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Plagiarism – how to prevent, detect and treat it Peter Chalk London Metropolitan University Invited talk (30.5.05) at Liechtenstein University of Applied.

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Presentation on theme: "Plagiarism – how to prevent, detect and treat it Peter Chalk London Metropolitan University Invited talk (30.5.05) at Liechtenstein University of Applied."— Presentation transcript:

1 Plagiarism – how to prevent, detect and treat it Peter Chalk London Metropolitan University Invited talk (30.5.05) at Liechtenstein University of Applied Sciences

2 2 Content of talk Extent of the problem Causes & reasons Prevention & education Detection tools Analysis tools Costs, benefits and penalties

3 3

4 4 Some headlines… ‘..dissertations sold on to students’ (THES 6/5/05) £10+ on eBay – copied from university web sites ‘US war on plagiarism takes 1 st UK scalp’ (THES 15/4/05) ‘Leeds uni lecturer… disciplined… plagiarising from a journal article for his 1996 monograph… dozens of cases in US’ ‘Bought essays fail to hit the mark’ (THES 8/4/05) ‘bought essays.. Poor quality.. 3 rd or lower 2 nd.. Original, hard to detect.. £135-£205

5 5 Some of the web sites we check... (‘best essay’) Thanks to Professor Fintan Culwin (London South Bank Uni) for material reproduced in this talk

6 6 Extent of the problem Recent UK survey (Plagiarism Advisory Service, JISC, June 2004) - quarter of students have plagiarised (9% once, 16% more often) - main reasons: too much pressure (time/workload) easier to plagiarise than do the work For staff – large classes, work involved in detection & formal procedures

7 7 Why do students cheat? (Culwin, F) because the task they have been set is too difficult for them because they are not capable of doing the task set because they are capable but not sufficiently organised because they are capable but want a better mark because everyone else is cheating because cheating has become a habit because they do not agree that they are cheating because the resources required are not available because the tutor connives with the cheating because they are not prepared to devote the amount of time the task would take because the number of assessment tasks set is unreasonable because they have devoted the time and feel they deserve the mark because their families want them to get a better mark because the institution is inhumane

8 8 1999 survey of US students by Center of Academic Integrity Duke University, 68% of 2,100 students polled said they had committed at least one academic offence such as plagiarizing (Quan, D "Universities combat rising Internet plagiarism." The Ottawa Citizen 16 Feb 2001).Center of Academic Integrity Problem could be bigger…

9 9 Why plagiarise? Bennett model (2004)** Plagiaristic behaviour explained in terms of: individual attitudes (about cheating, fear of failure/punishment) personal traits (goals, academic integration) situational variables (finances, academic performance, enforcement of anti-plagiarism rules) ** Roger Bennett (2004), ‘Factors Associated with Student Plagiarism in a post-1992 University’, BEST conference (& Research in Post-Compulsory Education)

10 10 Causes of plagiarism? Alberta University (2001) found that 60% of students interviewed could not distinguish between paraphrased and plagiarised text March of 2002 the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) discovered that the main cause of minor plagiarism is a lack of understanding of how to cite material from other sources.

11 11 Cultural misunderstandings? McKenzie (yr?) ‘discovered that students from other cultures may be prone to plagiarism because they actually believe that copying another’s work is not cheating, it is a compliment.’ Cited in ‘International students and plagiarism’, Bamford & Sergiou (2004) Investigations 2.2, London Met Uni.

12 12 Preventing plagiarism A pre-emptive policy? See Alberta University web site: “what faculty can do to prevent, detect, and report plagiarism.”

13 13 Educating students Explain during induction, in dedicated skills modules and in every module Sign a statement when handing in assignments Peer assessment of plagiarised examples Demonstrate tools (such as TurnItIn) Clear regulations in course handbook

14 14 Alternative assessment Good teaching practice – change assignments – analyse/critical not information-based – relate own experience – topical – compare/ evaluate Request 1 st draft – log – viva/quiz – meta-essay Caroll, J A (2002) Handbook for Deterring Plagiarism in HE, Oxford Brookes Uni

15 15 Detection Tools Long (15 years?) history in computer programming community (eg Ceilidh Source code plagiarism, eg Jplag, ( & MOSS From intra to extra-corporal free text tools: Web-based tools needed, eg TurnItIn (

16 16 Classification of detection tools ‘Classification of Plagiarism Detection Engines’ Lancaster, T & Culwin, F (2005) Identifies metrics and an approach based on what the tool aims to achieve Source code, free text, intra/extra-corporal, web-based - ~20 metrics for ~20 tools

17 17 Universal solution? TurnItIn US tool, offered by JISC in UK to all universities, compares intra-corporal, extra- corporal to all others in database & documents on web (using a google API-like engine) Example follows of four essays, two original, one mixture of two, and another a mixture of one with a web document

18 18 TurnItIn Assignment inbox – files can be submitted by students or lecturer (and can be marked on-line etc, like a VLE/MLE)

19 19 TurnItIn analysis of one file

20 20 Side-by-side – two matches

21 21 And in German…

22 22 Internet copies…

23 23 Specialised tools (visual aids) 1 st four by Prof Fintan Culwin’s team at London South Bank Uni (thank you!) See OrCheck – Originality Checker uses a google check of keywords ( Praise - Prioritised Ring to Assist In Similarity Evaluations – intra-corporal, pair-matching VAST - Visual Analysis of Similarity Tool – detailed pair- wise analysis, FreeStyler – style analysis – plus… Jstynalyser – whole text written by same person? (From )

24 24 OrCheck (google API) keyword hits

25 25 OrCheck extent & detail comparison

26 26 Praise – who’s copied who?

27 27 VAST – where’s the copying?

28 28 JStynalyser – style change

29 29 Cost-benefit analysis Prevention is better than cure, and costs a lot less, but Detection tools, with a robust electronic handin process Can semi-automatise the procedures of detection and Dramatically reduce the costs While helping to maintain academic standards

30 30 Finally, the penalties… How determine the penalty? Carroll suggests: the closeness to an award the extent of the misconduct previous offences the acculturalisation of the student the culture of the discipline the consequences of the penalty: (consistency within the institution)

31 31 Example penalty system Zero mark Fail module Fail, no right to re-assessment Fail module, suspension No award See, for example,

32 32 Summary Tools can become more sophisticated and ubiquitous (eg in next version of WebCT) Students will continue to plagiarise... Therefore, prevent by –Publicising policy & regulations –Method of assignment –Educating students –Using tools & techniques systematically

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