March 8, 2011
Help students develop paraphrasing skills to help deter plagiarism
Although many discussions of academic integrity and plagiarism focus on failures in ethical reasoning, student problems with good authorship practices are often motivated by weaknesses in reading comprehension or skill in writing paraphrases (e.g., Roig, 2007). Students frequently have problems paraphrasing ideas from primary sources because their understanding of the original work is weak. Sometimes these problems manifest as an over-reliance on quotations. The student who has difficulty paraphrasing might string together quoted material to create a paper and contribute few, if any, thoughts stated in the student’s own language. Some students may attempt to disguise their reliance on quoted material by omitting the quotation marks (and, even worse, omitting a citation) and then discover they are now charged with plagiarism.
Use an in-class reading and paraphrasing activity to promote comprehension of source material and good authorship practices
This exercise will give students practice in writing appropriate paraphrases. It will also serve as an immediate source of feedback about how well they understood the original passage and the concepts discussed. When the class develops a paraphrase that is both accurate and original, misunderstandings of the original ideas will be clarified and corrected. The class will also get direct practice with good authorship practices.
Based in part on an audio workshop, Avoiding the Plagues & Pains of Plagiarism¸ presented by Caroline L. Eisner, Academic Coaching & Writing, February 1, 2011.
Roig, M. (2007). Some reflections on plagiarism: The problem of paraphrasing in the sciences.European Science Editing, 33, 38-41.
January 27, 2009
Promote academic integrity by educating students about academic expectations
Although some students know they are engaged in academic misconduct when they plagiarize work for an assignment, many students do not understand how to appropriately paraphrase and cite scholarly work following the conventions of the course discipline. Similarly, they may not understand what sorts of collaborations are allowed and what sorts of collaborations are forbidden on a given assignment. Practices that are acceptable in one course or discipline may be unacceptable in another. Students may be confused by the ambiguity created by these variations in expectations and conventions.
Instructors will experience fewer problems with academic misconduct if they clearly articulate their expectations for collaborative work and include a statement about academic misconduct on course syllabi. If students write papers for the course, they may need an explanation of the conventions for authorship, paraphrasing, and citation of ideas that are used within the discipline. Instructors can make use of a variety of resources for this instruction. Some disciplines include authorship information for students on a web site. Many academic libraries and departments host tutorials on plagiarism and good authorship practices that include excellent assessments of student learning.
The Pace Library at the University of West Florida maintains a set of tutorials to assist students with writing, conducting library research, and identifying plagiarism.
Indiana University hosts an excellent tutorial on how to recognize plagiarism.
Revised 03/26/13 lrg
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