Jessup Playbooks Logo

Plagiarism Resources for Faculty

Learn about plagiarism, its consequences, and how to avoid it.

Need Help?

Ask a Librarian @
Betty Sue Jessup Library

501 College Drive
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Strategies to Detect and Prevent Plagiarism

Detecting Plagiarism

Software to detect plagiarism (Turnitin, SafeAssign, etc.) does not and cannot take the place of expertise, experience, and common sense. These software packages many times miss a lot of plagiarism that could have been easily discovered by a human being. Here are some strategies to detect plagiarism:

  • Pay attention to writing style.  If grammar, syntax, word usage, etc., do not sound like they could come from your student, they probably haven't.
  • Get to know your students' writing "voice." Plagiarized materials will jump at you as being written in a different voice.
  • Notice the flow of the essay: plagiarized papers generally tend to seem choppy, with changes in style, tense, structure, etc.
  • The student includes ideas that she/he is not likely to be familiar with.
  • The work contains references to materials that are very difficult to access or that are no longer available.
  • The work contains citations that are mangled, incomplete, or inaccurate.

[Source: Cizek, G.J. (2003).Detecting and preventing classroom cheating. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.]

Preventing Plagiarism

  • Educate yourself about plagiarism, about the whys and the hows.
  • Educate your students about it; show what the consequences can be and what plagiarism says about character.
  • Show your students why we cite sources and what the scholarly value of this practice is.
  • Be clear about expectations and about penalties.

Some practical strategies:

  • Instead of asking  students to write a References/Works Cited, ask them to create an annotated bibliography.
  • Ask students to attach copies of all their sources.
  • Ask students to prepare a synopsis or abstract of every cited source.
  • Assign some of the sources the students must use for their papers.
  • Use more in-class writing.
  • Include a research journal with assignments. Students could write about their research process, including how and where sources were found and why they were chosen.
  • Require that papers be shorter than six pages, to teach students to be concise and to the point.
  • Require oral presentations of all or part of the assignment, including oral summaries and analysis of sources, and require students to answer questions and defend their arguments.

[Source: Lathrop, A., & Foss, K. (Eds.). (2005). Guiding students from cheating and plagiarism to honesty and integrity. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.]