Plagiarism is concerning for colleges and universities (Curtis & Vardanega, 2016). Students begin higher education with varying degrees of knowledge on the topic of plagiarism; sometimes students have a limited understanding of the behaviors that constitute plagiarism. Gourlay and Deane (2012) suggest “a proportion of plagiarism is committed via confusion over how to integrate and reference source materials into academic writing” (p. 19). Moreover, some students might be unfamiliar regarding when they can claim an opinion as their own and when they need to use a citation (Ballantine & McCourt Larres, 2010). Being unfamiliar with the behaviors that constitute plagiarism might be a reason why students engage in this type of academic misconduct (Insley, 2011).
Providing students with plagiarism education, including class discussions on what is and what is not considered plagiarism, may help to combat the plagiarism engagement rate across campuses. Gullifer and Tyson (2010) reveal students feel that the plagiarism education they receive includes rules and warnings. Rules and warnings may do little, if anything, to teach students what plagiarism is. Instead, focusing on educating students about plagiarism may be more advantageous in developing their plagiarism knowledge.
Below are some ideas to consider if you are implementing plagiarism education in your courses:
Know your institution’s policies. Be familiar with your school’s academic misconduct policies. Having a thorough understanding of these policies, including the process for reporting and the location of necessary documents, can help when suspected plagiarism surfaces.