Why Students Plagiarize

Preventing Plagiarism

Making Plagiarism-Proof Assignments

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Modeling Proper Citation Strategies

In an April 2003 PBS teleconference titled "Cheating and Plagiarism Using the Internet," panelists Hope Burwell, William L. Kibler, and Jessica A. Keir, advise teachers to place the responsibility for upholding academic integrity on the student. They suggest that just mentioning plagiarism and its consequences is not enough. Instead, going over examples of what is or is not plagiarism and teaching ways to avoid plagiarism is most effective. Modeling the use of citations in your own work (overheads, handouts) also helps establish the importance and use of attribution (Keir).

Beverly Lyon Clark, in "Plagiarism and Documentation: A Self-Instructional Lesson," provides examples and guidelines that could also play a part in class discussions or can be adapted to group or class activities to this end. Clark addresses common misconceptions about quoting or paraphrasing. One such misconception is the assumption that quotations are usually self-explanatory, to which she responds: "False. Quotations should illustrate your points, not explain them for you. You need to do the explaining yourself and you need to provide clear contexts for the quotations" (292).

Another common misconception is that paraphrasing simply requires changing a few words; to this she responds: "False...Paraphrasing requires more than just changing a word here and there-most of the words and also the sentence structure [in a paraphrase] need to be your own" (Clark 293).

Clark also provides a rule of thumb: " soon as you've written three words in a row that are identical with three consecutive words in your source, you're doing more than paraphrasing-you're quoting" (293).

View Worksheet Suggestions

Additionally, the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University provides helpful practice worksheets for students ( Consult this site for printable resources.