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Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

A guide for students, faculty, and staff defining plagiarism and detailing how to avoid academic dishonesty.

Helping your students avoid plagiarism

It is important to proactively discourage plagiarism.  Many students attribute their plagiarism to ignorance or helplessness.  Engage your students on the topic of academic integrity and provide them with campus and online resources.  The following are some recommended practices:

  • Include a definition of plagiarism in your syllabus and require students to sign off on the definition before submitting any written assignments.
  • Design assignments that discourage plagiarism.
  • Provide students with links to campus resources on citation and writing help.
  • Make use of the library's instruction program in order to help students learn how to find, use and appropriately cite sources.

Several best practice documents will help you design assignments, including:

Identifying Plagiarism

  • The University of Memphis has a license agreement with Turnitin.com. 
    • The Advanced Learning Center has instructions on using Turnitin.
  • Pay attention to the formatting, style, and language used. Use a search engine (like Google) to search any phrases that are inconsistent with the student's writing or knowledge.
  • Note any inaccuracies that date a paper. For example, Madeleine Albright is no longer Secretary of State. If outdated information is included in a paper, the paper is likely not original.
  • Confirm the sources cited available to students. 
  • Check the citations.  If citation styles are mixed, they may have been taken from another source.