Skip to Main Content

Avoiding Plagiarism: Resources for Faculty

Information to help you avoid plagiarism

Contact your SCC liaison librarian

SCC liaison librarian are happy to collaborate in providing support, instruction, services, & resources tailored to your course needs.

Contact us any time!

What is plagiarism?

A definition: "Plagiarism is using some else's work - words, ideas, or illustrations; published or unpublished - without giving the creator of that work sufficient credit.  A serious breach of scholarly ethics, plagiarism can have severe consequences: Academic professionals can face public disgrace or even be forced out of a position. In the business world, plagiarism leads to distrust and can significantly damage careers. Students risk a failing grade or possible disciplinary action ranging from suspension to expulsion."

Source citation: Stern, Linda. What Every Student Should Know about Avoiding Plagiarism. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009.

  Plagiarism is against the law

Committing plagiarism is a violation of the SCC Student Code of Conduct and Washington State Law and can have serious consequences.

Cultural considerations

Strategies for Preventing Plagiarism

Start by Educating Students

  • Provide an explicit definition of plagiarism (see example above).
  • Explain why it's wrong. (It shows disrespect for the creators of ideas. Students are cheating themselves by losing an opportunity to develop useful skills - writing, thinking, analyzing, organizing).
  • Note the benefits of citing.
  • Make the penalties clear.
  • See the "Recommended Websites for Your Students" box (left column) to find many excellent tutorials.  Some of these have assessments or final documents that students can print to show you that they have completed the tutorial.

Preemptive Strategies

  • Create a learning environment where investigation and analysis are valued
  • Discuss problems students may encounter in the research/writing process and offer methods for dealing with them
  • Give students time to explore their topics thoroughly
  • Require process steps (topic, preliminary bibliography, rough draft, final annotated bibliography, final draft)
  • Support each step of the process (how to refine a topic, how to evaluate sources, planning guides, in-class activities, portfolios, annotated photocopies, reflective progress reports)
  • Provide list of specific topics to choose from
  • Use unusual topics or topics with a twist
  • Change topics regularly
  • Require specific components (specific mix of sources, one or more sources from past year, one or more sources that you specify, personal interview)
  • Require an annotated bibliography (summary, location, evaluation of usefulness/credibility)
  • Require oral reports of papers or a one-on-one office meeting
  • Require an in-class essay on what they learned from the assignment, problems encountered, research strategy used
  • Tell students that you will randomly check sources in bibliography
  • Have students hand in a copy of sources used.

Recommended Websites for Faculty

The following sites have been developed with faculty in mind. If you would like online plagiarism tutorials for your students, see the box below.

Books in the SCC Library