Assessment and Evaluation, Reading and Literacy, Writing

Practical Tips to Prevent Plagiarism

Practical Tips to Prevent Plagiarism

Originally published April 2017

By Meagan Gillmore

Students plagiarize. But they don’t create the problem. Often, teachers do. Some assignments are easy to plagiarize. Teachers need to create assignments that require more than Google searches to complete.

“Plagiarism prevention is important, but it’s not really the point,” says Kate Johnson-McGregor, a high school librarian in Brantford, ON and president of the Ontario School Library Association.

Teachers need to help students think critically. This means “building meaningful questions and then building meaningful inquiry,” Johnson-McGregor says.

Students need to apply their knowledge. Instead of writing reports about a specific bird for example, students can design a bird that could survive in an ecosystem they’ve studied, like a desert, suggests Johnson-McGregor. Students can build castles with Minecraft, and not just write reports about them. Projects where students have to create things can’t be plagiarized, and they help students think critically.

“In many ways, teachers are the engineers of plagiarism by giving assignments that are either way too difficult or way too boring,” says Neil Andersen, president of the Association of Media Literacy in Ontario and a former classroom teacher.

Some subjects, like English, lend themselves more easily to plagiarism. Thousands of students write essays analyzing Shakespearean plays each year. Annual papers on Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth, however, can become opportunities for both teachers and students to think critically and show some creativity. Before giving an assignment, teachers need to reconsider how they teach the material. “Oftentimes, English teachers treat literature like it’s clockwork,” says Andersen. “It’s almost like dissecting a frog.”

People don’t read Shakespeare’s plays centuries after his death to study iambic pentameter. People are attracted to literature for the “life connection” they feel with the characters as well as the different worldviews and perspectives literature exposes them to, says Andersen. Teachers need to focus on these connections in their teaching, and their assessment. Students can compare how classic literature and modern entertainment address similar themes. They can analyze characters and then discuss how they relate to them. Personal reflections can’t be plagiarized, and these types of questions show students are reflecting on what they’re studying. “We want to get students to think originally,” Andersen says, “and not originally to the world, but originally to the student.”

Keeping students engaged in assignments makes them less likely to plagiarize. Teachers can fight boredom by crafting thought provoking assessments. When Andersen was teaching, he and his students often worked together to develop assignments. But assignments also need to be appropriate to the students’ skill level. They need to build on what students already know, while challenging them to learn more.

Many students plagiarize because they’re overwhelmed. They don’t believe they can do the assignment well, says Moira Ekdahl, a teacher-librarian in Vancouver, BC. They plagiarise because they’re scared they can’t do the work on their own.

The consequences of being caught plagiarizing—failing an assignment, or in some cases, possibly having to change schools—may make things even more stressful. In college and university, plagiarism is often viewed as the worst academic offense a student may commit.

“We have the tendency to impose that set of understandings on students in school without being very forgiving about that,” says Ekdahl. Students may not have the confidence to admit they don’t understand an assignment. They may struggle with citing sources or paraphrasing other people’s ideas properly. Teachers need to explain these skills well, and “be prepared for the fact that kids won’t get it right for a while. It takes practice,” she says.

Teachers need to teach proper citation methods. (Johnson-McGregor suggests teachers introduce students to electronic resources that can provide proper citations.) Students need to learn how to find and identify credible sources online. They may not know how to figure out the sources of information they read on the Internet. Digital literacy is key.

Intellectual property is hard to explain. A culture of downloading, file-sharing, and mash-ups can make it even more confusing. Students are encouraged to make things, but they aren’t often taught about copyright or how to properly credit sources.

The idea of owning an idea is “nebulous,” says Johnson-McGregor. She compares it to sharing. Citing sources is similar to asking for permission to borrow something that belongs to someone else, she says.

Teachers need to work with students while they’re researching assignments. Students may struggle to explain what they’ve learned in their own words. Teachers can ask students to write about what they’re researching, or explain their project to teachers, says Johnson-McGregor. This gives students opportunities to practise paraphrasing, and helps teachers determine who needs more help.

Personal connections are key, even if a teacher suspects plagiarism. Teachers don’t need tools like turnitin.com to detect it. They will recognize if a student is submitting work that differs from previous assignments. A quick Google search will determine if they’ve copied someone else’s work.

Some educators advise against using turnitin.com, saying it focuses too much on catching students doing something wrong, and not enough on prevention or helping students learn from their mistakes. “It is not a bad thing,” says Johnson-McGregor of the site. “But I think that the focus is kind of like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.”

Working with students can help prevent plagiarism, but it’s also beneficial when plagiarism occurs. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to give students zero for plagiarising assignments. There are other possible responses, like asking them to redo do the assignment. “It’s about giving them more chances to get it right and more practice,” says Ekdahl.

When Johnson-McGregor was a classroom teacher, she worked closely with students who had plagiarized to produce better assignments. This could be a blessing and a curse. It gave students an opportunity to do something again and fix their mistakes—a rare opportunity in life, she says.

To do that, however, meant spending a lot of time with her. “That sometimes is more torture than just having done it in the first place,” Johnson-McGregor says.


Meagan Gillmore is a freelance writer in Toronto.

1 comment on "Practical Tips to Prevent Plagiarism"

  1. Drake Frost
    Reply

    In order not to have plagiarism in the works, you need to do them yourself. Many take material on the Internet or from other students and copy it. But you need to take the material, analyze it and write your own work. Use completed work as an example. For example, math objective in college can be very difficult. On the Internet, you can find solutions for almost any task, but it is not necessary to take someone else’s work and give out for your work! This can be easily verified. Then we can solve the problems of plagiarism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

fastin diet pills cvs fat burning diet pills two new diet pills miley cyrus diet pills dr oz tmz biggest loser weight loss pills maria doroshina diet pills weight loss pills promoted on y107 keto 365 pills stopping birth control pills cause weight loss keto diet pills vitamin world working out with weight loss pills rapid fast weight loss pills does amerigroup cover weight loss pills greek weight loss pills natural plants do keto diet pills interact with antidepressants metformin weight loss pills keto pills invoice velosity city dr oz fat burning pill keto burn pills contains how to lose weight fast on metformin perricone md diet pills cantheapist get me diet pills diet pills effects divine fetch my diet pills can i eat olive oil on alli diet pills slim fit x diet pills adipex diet pills generic name are the keto premium diet pills for real and safe insulin residence diet pills side aefectsd from phen diet pills diet pills that start with a p diet pills with no caffeine apifix diet pills amazon pure garcinia cambogia extract diet pills diet pills that were for diabetics real ephedra diet pills best diet pills you can buy online shark tank keto wight loss pills

enzyte male enhancement herbal pills penis cream or pills more effective top ten best male enhancement pills buy male enhancement pills from a sex store epm male enhancement pills nitric oxide pills gnc whts the best male enhancement pills erection pills and seizures erectile dysfunction solutions pills viagara amazon male sexual enhancement pills do heartburn pills cause erectile dysfunction fda gov banned sex pills otc erection pills quora the absolute best male enhancement pills power erection pills review sexual enhancement pills dold at gas ststion penis enlargement pills scam trump ed pills how to make your penis grow without pills or sex birth control pills sex during placebo week sex enhancement pills for bigger penis best tablet for penis enlargement penis high sensation pills male enhancement pills advertised on facebook penis enlarging pills amazon she ran out of pills the day we had sex pills for keeping you hard male enhancement pills reviews reddit pills to make you last longer are there over counter ed pills sexual enhancement pills walmart nitrate supplement side effects how to last longer without pills any generic ed pills hiw many pregnancy pills do i take after sex pills that actually make penis grow all night long sex pills xxxplosion male enhancement pills reviews

scary 3d pop up dino cards 3 amazon gift card pop up pop up cards for friends pop up eid card templates pop up cards uk holiday pop up card simple marching band pop up cards senior gift pop up card tv gif printable pop out fish cards pop up card websites how to make heart pop up cards black card for pop up parties pop up snowflake card love pop cards las vegas diy valentine card pop up christmas candle pop up card template free merry christmas pop up card pop christmas cards swim pop up card unicorn pop up card pop up card 3d template printable free winter pop up box cards childs pop up new years eve card triangle pop up cards pop up card project for kids rocket pop up card toolbox pop up card and svgcuts lion king pop up card svg how to make a winnie the pooh pop up card youtube frozen birthday invitations cards how tro make a pop up card wizard of oz pop up card pop up card basics taylor corporation pop up cards thoughtfulls popup cards pop up card template cat birthday card 3d pop up amazon gift card pop up box

highest quality cbd gummies cbd gummies 500mg high hightech cbd gummies price how do u eat cbd gummies order cbd gummies online what age can u buy cbd gummies groupon gummies cbd how to take cbd oil for cancer the chive cbd gummies plus cbd oil gummies reddit cbd gummies kalamazoo adding cbd gummies to shopify swuare cbd gummies cbd gummies tucson natures way creating better days cbd oil gummies yum yum cbd gummies review 12 mg cbd gummies cbd gummies in cda idaho how much cbd can i have per day gummies cbd dosage for alzheimer s cherry bomb cbd gummies elf gifts green bay cbd gummies strongest and best value cbd gummies cbd gummies with thc near me chronic candy cbd gummies cbd oil for vaping stone cbd gummies sellers cbd gummies for sale on amazon what is better cbd oil or gummies cbd gummies paypal cbd for gerd cbd gummies benefits cbd for appetite stimulation lipt cbd gummies cbd or thc for migraines cbd or thc for anxiety is hemp oil or cbd oil better for anxiety royal cbd gummies