Strategies for Avoiding
Nancy Bou Ayyash Caroline Wilkinson
To assist students in understanding plagiarism, it
is important to introduce and discuss different
definitions of the term.
term for stealing
Students can Avoid Plagiarism by Understanding
the Concept of Patchwriting.
Howard defines patchwriting as “copying from a
source text and then deleting some words,
altering grammatical structures, or plugging in
one-for-one synonym-substitutes. If you submit
work that is patchwritten, you will have done poor
writing and will get a commensurately poor grade”
Many Instructors Think Students Plagiarize
for Two Reasons.
An absence of ethics
An ignorance of citation conventions
Howard argues that plagiarism usually happens
because of an unfamiliarity with terms and
Terms like intentional and unintentional plagiarism
explain why many students plagiarize.
terminology, confusion about
Intentional plagiarism-ease expectations,misconceptions
of information retrieval, about plagiarism
poor time management
We think teaching the term common knowledge
and the complexities of this term assist in avoiding
Clear examples of
leaders of fundamental
prominent concepts in a
Many Cultures Possess Different
Perceptions of Plagiarism and
Copyright than the US
• In some cultures in Asia and the Middle East,
political or religious authorities are quoted without
attribution because readers are expected to know
what texts are being circulated.
•Italian students viewed copying from sources as acceptable
and a mark of respect or flattery the to original author.
• Asian students, whose cultures have a more collective sense of
identity, have a difficulty grasping issues of copyright and distinctions
between individual and public property.
EVANS, F.B. AND YOUMANS, M., 2000. ESL writers discuss plagiarism: the social
construction of ideologies. Journal of Education, 182 (3), 49-65.
Plagiarism Detection Software and
Systems are solutions that have
been utilized before, but are not
• Criticisms about change of emphasis from
teaching about plagiarism and working with
sources to policing plagiarism
• Calls among several rhetoric and
composition specialists pedagogical pursuits
rather than punitive ones (Rebecca Howard;
James Purdy, etc.)
Instructors can Use Alternative Ways
for Preventing Plagiarism
Creating unique writing prompts where students are unlikely to find suitable
work to copy
Varying assignments or assigned readings each time the same course is
Assigning specific readings or materials that students must use in
completing their writing assignment
Breaking large projects or research papers into a series of milestone
assignments where you monitor students’ work at various stages
Creating an in-class writing assignment on the day the project is due that
requires a detailed knowledge of the project.
The Following Activities are Helpful in
Discussing and Explaining Plagiarism to
Story Film: Intellectual Vengeance
Expert Film 1: Credit Where Credit Is Due
Expert Film 2: Copyright and Fair Use
Plagiarism Discussion Activity 1
Authorship, Rights of Authors, Responsible Use of Other’s Work
Plagiarism Discussion Activity 2
Real Life Scenarios
The Primary Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism are
Paraphrasing, Critical Reading, and Summarizing
• Guiding students through understanding and engaging with their sources
can be achieved by doing collaborative paraphrasing and summarizing
activities as a class or in groups.
• Learning about and practicing summarizing and paraphrasing strategies
are indispensible research tools.
• Knowing the difference between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing
can help them to avoid plagiarizing.
The ability to Paraphrase is a very essential
academic skill that students must develop to
ethically work with sources without
Avoiding Plagiarism Handout and Worksheet:
Critical reading and summarizing are effective
strategies for students to avoid plagiarism.
Howard discusses that reading critically is important so students
progress forward from patchwriting.
Instructors can guide students through understanding and
engaging with their sources by doing collaborative summarizing
Ask students in 102 to employ the summarizing activity we
propose, and see how it helps their work to be less focused on
Effective Summary Strategies
Avoiding Plagiarism Checklist
What Constitutes Plagiarism?
Plagiarism Awareness Contract
Our suggestions build from Burkhardt et al.,
Howard, and Purdy.
These authors all discuss reading, summarizing,
and paraphrasing strategies to avoid plagiarism.
Burkhardt, Joanna M., MacDonald, Mary C., and
Rathemacher, Andree J. Teaching Information Literacy: 35
Practical Standards-Based Exercises for College Students. Chicago:
American Library Association, 2003.
Purdy, James P. “Calling off the Hounds: Technology and the
Visibility of Plagiarism.” Teaching Composition. Ed. T.R.
Johnson. Boston: Beford/St. Martin’s, 2008. 305-324.
Howard, Rebecca Moore and Amy Robillard.
Pluralizing Plagiarism: Identities, Contexts,
Pedagogies. Portsmouth, NH:Boynton/Cook,
Howard, Rebecca Moore. “Plagiarisms,
Authorships, and the Academic Death Penalty.”
College English 57.7 (1995): 788-806.
Evans, F.B. and Youmans, M., 2000. ESL
writers discuss plagiarism: the social
construction of ideologies. Journal of
Education, 182 (3), 49-65.