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Tips for Preventing Plagiarism

Preventing overt plagiarism—the intentional submitting of another’s paper as one’s own—is not easy, but there are several things you might do to discourage those who might plagiarize from doing so. Here is a brief list you might consider:

  • Educate your students about plagiarism as an ethical problem.
  • Inform them, in writing, about the penalties for plagiarism.
  • Make your assignment(s) explicit—provide a clearly worded, thorough assignment sheet that not only sets the parameters of an assignment but also provides students with tips for working through the writing process.
  • Connect the writing assignment to critical learning outcomes for the course.
  • Require brief written essay topic proposals.
  • Collect early drafts (even if you only plan to scan them).
  • Ask for oral reports along with written papers.
  • Require students to write a summary/reflection of their paper.
  • Require students to submit copies of outside source material, where possible.

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