FAQs

What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism occurs when an author attempts to misrepresent as original, existing and unacknowledged material or ideas from another person, source or (in the case of self-plagiarism) their own previous work. 
Why is plagiarism a problem now?
Plagiarism is not a new problem. It used to be a local problem, but the increase in use of the internet means that billions of documents are now freely available and the process of copying is much easier. Students may confuse freely available with ‘free to use’ and fail to acknowledge their sources.
Why do students do it?
Following are few of the most prominent reasons:
  1. Lack of understanding
  2. Desire for a better mark
  3. Bad time management
  4. Different values
  5. Challenging the system
  6. Lack of respect for lecturers
  7. Denial
  8. Temptation and low perceived risk
Is the Internet responsible for the rise of plagiarism?
  • IT literate students are familiar with a cut and paste download culture
  • The Internet has made certain types of information easier to assimilate and certain types of assessment more prone to cut & paste plagiarism
  • The internet has allowed ‘entrepreneurs’ to establish custom essay businesses
  • Many of these sites specially target secondary education and even particular awarding bodies. 
Are Internet sources a bad thing?
  1. We can’t ignore the Internet as a source of information. We have never had such ubiquitous access to poor or non-authoritative information but neither have we had such ubiquitous access to good information and e-resources.
  2. Proper use of Internet content is the real concern.
  3. The openness of the Internet means that the content is more diverse than traditional sources. Different perspectives can be examined and important minority views discovered. It is therefore essential for learners to have an enquiring mind, to be able to assimilate diverse information, to build a case for the authority of a source and to question all information which is placed in front of them. You might say that these are the very skills that would typify a good quality education.
Is the Internet destroying traditional assessment?
  1. Well designed assessment is unlikely to be undermined by the Internet, however it is possible that certain types of assessment, that at one time would have required a student to demonstrate manual research skills, may now have been made easier by online searches and e-journal resources.
  2. Personalized or discerning assignments which draw on the skills needed to extract and understand information from the Internet and electronic resources can make the assessment both more relevant and rewarding for the learner. In this way assessment redesign can be an essential part of dealing with plagiarism on any given course.
  3. Well taught courses with well designed assessments are less prone to plagiarism by fostering a desire to learn through the assignment process.
  4. The Internet is starting to provide a more interesting means of assessment, using tools which students are familiar with using in their personal lives, such as blogs and social networking sites.
What is electronic detection?
Electronic detection systems (e.g. Turnitin) analyze student written work by comparing the submitted text with the Internet and/or databases of stored materials and producing a report highlighting content that is not original.
Why is electronic detection important?
  • It enables institutions to demonstrate that they take the issue seriously and that they are checking student scripts for cut & paste plagiarism
  • Electronic detection operates as a driver for students to engage in good practice
Why Turnitin?
  1. Turnitin is first choice for 450,000 academics in 100 countries at 6,500 institutions with over 60 million student papers processed!
  2. Turnitin is also the number one choice here in the UK where Turnitin UK it is the de facto; 95% of UK Universities (inc. Oxford and Cambridge) and the top five major awarding bodies use this award winning Technology.
  3. Turnitin is also number one in effectiveness because of the sheer number, size and breadth of the text databases against which each student paper is compared.
  4. Turnitin is number one in trust with customers because of the reliability and speed of paper processing and generation of Originality Reports.
  5. Because the originality reports in Turnitin are so easy to understand it can be used formatively as a teaching and learning tool.
  6. Although of ten categorized with other more basic search engine based systems as a ‘plagiarism detection system’ it is really a decision support tool - the tutor always makes the decision about plagiarism cases.
  7. Turnitin reports are a tangible way for staff and students to discuss the issues surrounding writing and research skills as well as operating as a deterrent.

(Available at https://bitly.com/plagiarismFAQ/