What Is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism Prevention

Plagiarism Prevention: Sites and Citing Sources for Detection and Prevention

Today there are a number of sites dedicated to plagiarism prevention, including those selling plagiarism detection software or providing free online services. The Plagiarism Prevention Web Guide is full of plagiarism prevention resources to help teachers, writers and editors do their work more efficiently, including free tools that can explain citations and even generate citations so that writers can avoid plagiarism in any form.

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What Is Plagiarism?

Because of the serious consequences you could face if you're found guilty of plagiarizing another's work, it's important that you fully understand the definition of plagiarism. Use the Web to find a clear answer to the question, "What is plagiarism?"

Insights for Understanding What Plagiarism Is

  • University library Web sites often have good resources on plagiarism. Most are available to the public. Try your alma mater or a local university.
  • Just because something is published on the Web does not mean that it is free for anyone to copy. Most material online is copyrighted and must be cited or it is considered plagiarized. If you're putting your own content on the Web, learn how to ensure nobody is swiping it in the "How to Detect Plagiarism" section of this guide.
  • Copyright doesn't just apply to the written word: images, songs and other media fall under copyright. For information about free use of other forms of media, try the findingDulcinea Free-use Media Web Guide.

Top Sites for Understanding What Plagiarism Is

Plagiarism.org offers lots of information about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. Look for resources for teachers (such as printable lesson plans and handouts) to help teach students about plagiarism.

The Pennsylvania State University offers resources to help you understand, prevent and detect plagiarism, and has links to plagiarism policy and citation guidelines.

VirtualSalt has a plagiarism page on which it outlines strategies for teacher awareness of plagiarism, prevention and detection. Information is presented thoughtfully and clearly. Though the page is geared toward college-age students, the information is applicable to younger students as well.

Plagiarized.com was designed “to help instructors and parents better understand how the Internet can facilitate plagiarism,” and it does so by providing detection tips, research advice, prevention resources and more.

K12Academics has a brief overview of plagiarism in elementary schools, including specifics about the Web and types of plagiarism.

Scholastic provides an article on the evolution of cheating and its psychological and rational underpinnings for modern students. It provides tips for teachers and parents on keeping students honest in their research.

The Educational Testing Service and Ad Council presents background on cheating in education, along with a factsheet.
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How to Cite a Source

One of the best ways to avoid plagiarism is to keep track of all of your research and cite, cite, cite when you reference it. Online you'll find resources that explain the different types of citation, examples of how to cite a source correctly, and tools that can create citations for you.

Insights for How to Cite a Source

  • When in doubt, it's better to provide too much citation information than too little.
  • If you're creating citations for a class, check with your teacher or professor to see what citation style you should include in your work. Once you know what she prefers, consider purchasing that particular style manual, or using the online version.
  • There are a few different styles of citation that are commonly used, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian and CSE. Below you'll find resources to help you create citations using one (or all) of these formats.

Top Sites for How to Cite a Source

For an overview of citation ...

A Research Guide
provides an overview of the different types of citations and how to cite research correctly.

The University of California, Berkeley Library
has a guide on citation that provides all the information you need to cite your sources according to the conventions of popular styles, such as APA and MLA.

The Chicago Manual of Style offers the "Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide," with examples of how to cite different sources. Learn how to cite Web pages, blog entries, forum discussions or e-mail messages.
For sites that create (or help you create) citations ... 

EasyBib has links to pages with the latest citation information. Students can also type in citation information for the free MLA online citation builder.
North Carolina State University provides a Citation Builder that aids students in creating citations.

Son of Citation Machine helps you create citations for a bibliography in MLA, APA, Chicago or Turabian style. It's useful if you're unsure about what to put in quotes, how to order your information or any other part of citing a source.

KnightCite is a project from the Hekman Library at Calvin College that helps you create a bibliography in APA, MLA or Chicago style.

SourceAid allows you to create citations for CSE as well as Chicago, APA and MLA styles.
To link to a particular section of text on a Web site ... 
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How to Detect Plagiarism

The following sites offer tips on learning how to detect plagiarism, as well as information on cheat sites and advice on Web site evaluation. If you have original content online, you'll also learn how to discover if someone is copying your material.

Insights for How to Detect Plagiarism

  • If a student has copied text from a Web site, the easiest way to prove it is to search for the suspicious bit of text using a search engine. To do this, put the text in quotes: "Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right." (This one is actually from Henry Ford.)
  • Many of the free plagiarism-detection services only search the documents or Web pages that you specify. In general, the plagiarism-detection software that searches the entire Internet for copied information must be purchased.
  • If you think you've received work that has been copied, or if a detection service alerts you to this possibility, be sure to confirm that the attribution is actually missing (sometimes plagiarism-detection software won't be able to tell the difference). Also check to make sure that the work in question isn't, in fact, another copy of the person's work from a personal or school Web site.

Top Sites for How to Detect Plagiarism

For information on detecting plagiarism ...
For plagiarism detection services ... 
To detect plagiarism of Web pages ... 
Plagiarism Checker is search-engine based service that helps users learn if text has been plagiarized from an existing Web site.

Copyscape is a useful tool for publishers of web content and for instructors. This site helps you find copies of Web content . Enter your URL (or the URL of an online piece of student work) into Copyscape and it searches the Web for copies of the page. Remember, Copyscape can find duplicates of pages, it is up to you to determine which version is the original work and which version is copied.
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