Queens College, in New York City, has developed a seriesof practical guidelines to help discourage plagiarism.
- Limit assignments to a few specific topics.
- Assign particular features, like "compare and contrast" or personal observation.
- Insist that students use both online and offline resources.
- Combine writing assignments with other related tasks; for example, ask students to keep a journal of the writing process in which they discuss their research, explore the topic and thesis, and even discuss any challenges they faced while completing the assignment.
- Set a schedule whereby students submit an outline, the introduction, portions of the text, research summaries, conclusions etc., by a certain date. Students could work on each of these sections in peer review groups.
- Ask students to prepare a list of references used, along with a brief summary of each and an indication of where the resource was acquired.
- Have students share their writing in groups, do peer reviews, submit writing to discussion forums, or even publish their writing on the Web. Broadening the readership of student writing heightens the risk that plagiarism will be discovered.
- Make editing a compulsory part of the writing process.
- Use class discussions as opportunities for students to share what they've learned as they've researched and written their assignments.
- Grade the assignment to reflect the writing and research process, as well as the final paper.
- At the beginning of the school year, distribute an integrity certificate that defines plagiarism, emphasizes the seriousness of the offence (and how it is counterproductive to the development of research and writing skills) and outlines penalties that will be imposed. Have students sign and return this document.
Source: Adapted from "How to DiscouragePlagiarism" from Writing at Queen's College. Used with permission.