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Some Suggestions for Encouraging Academic Integrity
  • Discuss plagiarism with your class. Be certain students understand what plagiarism is. (If you do not have time in class, assign one of the sites mentioned on the Resources page so that students can review definitions.)


  • Teach students how to synthesize and paraphrase correctly. (Again you can select and assign one of the sources on the Resources page.)

  • Thoroughly discuss the honor code. (Add an honor code and plagiarism statement to your syllabus.)

  • Accentuate the positive. Emphasize the positive reasons for citing: gives authority to your opinions, shows amount of work you did.

  • Be certain that students understand the purpose of a research paper. Students should understand that their papers should analyze and synthesize work in a field. Review steps and procedures for doing a paper.

  • Emphasize process as well as the subject. Papers should have a dual purpose: to gain subject information and to increase information competency skills.

  • Mentor/monitor the research process. Require students to hand in various stages of their work, e.g., an annotated bibliography of first three, five, ten sources. Annotations would contain statements on how information would contribute to their papers. An annotated outline after a rough draft. (This also cuts procrastination which is a leading cause of plagiarism.) After students have read several background sources, have them create, unannounced in class without notes available, an annotated outline for their papers so that the basis of the paper is their own synthesized ideas. (Don't give them a date, but warn them that readings must be completed by a particular date so that they can do this outline.)

  • Make topics very specific and change them from year to year.

  • Make the paper/project an integral part of the course. Have students present/discuss their papers and findings so that their hard work contributes to their learning and their classmates' learning in the class. Make students teachers, responsible for topics you would have covered in the course. (Perhaps include in a test information they present or build on their topic as part of the class.)

  • Consider alternatives to the research/term paper. Annotated bibliographies, research journals, a literature review, a diary. (Talk with the librarians about possibilities.)

  • Have students keep a journal which documents their procedures and progress and learning as they research.

  • Follow up the paper. Have students submit a paper on what they learned by doing this project or put a question on the final.

  • Make models of good papers available.

  • Hold students to quality standards. You get what you ask for.

  • Make penalties clear.

  • Rethink your purpose. Doing some of these suggestions may take valuable time away from class. Why are you giving this assignment? Research assignments should further knowledge in the course and should contribute to students' information competence.

  • Make finding, evaluating, and synthesizing information required competencies of a college education. Many faculty members believe that students come to college with these skills; they don't. You may say, "Let someone else teach the research/writing process." But the process varies with the disciplines. Make sure your students know what is required in your discipline. Make information competence a college-wide initiative.

  • Take advantage of your reference librarians. We are here to help you in this process. Let us know what we can do for you.

    Reference Department 410-617-6802
    Susan Cooperstein x6832
    Joanne Helouvry x6834
    Patty MacDonald x6831



    Updated: 07/12/2004
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