Plagiarism & Student Cheating

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Articles on Plagiarism Detection

  • "Student Plagiarism in an Online World," by Julie J.C.H. Ryan, ASEE Prism (Amer. Soc. for Engineering Education), December, 1998. Has detailed examples of student plagiarism and advises to watch for context change, missing footnotes, and false references.
  • Can Tech Detect College Cheaters? by Margaret Kane, ZDNet News, April 5, 2002. Includes discussion of detection companies beginning to market to publishers to check manuscripts and to universities to check grant-funded research.

Examples of Commercial Detectors

  • Use one or more good search engines, such as Google and enter unique phrases from the term paper in question.
  • Eve
    Checks submitted paper against the Web. Search can be set by the user to "quick," "medium," or "extra strength."
  • Turnitin.com
    Papers are run against company's database and "finger-printed" for identification in the future; instructor gets a report analyzing the overall similarity to and use of exact phrases in common with papers in the database. For an article on Turnitin and Turnitin's founder see, "Anti-Cheating Crusader Vexes Some Professors: Software kingpin says using his product would cure plagiarism blight," by Brock Read, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 29, 2008. Included is a comparison table headed "Plagiarism's Private Eyes" of Turnitin, SafeAssign, and PAIRwise. Turnitin has several webcasts and white papers on its website, including White Paper, The Plagiarism Spectrum: Instructor Insights into the 10 Types of Plagiarism. The parent company also owns WriteCheck, designed for students to pay a fee and to submit their papers individually and get back a report on any plagiarism. For a negative take on WriteCheck, see "Plagiarism Betrayal?" by Elizabeth Murphy. Inside Higher Education, Sept. 9, 2011. The company also owns iThenicate, a service that checks scholarly articles for journals, etc.
  • IThenticate compares submission to material in repositories, from global publishers and syndicators, and more..
  • CFL Software, Ltd. (formerly CopyCatch) is a U.K. based product that compares whole documents rather than keywords or phrases.
  • SafeAssign. owned by Blackboard and free to campuses using Blackboard course management software
  • PAIRwise (Paper Authorship Integrity Research) is open source plagiarism detection software developed at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Plagiarism.com (Glatt Plagiarism Screening Program)
    Eliminates every fifth word in student paper; student re-supplies; error rate and time used to arrive at likelihood plagiarism occurred.
  • Copyscape checks to see if a website has been plagiarized.
  • SeeSources matches up whole text passages.
  • NOTE: There is also free perl software called "Anti-Anti Plagiarism" that may defeat anti-plagiarism software by taking "a text file as input, and produc[ing] an output with the same English meaning, but as many textual changes as possible, while maintaining grammer and spelling."

Research on Detectors

  • The Effects of Plagiarism Detection Services on the Teacher-Student Relationship as it Pertains to Trust, by Sara Rogers EdD diss., Northern Illinois University, 2009. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, Rogers found that while neither instructors nor department chairs thought the relationship was hindered by use of a detection service, students disagreed somewhat, especially those in a focus group. Fulltext available to UW-Madison.
  • Colorado College research, conducted by Satterwhite and Gerein (2001), included comparisons among the detectors available at that time.
  • Detection Tools and Methods. An online guide to the tools and decisionmaking process when considering them, from the Virtual Academic Integrity Laboratory (VAIL), University of Maryland University College.
  • "Online plagiarism detection services—saviour or scourge?" by Lucy McKeever, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, v. 31, no. 2 (April, 2006): 155-165 (available in Academic Search). "It argues that if online detection is used in conjunction with the many valuable ‘anti-plagiarism’ resources and tutorials available on the web, it really can become a positive teaching aid for staff and students alike, rather than a threatening online policing system" (author-supplied abstract).
  • "Plagiarism software: no magic bullet!" by James Warn, Higher Education Research & Development, v. 25, n. 2 (May, 2006): 195-208 (available in Academic Search). Warn predicts that students will resort to more paraphrasing."The paper concludes with suggestions for developing a coordinated institutional policy on plagiarism, and recommends that policy encompass training and educational initiatives to complement any enforcement strategy using plagiarism software" (author-supplied abstract).
  • "Systems for the Production of Plagiarists? The Implications Arising from the Use of Plagiarism Detection Systems in UK Universities for Asian Learners," by Niall Hayes and Lucas Introna, Journal of Academic Ethics v. 3, no. 1 (March, 2005): 55-73. Fears that "legitimate attempts [by newcomers to the 'community of practice'] to conform with the expectations of the community of practice often become identified as plagiarism and illegitimate attempts at cheating often become obscured from view."
  • "An Educator's Guide to Detecting and Preventing Plagiarism" briefly explains the difficulties with preventing and detecting plagiarism and provides a list of more than a dozen websites that can help detect plagiarism in student works. It is by OnlineEducation.com, no specific author credited.

Legality of Using Detectors: Copyright Issue?

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