Teaching about Plagiarism and Designing Alternatives to Term Papers


Many institutions are providing students with classroom and web-based tutorials to help them learn to recognize and avoid plagiarism. Another approach requires students to document and submit their preliminary drafts, research notes and source materials prior to handing in their final term paper. Many college faculty and librarians have begun sharing ideas for replacing the traditional term paper with other research intensive assignments.

Refer your students this web site where they can find links to resources within the college and beyond to help them learn about plagiarism and develop skills related to researching and writing an academic research paper. The site includes links with tips and hints related to footnoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, using quotations, etc., provided by the ESC Online Writing Center and the Empire State College Library.

Robert Harris, an educational consultant and writer, outlines three main strategies, awareness, prevention, detection and provides specific steps to implement each. The prevention section includes specific tips for designing better research projects. This essay is a summary of Harris’ text, "The Plagiarism Handbook" published by Pyrczak Publishing.

This University of Alberta site offers concrete suggestions to help faculty clearly communicate to students that they are responsible for understanding and avoiding the concept of plagiarism. Other measures include incorporating information on plagiarism in course syllabi, classroom discussions and implementing alternative assignments.