- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

Ways of Preventing Students from Submitting Materials Written by Someone Else For Academic Credit

While there is no magic bullet to prevent students from using the Internet in this manner, the following are ten tips to curb electronic cheating.

Use anti-plagiarism websites. Sites like turnitin may be fast and effective at catching plagiarized writing in student's papers. These services scan uploaded essays for lifted material from across the web. Many teachers require students to submit their own papers to the site before handing in a hard copy, thus eliminating tedious work for the teacher while also discouraging plagiarism since students know their work will be checked. While these websites are quite effective at catching kids who rely on copy-and-paste rather than writing, they will not catch students who hire a writer or buy unpublished content.

Academic Theft

Rely heavily on in-class material. When assigning a paper, use material from the classroom in the prompt. It is far more difficult for a hired writer to incorporate material from a class they did not attend. Instead of asking for a basic character analysis of the Montague family, ask students to compare each character to a member of the class or the school. It's highly unlikely that a would-be cheater will find material on something so specific, or a writer for hire who is familiar with your class.

Makes papers a continuation of discussion. Asking students to continue a discussion from class in their papers serves two purposes. Similarly to the above suggestion, it makes plagiarizing or purchasing an essay more difficult. But more importantly, it promotes critical thinking and allows pupils to delve more deeply into classroom material.

Write in class. This is probably the most effective way to curb cheating, although it does require more shuffling on the teacher's part. Instead of conducting the reading/lecture/discussion portion of class and assigning the writing as homework, flip the equation. Assign students to read a passage or watch a recorded lecture at home and come to class ready to write. This way, questions about the lecture or the writing process can be answered in class and cheating is all but impossible.

Ditch those worn out writing prompts. The best way to encourage cheaters is to assign generic prompts. Asking students to compare and contrast Salinger's vision of childhood and adulthood or discuss symbolism in Lord of the Flies is akin to begging them to cheat. Think up new prompts that won't be ripe for plagiarizing.

Random quizzes. To spot check for cheaters, give students a quiz each time a paper is due. Copy and paste four sentences from the paper they turned in and include a fifth from another source. An honest pupil will immediately pick out the sentence they did not write; a cheating student will struggle.

Read papers aloud. Students will have a much harder time reading someone else's work to the class.

Know your student's voices. Getting to know the individual writing voices of a classroom makes it easier to identify impostors.

Rewards for turning in classmates. Offer a reward to students who rat out their peers. Depending on age range, bragging to friends is likely to occur after cheating on an assignment.

Encourage use of classroom vocabulary words. Assign a list of vocabulary words each week and offer incentives (higher grades) to students who use them. It's unlikely they will find material online that includes these words.

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The Best Approaches for Students to Avoid Plagiarism and Student Misconduct

In instructional setting, plagiarism is a multidimensional and ethically difficult problem. However, its definition is to be useful to students, it should be made as simple and direct as possible within the intended context. Basically, plagiarism occurs when a student intentionally uses someone else’s ideas, language or any other original material without giving a proper acknowledgement of the sources. This definition is applicable to texts published in on-line, print, manuscripts as well as other student writers’ work. Students can prevent plagiarism and academic dishonest by observing the following guidelines.

Learning How to Use Sources Effectively

Students should embrace appropriate attribution of sources. They should conduct a discussion among themselves to concerning the citation styles needed to complete their respective assignments. According to Pecorari, the discussion will also help students ask questions and seek clarifications where necessary. Moreover, students can obtain solutions to problems they are likely to encounter when analyzing and documenting sources. They can also obtain perfect examples of previously written assignments via projections or handouts from their teachers.

Understanding the Purpose and Limits of Collaboration

Stern asserts that there are numerous advantages of class discussions, just as there are advantages of collaborating when writing papers. However, it is difficult for the faculty to discern in situations where collaboration comes to an end and plagiarism commences. Students should seek advice from their teachers on how to practice collaboration without leading to plagiarism. This is because the process of learning how to collaborate appropriately and effectively requires a set of skills which can be only acquired through a guided practice.

Understanding Disciplinary Similarities and Differences

In some cases, students may feel unsure of what they have learnt about the various citation conventions in their English courses and compositions. Students should acknowledge this as a reflection of the differences between the various disciplines like APA versus MLA styles. The students may also have a notion that their educators or rather teachers only require correct grammar and spelling and successive drafts. The best way to avoid this notion is for them to understand that multiple drafts and correctness is the norm for good writers.

Spending Ample of Time Learning how to Paraphrase

Students should learn the value of paraphrasing. They should do so by creating as many paraphrases as possible. They should seek the help from their language teachers for those paraphrases they are not certain of their correctness.

Avoiding the Use of Recycled Assignments which May Attract Plagiarized Responses

Assignments with broad topics are likely to result into plagiarism. For this reason, students are encouraged to generate sub topics from broad topics. This will help them create arguments rather than just reporting information. It is highly recommended for them to generated arguable thesis statement and presenting them to their respective teachers for approval before commencing the actual assignment.

Effective Time Management

Students are tempted to cheat especially when they are time pressured. Therefore, they should manage their time effectively so that they do not get caught with time. Beginning the assignments as soon as possible is highly encouraged so as to meet the set deadlines. In summary, plagiarism is unethical practice that should be avoided by students at all cost. It includes any effort that leads to reproduction of other people’s work. It is not only evident in writing but it can also be through collaboration. Though teachers and the entire management of institutions of learning play a role in reducing plagiarism, the core role and initiative to prevent plagiarism lies ultimately within the students because the consequences of plagiarism affect them directly.