Designing a Plagiarism Review

Plagiarism

This page, compiled by Siobhàn Holland , contains a list of questions that could form the basis of a departmental ‘plagiarism review’.

Plagiarism Issues

  • Have you noticed a change in the incidence of plagiarism?
  • Have student attitudes to it changed?
  • Has there been a change in the kinds of sources being plagiarised?

Plagiarism Policy

  • Does the department have a policy statement on plagiarism? How does this relate to any institutional policies in this area (e.g. some compulsory element in each module must be assessed under supervised conditions)?
  • What is the department’s working definition of plagiarism and is this adhered to in practice (a workshop using anonymised examples from essays might be helpful here?
  • What are the procedures for detecting and punishing plagiarism?
  • What is the level of the burden of proof for lecturers and is this reasonable?
  • Do plagiarism procedures work and how might they be improved?
  • Does the plagiarism policy cater adequately for sustained, malicious plagiarism and over-use of critics, unacknowledged phrases etc.?

Communications strategy

  • Do staff share definitions of plagiarism?
  • Are these definitions clear for part-time and postgraduate teaching staff?
  • Do staff collaborate in the plagiarism detection process?
  • Is the plagiarism policy explained outside as well as in the student handbook?
  • Are students taught about plagiarism during lecture or seminar time?
  • Do students have the opportunity to discuss issues relating to citation?
  • Are there opportunities for building the discussion of plagiarism into the curriculum (in discussions of issues such as intertextuality, or Romantic concepts of originality, for example)?
  • What are the views of student representatives on the current state of the plagiarism policy in the department?

Curriculum Design

  • Do essay questions make plagiarism easy? How might they do that?
  • Does the exam represent a plagiarism ‘solution’? How would a reliance on the exam affect the department’s overall assessment strategy? Are there other possible solutions, and is the exam really plagiarism-proof?

For a full discussion of issues such a review might consider, see the JISC Good Practice Guide, to which this web page acknowledges its debt.