While most people know that plagiarism is wrong, there are many questions left unanswered especially with regard to what encompasses plagiarism and how it can be prevented.

A commonly used definition of plagiarism is the incorporation of words, works, or ideas from another person into your own work without properly attributing the work to them. Plagiarism can range from deliberate to accidental, from copying a paper to forgetting to cite work.

Plagiarism constitutes academic misconduct in the Student Conduct Code for the University of Washington (WAC 478-120-010-145) and can result in disciplinary action.

This page contains helpful resources and tools on this issue.

University of Washington Policies and Resources:

Resource Guides from other Universities

Citation Tools:

  • EasyBib & RefWorks - Both of these tools contain a personal citation database that allows you to import, store, and share your research citations and automatically formats your bibliographies into whatever style you need (APA, MLA, Chicago, and many more).
  • Zotero - a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources.

Instructor Specific Guides

Preventing Plagiarism:

Identifying Plagiarism:

Free tools (be sure to remove student names or other identifiable information from any submitted work)

  • Turnitin - This online plagiarism-detection service compares the submitted word documents of students to data found on the internet as well as many other electronic databases.
  • Paperrater - A fairly full featured site that also checks for bad grammar/spelling, trite phrases and other options while checking for plagiarism.
  • Google - There are any number of free plagiarism detection online tools available, but many aren't as accurate as simply using Google. Your search is limited to 32 words.
  • Moss - a free software application that checks software code for plagiarism.

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What to do...

  • Educate students about what plagiarism is
  • Scaffold and vary assignments to minimize plagiarism
  • Require copies of source materials
  • Use visual clues such as unusual formatting, different writing from previous assignments, and discontinuity to detect plagiarism