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Detecting and Deterring Plagiarism. What is plagiarism? Plagiarize (also plagiarise): Take (the work or an idea of someone else) and pass it off as one's.

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Presentation on theme: "Detecting and Deterring Plagiarism. What is plagiarism? Plagiarize (also plagiarise): Take (the work or an idea of someone else) and pass it off as one's."— Presentation transcript:

1 Detecting and Deterring Plagiarism

2 What is plagiarism? Plagiarize (also plagiarise): Take (the work or an idea of someone else) and pass it off as one's own (Oxford English Dictionary, 2007). Plagiarism: The passing off of another person's work as if it were one's own, by claiming credit for something that was actually done by someone else – usually by removing tell-tale evidence or changing words so the plagiarism is made harder to spot (Wikipedia, 2007).

3 Is plagiarism only about text? Plagiarism involves the unauthorised or unacknowledged use of any source. So graphic images, works of art, computer code, architectural drawings and even music can all be plagiarised. Has the person who produced the design in the image on the right plagiarised the original on the left? (Newcastle University, 2007) PLAGIARISM

4 Types of plagiarism Intra-corpal plagiarism – eg: copying from another student on your course Extra-corpal plagiarism – eg: copying from an external source such as a book or journal (or the internet) Collusion - working together for mutual benefit but with the intention of deceiving a third party Autoplagiarism - citing your own work without acknowledging it. (University of Bath, 2006)

5 Why do students plagiarise? Genuine lack of understanding of what constitutes plagiarism Looking for the shortest route possible through a course Put off assignments that do not interest them Have poor time management skills The fear they will get a bad grade Like the thrill of rule breaking – everyone else is doing it Poor writing and research practice - referencing, citations, quoting (Virtual Salt, 2001)

6 What’s wrong with it? Penalises honest students Degrades academic standards, the qualification and the institution Future negative impact on professional standards if students are not learning required topics properly It’s cheating! (Netskills, 2007)

7 Do students see this as cheating? Virgil E Varvel, (Honesty in Online Education, 2005) writes that we live in a society that seems to be over-accepting of this downward ethical trend where most students do not even consider copying on a test or paper to be a serious issue.

8 Plagiarism in Literature Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, has been twice accused of plagiarism (Wikipedia, 2007). Author J K Rowling has won a court battle against a US writer who claimed she had stolen ideas for her successful Harry Potter books.US writer

9 Plagiarism in Music Madonna in plagiarism case defeat - A Belgian songwriter has won a plagiarism case against Madonna over her 1998 hit single Frozen (BBC News, 2007)Madonna in plagiarism case defeat Legal battle between recordings of silence by John Cage and Mike Batt (High Beam Encyclopaedia, 2007).

10 How is it done? Cut-and-Paste capabilities make it easy to copy documents in whole or in part directly from the Internet or from full text copies “Paper mills” advertise and are accessible through the Internet often offering FREE essays!Paper millsFREE essays Online auctions – eg: Ebay Newsgroups, message boards and personal websites Official sources – online journals.

11 EssayLab An essay bank in the UK ( offers 13 suggestions to ‘make a EssayLab essay seem like one of our very own …’, including suggestion 7: ‘You might want to add some spelling mistaks/grammatical error’s. Use a thesauras to change some of the bigger words into different big words …’ (Caroll, 2002)

12 Alarm Bells The level of language or the tone changes from paragraph to paragraph There is a mix of spelling, eg: UK and US spelling There are references to tables or illustrations not included in the paper There are no citations or bibliography at all (Robert College, 2006) Strange/poor layout.

13 Legal Issues Michael Gunn, a student at the University of Kent, may sue the university for negligence after it sent him an email on the day before his finals informing him that the plagiarism had been discovered and advising him not to sit the examinations. Gunn claims that he used the same approach throughout the three year course and was never advised that what he was doing was unacceptable. (BBC News, 2004 )BBC News

14 Detecting Plagiarism Web makes it easier to detect plagiarism: Powerful search engines, eg: Google Specialist detections tools, eg: Turnitin UK Many ‘anti-plagiarism’ resources online.

15 Openness Just saying ‘don’t’ isn’t enough Discuss plagiarism with students Demonstrate the poor quality of some plagiarised texts Teach general study skills – time management, good writing practice, referencing and citation practices.

16 Design out plagiarism Design questions and their wording to: - avoid general questions as this increases the likelihood that relevant materials will be available on the web or to purchase - avoid 'show you know' types of question (eg: what were the causes?) as this can invite students to copy from texts Include something specific in the assignment: - specific to the student eg: a personal experience - specific to the moment eg: a recent news item. (University of Leeds, 2006)

17 Assessment Issues Change assignment/essay topics Vary assessment methods Secure submission and return of assignment Be clear as many students genuinely are confused about the boundary between collaboration and collusion.

18 Prevention is better than cure Correct use of quotation and paraphrase, citation and bibliography need to be explained, practised, discussed and demanded … and repeated, reinforced and role modelled (Robert College, 2006) Remind students of the disciplinary procedure Where possible make systematic but random checks.

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