Why do people plagiarise and how do we prevent it?
| Why do people plagiarise? ||What can we do about it?|
All people break rules, if they consider it harmless.
Make integrity policies and tools visible. Use Turnitin for submissions.
Writing under pressure can make anybody deceit
- poor time management
- unrealistic understanding of one's skills in academic writing
- in time managent of a writing process
- rehearse information seeking and academic writing.
Students lack writing skills (it is emphasized if they write in foreign language) and deep understanding of the code of academic integrity
Let students experience Turnitin originality check with drafts before submitting papers for grading
Developing writing skills during the degree programs
It is described in the chapter Writing is a skill that students need training in writing and information acquisition. They also need support.
How do we ensure this during the study programs?
It is good to remember that new students start not only in a candidate program but also on other degree levels. If there are writing assignments and Turnitin submission boxes in the beginning of every degree program, we can ensure that all students get familiar with criteria of writing and the code of academic integrity. It is also valuable experience about writing before starting a thesis.
Assignment types that encourage writing in own words
Ideas for designing writing assignments that encourage students writing in own words are presented in the KTH publication Guiding students away from plagiarism (Carroll and Zetterling, 2009, 42-50). Read illuminative examples of assignments from the guidebook. A summary of the ideas is compiled in the following table:
problems that already have an existing answer
- topics as questions like "Sustainable development"
- verbs like describe, identify, list, recount, draw upon
- "a question saying Google"
- questions from past courses
action verb like rank, plan, alter, invent > it stimulates interest that work has to be done
- "a question saying 'Google then think"
- new questions for each course
questions that make it easy to copy from other students
- if there is only one answer or few possible solutions
questions individualised with data or resources
- a common template, but a unique topic
- using personal experiences, experiments or activities
generic or worn out questions
spesific questions about more general topic
- local aspect
- the latest information about the topic
- specific data applied
assignments that require skills that are not taught yet
assignments that are divided into parts that train pointed skills
too hard assignments
a suitable challenge
- smaller assignments
- assist students how to do it
- a group task instead of individual work
open criteria about what aspects are valued
Writing process and tools for writing
See the chapter Writing Is a Skill in students' Turnitin instructions: