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:
- Lack of understanding
- Desire for a better mark
- Bad time management
- Different values
- Challenging the system
- Lack of respect for lecturers
- 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
Are Internet sources a bad thing?
- 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.
- Proper use of Internet content is the real concern.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- Well taught courses with well designed assessments are less prone to
plagiarism by fostering a desire to learn through the assignment process.
- 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
- Why Turnitin?
- Turnitin is first choice for 450,000 academics in 100 countries at 6,500
institutions with over 60 million student papers processed!
- 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.
- 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
- Turnitin is number one in trust with customers because of the reliability and
speed of paper processing and generation of Originality Reports.
- Because the originality reports in Turnitin are so easy to understand it can
be used formatively as a teaching and learning tool.
- 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.
- 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
(Available at https://bitly.com/plagiarismFAQ/