plagiarism online

How to prevent accidental plagiarism in an online world


Students write a lot, and the issue of plagiarism (or, at least, wrong paraphrasing) remains topical. As educators, what can you do to help students avoid the problem?

2. Teach Referencing 

References matter in academic writing. Explain to your students that it’s fine to use citations or research results of third parties if referred properly.

Referencing makes paraphrasing legitimate. How to do it right?

  • Tell students to use double quotation marks for short direct quotes.
  • The same goes for up to three lines of poetry.
  • Longer quotes don’t require quotation marks but mentions in the reference list.
  • The author’s name is a must to include before or after the citation.

Students should understand that they can’t paraphrase direct quotes; otherwise, they become nothing but a poor plagiarist.

Reverse of the coin is, your students start using quotes instead of paraphrasing. Everywhere! Explain that direct citations work for a literary analysis because it’s the only way to refer to the original; however, when referring to scientific research, study, or survey, the trick is not to overload an essay with direct quotes.

A paraphrase is more to the point here.

3. Share Your Tools

Let’s face it: Most students don’t like academic writing, and they don’t stop at anything to escape your assignments. They copy work, ask peers or custom services to write essays for them, or at least procrastinate to the last and try writing papers with the help of specific tools.

As a teacher, you understand that. So you know and use different tools and online resources to check your students’ work for plagiarism and reveal the original sources of their writing.

The question is, why not share these instruments with students for them to check their work before submission? It might help them avoid accidental plagiarism in copies.

Tell your students about Turnitin, NoPlag, or whatever plagiarism checker you use. Reveal features and the UTP of those tools, explain how to use them, as well as why they can prevent unobvious consequences of plagiarism, and make it easier for your students to write their next paper.

What tools do you use to check essays and other academic papers for plagiarism? Do your students know about them?

Or, maybe you have personal strategies to reveal plagiarism in students’ copies and help them write original papers? Let us know in the comment section below!

Latest posts by eSchool Media Contributors (see all)

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at submissions@eschoolmedia.com.