarism remains, by far, the most common form of academic dishonesty.

the article repeats to a degree what is already known:



namely, that plagiarism is in a much smaller degree intentional and to its largest percentage lack of systematic approach and clear directions by faculty toward students.

Rebecca Moore Howard, a professor of writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University, has called “patchwriting,” or borrowing large sentence structures and vocabularies from a source and only swapping out the occasional word or phrase with language of their own.

academic integrity represents an incredibly complex subject to master: It encompasses knowledge (What are the rules of academic integrity? How do they apply in this context?), skills (How do I summarize or paraphrase this passage without plagiarizing? How do I credit the work of others when I am collaborating with peers or using sources?), and values (Why does academic integrity matter? Why should I care about it?).

“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”
― Salvador Dalí

plagiarism and academic integrity

Posner, Kouwe, and Hegemann: old-school vs. new-school attitudes about plagiarism


Generation-Y literary remixing? or plagiarism?

I’ve typically come to the defense of Gen Y, to which I belong, when baby boomers and others accuse us of neglecting personal relationships in favor of social networking, or of growing so reliant on technology that we’re unable to operate an actual telephone book or read a paper map. I even make my living doing all kinds of Millennial-y things like blogging and writing for online publications. But I also went to a solid journalism school that instilled me with plenty of old-old-school values, many of which I don’t think are forgiving when it comes to lifting another person’s writing or insights without also admitting where you got them.

Evering L, Moorman G. Rethinking Plagiarism in the Digital Age. Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy [serial online]. September 2012;56(1):35-44. Available from: EBSCO MegaFILE, Ipswich, MA. Accessed December 3, 2014.


The current concept of plagiarism is based on a capitalist view of property and ownership. It assumes that everything of value can be owned, bought, and sold and that ideas, knowledge, and art are created by individuals who have the rights of ownership. This view is deeply ingrained in Western culture.

Traditional definitions of plagiarism are further challenged by the digital revolution.

This situation has caused the current Millennial generation to see knowledge ownership, acquisition, and distribution in radically different terms than in previous generations. Clearly,
academia is past due in reevaluating the concept and how we deal with it in secondary and higher

Plagiarism and the Millennials


Digital & Information Literacy a la EasyBib

Tips for Teaching Digital & Information Literacy


Digital & Information Literacy Lesson Highlights:

Digital Literacy and Web Literacy: What’s the Difference?


Resources for Teaching Digital & Web Literacies


The Challenge of Information Literacy in a time of Social Media and Pervasive Information by Neil Krasnoff


the challenge of social media with respect to information literacy is that networked individuals are continually bombarded with information. Thus, information literacy’s importance must make the leap from the academic world, where purposeful information search is the norm, to “real life,” where information continually competes for the audience.



Plagiarism: can Turnitin solve it?…

Turnitin And The Debate Over Anti-Plagiarism Software


excellent report by NPR on the advantages but also perils of computerizing/automation of a complex process, which requires prolonged education and discussions, rather then “yielding with a hammer.”

What is your take on how students can be educated to avoid plagiarism?
How academic dishonesty should be handled?

Please consider other IMS blog entries on plagiarism


What is plagiarism?

What is plagiarism?

Law Professor at the University of Reims, FranceTop Contributor

A colleague of mine is asking us to organise a disciplinary commission for a student who, during a test (home test) quoted an author at great length. I disagree with his judgement. This in my opinion is youth caution (I’m not too sure about what I think so I protect myself with very long quotes). She did refer to the author in question and did not steal his ideas as her own. The risk for the student (who happens to be a very good one) is that she may lose the right to pass any national exam of any sort for x years. I intend to defend her at the disciplinary hearing as I happen to have supervised her for a research last year and am supervising her this year for another and know what she’s made of. The question to you all is : what constitutes plagiarism in your opinion and practice?



  • Shaun JamisonShaun

    Shaun Jamison

    Law Professor & Librarian

    @ Gregg, another clue is when they don’t bother to take out the hyperlinks from the original source they didn’t credit.

  • Gregg

    Gregg Etter

    Associate Professor at University of Central Missouri

    @Shawn. the sad part is if they would have credited the source it would have been research, not plagiarism!

  • John HainsJohn

    John Hains

    Associate Professor at Clemson University

    Gregg, I get the ‘lazy’ student part. How common is it for courses to be so redundant that a paper like this could be ‘re-cycled’?

  • Gregg

    Gregg Etter

    Associate Professor at University of Central Missouri

    @ John. That’s the point. The class I was teaching was policing in a democratic society. The paper was from a juvenile justice class that was taught by another professor. The content of the two courses does not match. It becomes real obvious when you get a re-cycled criminal law paper in a hate crimes or organized crime class. Some things will transfer and all knowledge is collective. However, in organized crime if you wanted to talk about criminal law, you might talk about the application of R.I.C.O., not Marbury v Madison or Estelle v. Gamble. A person wanting to apply the principles of juvenile justice might talk about the extended rights of a juvenile under Mirranda v. Arizona, not about juvenile holding facilities or juvenile courts.

  • Dr. Murphy NmeziDr. Murphy

    Dr. Murphy Nmezi

    Professor/Academic Mentor, Pathology/Pharmacology/Biostatistics

    Apropos Howard’s response to Mihail’s question:

    I once conducted an initial interview, in virtual space, to fill one of two biostatistics faculty positions that we had. And, it is important to note that success at this interview requires that the candidate be able to answer key questions in biostatistics analysis.

    With each question, (believe me, these are basic questions that anyone with an advanced degree in a related field should be able to answer), I could distinctly hear this individual “banging away” at the keyboard in search of the answer. Obviously, this candidate wasn’t prepared for the interview, nor did s/he possess the foundational knowledge that a degree holder in a field of study must have to succeed. Was it plagiarism or not?

    Perhaps, this candidate plagiarized his/her way through college and graduate school. Who knows? But, I can confidently bet my retirement that some of these jokers are slipping, undetected, through our educational system. I will also bet that this is happening, even to a greater extent, worldwide.

    Mihails Ņ. likes this

  • Harold KatcherHarold

    Harold Katcher

    Professor at University of Maryland

    John, I for one teach four classes, human biology, human health and disease (a watered-down patho-physiology course), the biology of aging and neuroscience. Someone could submit a paper say on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, any of the dementias to any of these courses, a paper on atherosclerosis to three of them etc. But what is the point of writing the papers? To present their fellow students with new information (assuming they read it) or to give the student an opportunity to learn something new and demonstrate their comprehension? For me it’s mostly the latter, and allowing recycled papers doesn’t accomplish that.
    And Dr. Nmezi I totally agree with you – for everyone we catch, how many slip through undetected?
    Most countries in the world have constitutions that when examined closely, provide all the safeguards needed by a society – but in many places those laws are not upheld (for national security’s sake – a US excuse). So all’s I’m saying is uphold those rules that are in place – softening them may help those who otherwise might not be able to complete or compete successfully in a course or program, but you a hurting the society that expects that graduates of a program will be competent in what they do.

    Dr. Murphy N. likes this

  • John HainsJohn

    John Hains

    Associate Professor at Clemson University

    Harold, I guess I was thinking in terms of courses taught by different teachers. However, four of the five lecture courses I teach are strongly related and with that in mind, I make sure that I am in control of both the content and the assessment. So I make sure that if there is some overlap in content, I do not make an assignment which allows ‘recycling’. If someone has taken a similar course at another institution and ‘recycles’ a report, I have no way to detect that. So as far as I can tell I have never had a problem with this. But my assignments are structured so that they simply can’t support ‘recycling’.