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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Plagiarism Resources

"A fundamental tenet of all educational institutions is academic honesty; academic work depends upon respect for and acknowledgment of the research and ideas of others. Misrepresenting someone else’s work as one’s own is a serious offense in any academic setting and it will not be condoned. " -- University of Connecticut, Student Code, Section VI

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism can be a deliberate action, in cases of downloading or purchasing pre-written essays; or accidental, when a student paraphrases incorrectly or assumes that because the information is online it needs no attribution. Presenting the same paper in two or more courses without the explicit permission of the instructors involved is also considered a form of academic misconduct. Recycling papers addresses various ethical issues, including "self-plagiarism, " providing individuals with an unfair academic advantage, and undermining the objectives associated with a particular assignment.

Is plagiarism on the rise?
Plagiarism issues appear to be more prevalent today because of the Internet and the ease with which information can be retrieved and transferred onto a paper. A UConn Report (for download) indicated that prior to college, nearly 30% of freshmen claimed to have knowingly plagiarized and nearly 43% of respondents claimed to have unknowingly plagiarized.

Why do students plagiarize?

  • Lack of research skills. Many undergraduate students do not know how to search for academic sources or use journals and periodicals.
  • Confusion about how to properly cite sources, including inexperience in distinguishing between a paraphrase, summary, and "common knowledge."
  • Lack of understanding of plagiarism, copyright, and public domain. Students assume that material from the Internet can be used without citing it.
  • Ethical misconceptions which focus more on high grades and career aspirations rather than education and the learning experience.
  • Poor time management and organizational skills that lead to procrastination and last minute attempts to put a paper together.
  • Cultural differences among international students who assume that copying is acceptable.

Preventing plagiarism in the classroom

Instructors are advised by the Dean of Students Office (DOAS) to " take all reasonable steps to prevent academic misconduct. "

  • Include an “Academic Misconduct” statement in your syllabus, including:
    • clarification of any specific style/format requirement for the course
    • quotations from the Student Code, Part VI on Academic Integrity
    • how you intend to handle violations
  • Discuss plagiarism and utilize class time to encourage students to paraphrase and summarize as an exercise in developing their own ideas.
  • Plan a library session to familiarize students with search options from databases and print resources. Students can also acquire research skills by working with their library liaison and completing Research 101, an interactive tutorial for general research skills.
  • Provide guidance on citation styles and preferred formats and encourage students to visit the writing center to learn how to paraphrase and summarize accurately.
  • Avoid generic assignments that are easy to search online and lead to essays from paper mills. Test your topic by searching it on a popular search engine to see what papers and resources are available.
  • Assign short writing assignments early on so that you can familiarize yourself with the students' ability level and writing style.
  • Alleviate time management issues by asking for assignments in stages, for example, a thesis statement, outline, bibliography, draft and a final product. Refer students to the Assignment Calculator which provides deadlines necessary to complete assignments on time.
  • Include a point value for accurate citations of any materials used.
  • Require that references be dated within the last five years or less since many pre-written papers are typically dated.
  • Assign a research log so that students may documents their research strategy, indicating the library databases used, search strategy, and usefulness of the resources.
  • Require a variety of appropriate sources, including the library's print collection, scholarly articles from specialized databases, and reputable web pages.
  • Required students to include a sentence at the top of the assignment stating that they are aware of the Student Code and and not violated it.

Tools to Recommend to Students

Citing Sources, introduction to basic information

Bibliographic Citation guides for MLA, ACS, ASA, and APA formats

Citation Machine, interactive citation tool for MLA and APA styles

KnightCite, interactive citation tool for MLA, APA, and Chicago styles

Assignment Calculator, interactive tool that provides a timeline for writing

Research QuickStart, step-by-step guide to writing a paper

Plagiarism Tutorials & Tests

Research 101: Introduction to Research Skills, (U of Washington/UConn) self-paced interactive tutorial

Plagiarism Tutorial (UConn) brief introduction to basic citation practices

How to Recognize Plagiarism (Indiana U) tests paraphrasing techniques

Detecting plagiarism

  • How to recognize plagiarism from Indiana University
  • Unusual formatting, layout, and use of multiple fonts
  • References with missing or incomplete citations
  • Rambling essay, containing a few related paragraphs and extensive use use of jargon or advanced vocabulary
  • Frequent changes in terminology and style signal cutting & pasting
  • Dated or obscure references not readily available in the UConn Libraries or local libraries
  • Writing voice is considerably different from the student's regular voice.

Tools for Faculty

Reporting plagiarism

Detailed policies and procedures are available on the Division of Student Affairs- Dean of Student Offices web page. Please refer to Part VI and Part VII of the Student Code and Academic Misconduct FAQ links. The following information is excerpted from the Student Code:

When an instructor believes there is sufficient information to demonstrate a clear case of academic misconduct, the instructor shall notify the accused student in writing (and orally if possible). Normally, written notification shall occur within thirty (30) days of the discovery of the alleged misconduct. A copy of this notice is sent to the dean of the college or a designee and to the department head. Complaints regarding alleged misconduct by a student or student organization at a regional campus shall be directed to the Associate Vice Provost who shall determine the appropriate disposition of the case.

Related links

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