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Prevention of academic plagiarism

Plagiarism has been a problem in universities and schools for years, and it has become more prevalent with the onset of the Internet. Search engines such as Google make it effortless to find thousands of works instantly, that can be then copied and pasted for a school article, paper, book and so on. Today, websites often provide whole essays on almost any topic, as a result, making it easy for students to copy another individual’s work and pass it off as their own work. At times called ‘paper mills’, some of these websites offer completed assignments or papers and others allow students to trade their completed papers for other papers. At the same time it became much easier to combat plagiarism for teachers utilizing online plagiarism checker tools.

But what else can and should be done by schools, government, and students to prevent academic plagiarism?

In science, a plagiarism may violate auditor regulations, employment contracts or university law in the sense of deception. There is a thin line between illegitimate transfers of foreign services and the legitimate acceptance of free or freed ideas, where a plagiarism is considered legal, but not legitimate. At the same time plagiarism is a confusing issue for both teachers and students. The scale to which students comprehend the magnitude of plagiarism and the use of citation is as varied as the scale to which schools and instructors address the issue and teach strategies to prevent plagiarism. Schools should strive to take a proactive approach by openly communicating with students about the plagiarism problem, remind students about the use of plagiarism checkers, encourage proper citation format, and create assignments, which promote original thought and by doing so, this will provide a trusting learning environment for both students and instructors.

Suspicious moments for the existence of a plagiarism are, for example, when the style of a text is inconsistent or unusual terms are used. You can check text passages in search engines in a sample-by-sample manner or use a plagiarism checker to detect plagiarism. While simple copy & paste of websites is easy to uncover (copy & paste plagiarism), transfers from remote sources often do not occur. These include plagiarism from diploma or master's thesis, for which there is usually no obligation to publish, or translations from foreign-language sources (translation plagiarism). In order to put an end to the problem, many institutes and seminars are now demanding a written explanation from their students about their homework, in addition to the possible examinations, that they have written their seminar work independently and have given all the sources used without restriction. Plus, the possible scan of the paper through a plagiarism checker is a limiting factor for students as well. All this is intended to create awareness of the problem and to counteract deliberate delusions.

Not only students plagiarize. Lecturers also occasionally make use of the work of their students or employees. Since the actual author is often in a relationship of dependency, resistance is rare and usually has no consequences for the lecturer. A particularly perfidious method of the plagiarism is to refuse or delay the adoption of a work for publication in the peer review, but to use its results for its own work.

In addition to this, the digital world has considerably changed education. Nowadays, the preferred means of research is internet searching and compared to conventional library research, internet research is very fast paced. Clicking from one site to another, cutting and pasting passages from the internet, forgetting where information was obtained and missing the context of a quotation are all examples of what can occur because of researching quickly over the internet. In the end, disorderly note taking and hasty searching leads poorly written assignments and bad research. Furthermore, web surfing encourages the free exchange and flow of ideas. Borrowing and sharing are important parts of the online experience. Thus, plagiarism whether intentional or not, is a negative experience. Without teachers who promote actively academic integrity and the understanding of plagiarism, students remain ill equipped on how to prevent plagiarism because temptations are everywhere.

Schools and teachers must change their teaching strategies in this new digital period. For instance, they should create and promote an environment of ethical behavior. This should start by teachers creating courses that improve the knowledge, abilities and skills of students. These courses should challenge students to learn, grow and develop. Moreover, it is the ethical responsibility of teachers to closely observe their own instructing practices. For instance, teachers who issue students the same assignments every occasion may inadvertently tempt students to plagiarize their paper. Students may see such assignments as easy to copy and therefore, find the easiest ways of finishing them; by plagiarizing, especially if no plagiarism detector is being used by a teacher.

Additionally, teachers should often request multi-drafts of their students’ assignments; doing so will discourage them from buying papers from paper mill websites or copying content. This will make plagiarism a lot more trouble than it is really worth. And besides, the teachers will be in a better position to monitor the students’ progress when writing their assignments. Also, teachers should thoroughly define and discuss plagiarism in class; students should not rely on college policy on plagiarism and warnings. Instead, teachers should examine hypothetical cases about plagiarism and have their students practice how to avoid writing plagiarism content. Schools and teachers should also ensure that students know how to properly cite information from sources, and not how to paraphrase sentences to cheat a plagiarism checker, when they are doing their assignments.

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