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Honor and Integrity System

Faculty Tips- Plagiarism Detection


Plagiarism occurs because of a lack of understanding about plagiarism (what it is, examples, etc.), university policies and procedures, and how to cite references (Guertin, 2005). Purchased and free applications are available for plagiarism detection.

Free tools include:

* Search engines

* Library full-text databases

  • Proquest Research Library
  • Expanded Academic ASAP

* Websites

* References

An overview of plagiarism detection software can be found in McQueeny (2006). Using these types of applications, faculty and/or students submit their paper electronically, which is put through a search of Internet sites, previously submitted student papers, and commercial databases. The extent of the search depends on the level of sophistication of the software. The results usually provide a percent of matched content, yet the faculty must still build a case for plagiarism.

Other concerns about plagiarism detection software including false positives, false negatives, questions surrounding copyright and privacy of students' papers, and the need for institutional policies regarding the widespread use of this type of software.

In lieu of the availability of this type of software, faculty might try a simple tool available through the library webpages. This tool allows you to search multiple engines without having to retype the phrase.

1. Link to www.lib.k-state.edu/reference.
2. Click iTools.
3. Click more search tools.
4. In the "search for" space, type in the words that appear to be plagiarized.
5. Choose your search engine, ie., Google, Lycos, etc.
6. Click Go.

If the content matches a reference, a new window with links will appear. (If nothing shows as plagiarized, choose a different search engine.)

Let students know up front that if plagiarism is a concern, you will do some further investigation. To educate students about plagiarism, consider reviewing the following websites in class:

*K-State websites on plagiarism

*Plagiarism presentations/tutorials

1. Guertin, L.A. (2005). Using virtual lectures to educate students on plagiarism Using virtual lectures to educate students on plagiarism.. First Monday 10(9). Retrieved March 29, 2006
2. McQueeny, P. (2006). Literate machines: plagiarism detection software. Literate machines:plagiarism detection software. Retrieved January 4, 2007.