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Detection

  • Look for inconsistencies throughout the paper. This could be changes in:
    • Writing styles
    • Citation styles
    • Fonts
  • Outdated references, particularly if the paper only contains outdated references, or information could be an indicator of plagiarizing an older paper. For example, referring to something as a current event that is no longer current is an easy tell.
  • Peculiar phrasing and grammar mistakes may be due to a poorly translated paper that was plagiarized.

Confirmation

  • One of the most common ways a paper will be plagiarized is from a student using a search engine to find relevant papers and to copy those. Use a search engine, such as Google, if you are suspicious of plagiarizing to see if a paper similar to the student's paper already exists.
  • Blackboard provides SafeAssign which can be used to detect plagiarism. For more information see the Blackboard SafeAssign .PDF.

Prevention

  • Not all plagiarism is intentional. One of the best ways to prevent it is to make sure that students are aware of what it is and why it is important not to do it.
    • A great opportunity for this is to include information in the syllabus and cover it at the beginning of the semester.
  • Improper citations are the cause for a lot of plagiarism at the university level. Making students aware of how to cite properly can fix a lot of these errors. Many resources exist online so class time doesn’t need to be used to explain this to students who need it.
  • Make students aware of the fact that you can detect plagiarism.  This will discourage students from willingly plagiarizing.