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New Mexico State University

Preventing Plagiarism

Design Assignments to Prevent Plagiarism

Discuss Plagiarism with Your Class

  • Include a definition in your syllabus.
  • Have students talk or write about the ethical implications.
  • Inform them of the consequences.
  • Model proper citation strategies.
  • Present them with examples of plagiarism and show how to correct them.
  • Require students to present you with copies of articles and brief selections from books. These should be marked or highlighted. (Students should be informed of this requirement early on).
  • Require multiple drafts, and that students include earlier drafts with later submissions.

Other recommended practices:

  • Clarify how much collaboration is allowed.
  • Avoid completely open choice of topics.
  • Avoid common topics (e.g., abortion, the death penalty)..
  • Use class discussion as a starting point.
  • Specify the number and kind of sources needed.
  • Use staged assignments, for instance asking for 3 newspaper articles one class, 2 Reference book articles for the next, 3 scholarly articles for the next, etc.
  • Require oral presentations where students must demonstrate understanding of the topic.

Include Library Instruction

Other Resources

The following books are available at the NMSU Library. Among other things, they describe prevention of plagiarism.

Combating Plagiarism. Carey, Suzanne F, and Patricia Arnett Zeck. Printed by the Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation. A very short but useful introduction to the subject of plagiarism. Especially useful for teachers.
PN 167 .C37 2003.

The Plagiarism Handbook. Harris, Robert A. Includes a chapter on strategies for detecting plagiarism, including several useful web sites for this purpose. This is a practical refresher for teachers looking to prevent and deal with plagiarism.
PN 167. H37 2001.

Sources Consulted in the Construction of this page

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Writing Center: "Strategies for Preventing Plagiarism". The authors of this site draw upon Hope Burwell, William L. Kibler and Jessica A. Keir, "Cheating and Plagiarism Using the Internet" (PBS Teleconference). April 2003

University of California, Berkeley (Barbara Gross Davis), "Tools for Teaching: Preventing Academic Dishonesty"

Iowa State University, "Understanding Plagiarism: Information Literacy Guide"

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