Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

Posted: 02/14/2016 in Assignments

CopyPastePlagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty and has been around for decades (Chao, Wilhelm, & Neureuther, 2009). In the digital age it is easier for students to access a wealth of information regarding a specific subject with just a few searches and clicks of their computer mouse. With this wealth of information at our fingertips, the potential for plagiarism is increased (Chao, Wilhelm, & Neureuther, 2009).

Fortunately, digital tools exist which can identify with a fairly high level of accuracy when plagiarism is detected in a document. Two of the top Plagiarism tools on the market today are Plagium, and TurnItIn (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2016). These tools can quickly check and compare a submitted document to thousands of documents online and stored in online databases. With some training, the instructor can use the settings in these tools to filter out matches of commonly used terms within a specific topic, so that only information un-cited or unreferenced are tagged (Brown, Jordan, Rubin, & Arome, 2010). Thereby increasing the effectiveness of the tool.

plagiarismThe instructor’s role is educating students about what plagiarism is, and give instruction on how to avoid plagiarism. This instruction should include how to properly cite and reference materials obtained through library and internet sources (Jocoy, & Dibiase 2006). In addition, the instructor should provide examples of both the proper and improper method of paraphrasing information. The design of assignments and assessments in a way that mirrors real-life situations will also discourage plagiarism (Laureate Education, 2010). Using open resource and collaboration assignments and assessments allows students to discuss and refer to what they have learned in a way that removes the temptation to cheat or to resort to plagiarism.

Designing courses with assessment and feedback frequently and often has been shown to reduce cheating and plagiarism effectively. (Oosterhof, Conrad, & Ely, 2008). Using course projects where students progressively construct elements relating to the compilation of the final project allow for feedback and assessment to be ongoing and reduces the possibility of plagiarism and cheating (Oosterhof, Conrad, & Ely, 2008). For all written assignments, instructors should allow the student to submit their work to an online program, like Turnitin receive the feedback from the application and make revisions to their work prior to submitting to the instructor for a grade. This practice will help the student refine their skills at properly referencing, citing and paraphrasing information without the threat of only having this review on their final graded work.


Brown, V., Jordan, R., Rubin, N., & Arome, G. (2010). Strengths and weaknesses of plagiarism detection software. Journal of Literacy and Technology, 11(1/2), 110-131.

Chao, C., Wilhelm, W., & Neureuther, B. (2009). A study of electronic detection and pedagogical approaches for reducing plagiarism. Delta Pi Epsilon Journal, 51(1), 31-42.

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning (2016). Top 8 Plagiarism Detector Tools for Teachers. Retrieved from

Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by adult learners online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 7(1), 1-15.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Plagiarism and cheating [Video file]. Retrieved from

Oosterhof, A., Conrad, R., Ely, D. P. (2008). Assessing Learners Online. Upper Saddle, River, NJ: Pearson


  1. Melvin Lowe says:

    Do you find that the failure to site your resources and/or just taking someone else’s work; which is the greater problem. I have found out right stealing work to be my biggest problem as educator. You typically think that in course like math that this is a common problem. I am finding it all areas to include the writing/research in technical education courses. I had a conversation with two students last week about a research topic in robotics. Wow, how did you both come up with using the same type material…. Well it caused me to think that if you do not put out pre-cautions, you will have this problem in all content areas. Thanks for sharing. Bests, Melvin

    • jordynheche says:

      I would have to say from my experience I have had someone steal my discussion post, including the typo! I also worked on a group project paper, one of my teammates totally copied and pasted their entire portion. I ran it through Turnitin and told them it was unacceptable and would not be included unless they fixed it. I ended up writing their section as they refused to rewrite it.

  2. Ilia ID Blog says:

    Hi Jordyn,

    As you mentioned, at present it is easier to find information on any subject, which increases the possibility of plagiarizing. It is so simple to copy from the web that it is possible to plagiarize without being recognized by students (McCord, 2008). Educating students about what constitutes academic dishonesty may prevent this unethical behavior. It is essential to develop clear policies to deal with plagiarism and cheating behaviors (Council of Writing, 2003 as cited in Simonson et al. 2012). I agree that students need to be taught about how to cite correctly and reference materials.

    I did not know about Plagium, thanks for sharing this tool.

    I enjoyed reading your post.



    Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

  3. cfentonedu says:

    I find it interesting to contrast conversations about plagiarism and cheating across generations, and student/instructor roles. The question that arises for me is one of whether it is realistic to assume that non-plagiaristic behavior is due to morality and ethics, or fear of the law. Thanks for the information you have provided.

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