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Handling Plagiarism

Plagiarism connotes literal copying of another person’s work and using it as one’s own. Park (2003) described plagiarism as referring to the theft of words or ideas, beyond what would normally be regarded as general knowledge.

Different forms of plagiarism by students

  1. Stealing material from another source and passing it off as their own;
  2. Submitting a paper written by someone else and passing it off as their own;
  3. Copying sections of material from one or more source texts, supplying proper documentation (including the full reference) but leaving out quotation marks, thus giving the impression that the material has been paraphrased rather than directly quoted;
  4. Paraphrasing material from one or more source texts without supplying appropriate documentation

(Wilhoit, 1994; Brandt, 2002; Howard, 2002)

Why do students plagiarize?

  • They don’t take is seriously
  • They perceive plagiarism very differently from the officials
  • The time obligations are stressful for them
  • They have negative attitudes towards the course and/or the assignments
  • They prioritize their benefits to the risks of plagiarism

  1. Make students aware of institutional Honor Code. Here at the University of Tennessee, there are at least two places that might be useful to share with students that reflect our honor code.
  1. Talking frequently throughout the course about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.
  2. Tutorials: In some cases, students don’t have a firm grasp of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism. To eliminate any gray areas, a tutorial can provide clear definitions and specific examples of what’s acceptable and what’s not.
  3. Classroom Strategies: The final strategy for making academic integrity a visible part of your campus culture is by what you do in the classroom. This includes having a statement about academic integrity in your syllabus and talking about cheating during the first class of the semester. Developing cheat resistant assignments will help minimize cheating as well.

Download this “Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Work” handout for additional tips on handling plagiarism.