Friday, November 28, 2014

7 Good Resources for Avoiding, Preventing, and Detecting Plagiarism

Thanks to an email from a kind reader I discovered that a couple of the resources about plagiarism that I reviewed in the past are no longer as good as they once were. Therefore, I have created this updated collection of resources for teaching students to how to avoid plagiarism along as well as resources for preventing and detecting plagiarism.

Education is the best prevention:
Purdue's OWL website is the number one place I refer students and parents to for questions not only about plagiarism, but also for questions about all parts of the writing process.

A Magical Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism is an infographic guide created by Kate Hart. A Magical Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism uses a Harry Potter theme to succinctly explain to students when and why they need to properly cite the sources of their information. I've embedded the infographic below, but I encourage you to visit Kate Hart's blog post about it as she goes into more depth on the topic of plagiarism.

Plagiarism Explained by Common Craft., produced by the same people that produce the commercial plagiarism detection software Turn It In, has a free learning center for students and teachers.'s learning center includes tips about avoiding plagiarism, definitions of plagiarism, and explanations of when you do or do not have to cite a reference. also hosts two recorded webinars addressing the topic of plagiarism in schools and how teachers can educate their students about plagiarism. 

Tools and methods for detecting plagiarism:
The first thing I do when I want to check a student's work for plagiarism is to do a quick search onGoogle. If you notice that a student has strung together some phrases that you don't think they've written, put the suspected phrase inside quotation marks and search. You may also want to search on Google Scholar.

Plagiarism Checker created as a project for the University of Maryland, is an easy-to-use tool for detecting plagiarism. Simply enter a chunk of text into the search box and the Plagiarism Checker will tell you if and from where something was plagiarized.

Paper Rater is a free service designed to help high school and college students improve their writing. Paper Rater does basic spelling and grammar checks, but the real value of Paper Rater is that it tells students if their papers have elements of plagiarism. Paper Rater scans students' papers then gives students an estimate of the likelihood that someone might think that their papers were plagiarized.