Plagiarism 101

1. Defining plagiarism

  • According to the experts at generally, it is considered passing the work of another off as your own and might include:
  • Using or copying another’s ideas or words without giving proper credit
  • Omitting a citation of another’s work
  • Improperly quoting other’s works
  • For a list of 10 types of plagiarism, see

2. Tips that a paper may be plagiarized

Summarized from

  • Essay is off-topic with a few relevant sentences inserted by student
  • Formatting is off where different pieces have been pasted in
  • References are from sources not available in our library or local systems
  • References are very dated
  • Composition is way above or below the student’s level of ability

3. Is a solution?

Instructors, try for yourself.

  • Turnitin is an online company that analyzes student work for originality and potential plagiarism. It is used at all UC and CSU campuses.
  • AHC has a subscription with Turnitin for use by faculty. Contact Kathy Headtke to request the AHC login information or attend a staff development session to learn more.
  • There are two ways to use Turnitin, with Canvas, and on the Internet through the website.
  • Most AHC instructors use Turnitin with Canvas because it is easier for both students and instructors. 

4. How to write assignments that encourage academic integrity

Summarized from

  • Assign a brief in-class essay early in the term to use as a baseline for comparison of papers written later.
  • Define plagiarism clearly and explain citation requirements with students.
  • Assign unique or unusual assignments that are more difficult to find on term paper mills, ie. local topics, different perspectives, and rotate topics each semester.
  • Use draft outlines and monitor student work as the essay evolves.
  • Require current sources.
  • Require an annotated bibliography in conjunction with an assignment.
  • Require different types of sources, like two books, two periodicals, and two internet sites.
  • Require students to submit printouts of source materials.
  • Vary the audience to use a specific vocabulary, structural approach, and research components.
  • Let students know you use Turnitin.

5. What to do?

  • Get educated about plagiarism, know the what, where, why, and how.
  • Get involved and attend a meeting of the Academic Integrity Committee.
  • Discuss plagiarism with students and colleagues.
  • Use Turnitin if it suits you.
  • Review and know the guidelines in AHC’s Academic Honesty policy and the Student Code of Conduct (listed under “academic dishonesty”) online in the AHC College Catalog.
  • Contact Student Services or your department chair for advice on process.
  • Be familiar with the Notice of Instructor Discipline form available on myHancock Document/Forms library.


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Last Modified May 13, 2019