As an instructor, you can help prevent plagiarism before any document is ever written.
This requires a good working relationship with your students, so that you can influence them to adopt the proper academic writing techniques. The main goal is prevention:
"University instructors are also responsible for the academic writing of their students. They should, therefore, begin instructing the students early in the fundamentals of scholarly writing and set an example for them. They should ensure that those under their supervision properly learn the rules governing academic writing. Students and research assistants must be trained to recognize cases of academic misconduct."1
Sensitizing and Explaining
The following is an overview of didactic measures for avoiding plagiarism:
- Raising the subject: for example, by discussing plagiarism in lectures, establishing a code of conduct, having instructors set the example.
- Introductory lectures on project and time management: discussing sensible time-management strategies and efficient planning of academic papers.
- A good introduction to academic writing: training students in the fundamentals of scholarly writing and proper citation techniques.2
Changing the Scope of Assignments
- Changing the choice of topic: avoiding subjects that are too general; narrowing down the scope of the subject.
- Adapting the subject: For example, through current or regional references.
- Clarifying the originality of the work: how demanding are the academic standards?3
In order to establish the authenticity of the work, some additional requirements are in order. These additional features should be provided along with the work itself.4
- Giving thesis sheets and reference lists
- Oral presentations and thesis defense
- Portfolio on the writing process
- Adding a bibliography
- Requiring at least 2 or 3 current internet sources or books: This is especially recommended for high school students. The inclusion of required sources helps to ease them into the process of academic writing.
Online Plagiarism Software
- Adopting a software-based system for plagiarism detection and analysis: Let your students know that their institution uses professional tools for detecting plagiarism. Doing this will dissuade many students from engaging in plagiarism from the start.5
Establishing an Honor Code
An honor code establishes standards of conduct for instructors and students alike. By signing the code, both groups pledge to uphold the rules and duties laid down by it. A code of honor creates an academic justification for preventing plagiaristic fraud.
This method is widely used at American universities and has proven very successful.
An honor code generally consists of two components. First of all, it defines the rules of good academic practice as well as the conditions that constitute academic misconduct; secondly, it lays out the procedure for dealing with academic misconduct.
BFU Berlin provides us with a good, practical example of how to implement an honor code.6