Plagiarism Prevention and Detection

The age-old issue of plagiarism has become magnified in an era of copy-and-paste technology. The resources presented on this page are designed to assist faculty at Baylor University in preventing and dealing with plagiarism activities. The information on this page is summarized from a column written by Billie Peterson_Lugo in the September 2002 issue of the Library Instruction Round Table Newsletter.

NOTE: Baylor University is currently subscribed to the TurnItIn Plagiarism detection/prevention service.

Prevention

Faculty are in the best position to prevent plagiarism. They control the information distributed in the classroom and the nature of the assignments. Educate the students about plagiarism and then develop assignments that are "plagiarism resistant":

Detection

Even with prevention measures in place, plagiarism will not be eradicated. So the next step is detection and investigation. Frequently faculty detect inconsistencies that lead them to suspect plagiarism, such as:

  • Language and grammar that is too sophisticated for the student;
  • Inconsistencies throughout a paper with reagard to language and grammar;
  • Mixed font styles and sizes (as if a student copied and pasted from different online texts and didn't make the font consistent;
  • Resources unavailable in the library listed in the bibliography (however, in light of high-quality interlibrary loan services, this may not be a valid suspicion);
  • A bibliographic citation style that doesn't match the one specified (Chicago Manual of Style instead of the MLA);
  • A paper doesn't meet specified requirements (topic not on target, too long, specified resources clearly not used, etc.)