Academic & Student Affairs

Design out plagiarism

As well as ensuring that students are aware of the consequences of academic misconduct it is important that they understand fully what academic misconduct is.  Engaging students in discussion about what is considered to be plagiarism.  This should happen early in a student's career.  As well as defining the term and exploring the ethical issues involved, it is important that students know how to paraphrase and summarise what they read and reference correctly.  Many Schools set out guidelines for students to follow for referencing their work.  The Learning Development Service also provides assistance with essay/report writing and referencing. 
Other ways of engaging students with good practice are:
  • to provide students with examples of good and poor practice
  • to ask students to write a short (500 word) formative essay on a topic early in the course and submit it to Turnitin2 software so that they can see the extent of work they may have plagiarised.
It is also good practice to set assignments which minimise the opportunities for plagiarism.  Ways to do this are:
  • changing assignments and /or data yearly to prevent work being passed from one group to another.  This does not, however, remove the problem of 'cutting and pasting' or collusion.  
  • requiring students to submit their work electronically through Turnitin2 software