Plagiarism (for Educators)

About this Guide

This guide is based on a web page by Lisa Klopfer for the EMU Faculty Development Center titled "Faculty Resources on Plagiarism," which is no longer available online.

Detection and Punishment...

Detection Tools

There are a number of “plagiarism detection tools,” such as Turnitin.com, that are available for use in the classroom. If you decide to use them, it is important to realize that they do not actually detect plagiarism, but rather textual overlap, leaving it up to you to decide whether this overlap constitutes plagiarism.  (See Brown et al. below for a good article regarding the shortcomings of Turnitin.com.) 

iParadigms, the company behind Turnitin.com, has also launched Plagiarism.org, a site designed to educate students on plagiarism.  Plagiarism.org contains WriteCheck, an online tool powered by Turnitin that allows students to submit their work and check it for textual overlap prior to turning it in.  There is a fee for this service.  See http://www.writecheck.com/static/home.html for more details.

EMU Academic Honesty Policy and Procedures

EMU’s official policy regarding student conduct and academic dishonestly can be found at http://www.emich.edu/policies/policy.php?id=124&term=student%20conduct.  Additionally, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards maintains a page designed to help professors promote academic honesty at http://www.emich.edu/studentconduct/facultylinks/academic_integrity.php.

Punishment Options

Should you find a student guilty of plagiarism, you do have options regarding your next steps.

  1. First, you may treat the infraction as a classroom matter, address it with your student and if you feel it is appropriate, reflect it in the student’s grade. Should you choose this path, it is highly recommended that you discuss your plan with the department head, document every step, and have a third-party present when confronting the student. It is helpful to contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for advice in advance or minimally to notify them of your action.
  2. Alternately, you can refer your complaint directly to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and they will investigate the matter as an ethics violation.

Resources - Detection and Punishment

Bloomfield, L. (2010, August 19). Plagiarism Resource Site Home Page. Retrieved January 6, 2011, from http://plagiarism.phys.virginia.edu/

Brown, R., Fallon, B., Lott, J., Matthews, E., & Mintie, E. (Fall-Winter 2007). Taking on Turnitin: tutors advocating change.  Writing Center Journal, 27, 1. p.7(22).

Stoerger, S. (2009, September 30). Plagiarism. Retrieved January 6, 2011, from http://www.web-miner.com/plagiarism#tools.

Citing this Guide

To learn more about how to cite this guide, see http://www.emich.edu/library/help/citing.php.