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The Plagiarism Blog

Keeping Current on Plagiarism, Cheating & Academic Integrity by Susan Herzog, Information Literacy Librarian, Eastern Connecticut State University

Deterring Plagiarism: a New Role for Librarians, Margaret Burke. Library Philosophy and Practice Vol. 6, No. 2 (Spring 2004).

"The proliferation of student plagiarism on university campuses is paralleled by the increasing number of articles appearing in academic journals presenting varying opinions on the topic. Opinions run the gamut from outrage at the student offenders to pointing fingers at faculty members who fail to create plagiarism-proof assignments. One also reads about controversial new methods for deterring and detecting plagiarism, most notably, online plagiarism detection systems. In surveying the literature, one can construct valid arguments for each point of view.

This paper will explore the plagiarism dilemma from a librarian's vantage point, and will outline the strong support that has been offered to teaching faculty with plagiarism problems by the Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library of Hofstra University. It will also examine how Hofstra University decided to subscribe to Turnitin.com (www.turnitin.com), a popular but controversial online plagiarism detection system."

Preventing Cyber-Plagiarism, Penn State Focus is on detection and prevention.

Students, professors, administrators address plagiarism, Boca Raton News

"... In a study conducted by the Boca Raton News, three out of five Lynn University students said they have chosen plagiarism over perseverance in the past...."

Telegraph | Education | Cheats are having a field day on campus. 03/17/2004

"When a quarter of students plagiarise, universities need to start taking tougher action, says Frank Furedi."

Plagiarism, The University of Melbourne includes university policy, advice to students, software solutions for academic staff, and strategies to reduce opportunities for cheating. Check out Examples of Assigment Cover Sheets, sample academic integrity pledges to be signed by students and attached to work they turn in.

Plagiarism & Academic Integrity at Rutgers University
An interactive, multimedia tutorial with a page to print, sign and return to instructor.

The Cheating Culture Weblog: commentary from David Callahan, author of The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead, Harcourt, January 2004.

Plagiarism-Proofing Assignments by Doug Johnson, Phi Delta Kappan, March 2004. Adapted from a chapter in the book Teaching Right from Wrong in the Digital Age (Linworth, 2003).

"Much effort is expended in education trying to 'catch' plagiarism in student work. Teachers and library media specialists are using various web services and techniques using search engines to determine if or how much of student writing is lifted from online sources. This article argues that educators’ time is better spent creating assignments, especially those that involve research, that minimize the likelihood of plagiarism. Sixteen suggestions are given for ways teachers can modify assignments to help stimulate higher level thinking and thereby reduce the likelihood of plagiarism. A rubric to evaluate the quality of a research question is included."

Online era eases path to cheating | The Arizona Daily Star by Jennifer Sterba and Scott Simonson: "Teachers now check student work with array of cyber-sleuthing tools."

Collaboration & Plagiarism

Assigning Collaborative Writing - Tips for Teachers
from "Collaborative Pedagogy" by Rebecca Moore Howard,
Composition Pedagogies: A Bibliographic Guide.
Ed. Gary Tate,
Amy Rupiper, and Kurt Schick. New York: Oxford UP, 2000.

Cheating Themselves
by Miriam Schulman, Issues in Ethics
V. 9, N. 1 Winter 2003, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. "Universities
must create communities where academic dishonesty is explained but not explained away."

Cite-Check: On Collaboration, Plagiarism, and Everything in Between, The New Humanities Reader, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. "Our goal, rather, is to help students navigate the gray areas that emerge whenever one engages in serious intellectual inquiry. In such an environment, where class discussions are exciting, peer review of student work is helpful, and collaboration continues on long after class is over, it can be difficult to tell exactly who came up with the idea or insight that eventually makes its way into the paper. The challenge, in other words, for students and for their teachers alike, is to develop ways to work together productively in the ambiguous world of lived experience."

Use of Electronic detection tools: 1. Choosing the right tool for the task, Recommendations taken from Good Practice Guide, Commissioned by JISC and written by Jude Carroll and Jon Appleton from Oxford Brookes.

"If the lecturer is worried about students copying from each other, they need a tool that checks for collusion. CopyCatch, devised by a forensic linguist and available for purchase (see resources in Appendix 1 (42kb)), requires a relatively short time to match each script with all the others in the cohort. Matches over 60% or 70% (depending on the task) are clear indications of the need for specific checking of those papers more closely. CopyCatch can only be used if students submit work electronically."

Plagiarism Detection Software, Its Use by Universities, and Student Attitudes to Cheating: A Report for the University of Sydney Teaching and Learning Committee
Tested Turnitin, EduTie, PlagiServe, Glatt Plagiarism Self-Detection program, CopyCatch Gold, EVE2 and WordCheck Keyword DP. Conclusions:

"There are a wide range of plagiarism detection tools and software available to universities and other academic institutions. Of these Turnitin.com appears to be the most widely used, and has been chosen by JISC in the UK for its centrally provided plagiarism detection service, and by CAVAL Collaborative Solutions as the program to market to all Australian universities.

Although plagiarism detection tools provide an excellent service in detecting matching text between documents, care needs to be taken in their use. A noted fault of the online services, such as Turnitin.com, is the inability to distinguish correctly cited text from plagiarised text, necessitating human intervention before a paper is declared plagiarised. This may pose a problem, or a barrier, to implementing such a service university-wide, especially in faculties where large class sizes are seen as a reason for not checking students’ work carefully for plagiarism.

The very fact that students are notified of the intent to use plagiarism detection tools to check assignments acts as a deterrent. However, information on the definition of plagiarism and how to avoid it should be made available to all students."

Can We Control Cheating in The Classroom?, Joe Kerkvliet, Oregon State University, and Charles L. Sigmund, Office for Oregon Health Plan Policy and Research, Journal of Economic Education, Fall 1999. "A new study on cheating by college students has found that diligent professors can virtually eliminate cheating on exams through a combination of efforts, including using multiple versions of the same test, hiring additional proctors and giving verbal warnings about cheating." Study On Student Cheating Finds Profs Make A Difference

Actions Do Speak Louder than Words: Deterring Plagiarism with the Use of Plagiarism-Detection Software, Bear F. Braumoeller, Harvard University and Brian J. Gaines, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"Warning students not to plagiarize, even in the strongest terms, appears not to have had any effect whatsoever. Revealing the use of plagiarism-detection software to the students prior to completion of an assignment, on the other hand, proved to be a remarkably strong (though still not absolutely perfect) deterrent."

reporting plagiarism from Teaching with Writing, The Center for Writing, University of Minnesota. This is short and sweet, a very clear set of instructions on what faculty should do when they suspect plagiarism.

Will Digital Plagiarism Detectors Become Commonplace? by Sonya Moore, Editor & Publisher, March 12, 2004

"Ask John Barrie, president and founder of iParadigms LLC, whether his company's services to detect plagiarism, widely used on campuses, are applicable for newspapers, and you get a confident answer before you're even finished: 'If they're not, I would be dumbfounded.' The Oakland, Calif.-based company recently played a crucial role in revealing that Central Connecticut State University's president, Richard Judd, plagiarized from several sources (including The New York Times) for an opinion piece he wrote for The Hartford (Conn.) Courant.

So far, the Courant is the only newspaper that has used his digital 'document source analysis' tools, which compare documents with databases of other writing including news sources and encyclopedias in an effort to detect plagiarism."

Plagiarism on NPR's All Things Considered
May 9, 2001

"Robert Siegel speaks with Louis Bloomfield, a professor of physics at the University of Virginia. Suspicious about student cheating,the professor designed a computer program that would identify student plagarism. The program identified 122 students whose work suggested cheating."