Students: do you ever wonder how professors catch plagiarism? Following are some tips to avoid getting caught:
- when you copy something from Wikipedia, make sure you delete hyperlinks after pasting into your document;
- avoid copying online material that uses words you do not understand and that may be inapplicable for the discipline in which you are writing, e.g. “synoptic meta-scale dynamics” are not sociological terms;
- watch for tags at the end of phrases that may tip off your professor, e.g. “click here for more reviews of this book”;
- make sure you do not copy the formatting of the online source; a sudden switch from 12 pt. Times Roman to 18 pt. Cooper Black in the middle of a term paper is a dead giveaway;
- remember that professors read the course textbook, and so we will likely recognize text that is plagiarized from the book;
- know that we read other textbooks as well; copying text from a research methods text in Criminology instead of Sociology will probably backfire;
- note that people in the UK or Canada spell certain words differently than Americans; if you are a US student and you spell behavior with a “u”, as in behaviour, Word will put a squiggly red line underneath it, emphasizing its wrongness, and prompting your professor to google the entire sentence to find its online source;
- possibly my favorite: understand that professors will recognize text that is plagiarized from their own research articles (yes, I am THAT Sine Anahita)
Every single one of these tips come from my own experience with students. The very worst case I ever had was when a student told me that he didn’t know that the person he paid to write the essay was going to plagiarize it. Seriously?? I didn’t know whether to sob or to laugh hysterically. Maybe a little of both, eh?
Here are some sites that suggest hacks and other strategies to avoid being caught in an act of plagiarism. Of course, now that I know these exist, I will add these to my list of ways to catch plagiarism.
You can even purchase services that will hack your plagiarized work so that TurnItIn and SafeAssign do not work, e.g. http://www.cheatturnitin.com/ Do me a favor; when you purchase this service, tell them who referred you. I might get a commission.
The cartoon above is from this site: http://shaikhasker.blogspot.com/2014/09/academic-plagiarism-and-bangladesh.html