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Faculty: Library Resources & Services

Orientation to services and policies, and updates on new resources and initiatives.

Bastyr Plagiarism Resources


Instances of plagiarism should be dealt with according to the BU Academic Honesty Policy.  This is in the University Catalog, under Academic Policies.


Instruction and Guides

There are also a number of guides provided by the library to help educate students about plagiarism, and provide resources to help with correct citation and referencing:

(Note that the Plagiarism Tutorial has a quiz in Bastyr Canvas Commons - you can assign the tutorial and then embed the short quiz in your Canvas course to assess students' understanding of the basic concepts of plagiarism and citation.)

There are also many online tools to help students with writing and citing:

Avoiding and Detecting Plagiarism

Plagiarism Detection

There are many plagiarism detection tools available, but they are not a "one size fits all answer" to detecting plagiarism.

Detection software is imperfect and requires a relatively time-consuming interpretation of results. It is not a quick fix.

  • It will flag many false positives: they rely on text matching algorithms, so will flag content that is a common phrase, or content that has been cited and therefore is not plagiarism) 
  • It will miss actual cases of plagiarism as it can only compare student work to its dataset: as Bastyr teaches relatively unique content, the dataset that would reflect our curriculum isn't as robust.

Human detection is usually more efficient and appropriate:

  • Scan papers for citations - are the assertions backed up with a reference?
  • Read for tone-changes - is there a sudden change in the tone or voice of the writing? This could indicate poorly paraphrased information or a direct copy-paste
  • Scan for obvious copy-paste indicators such as font changes.

There are grey areas -, particularly with paraphrasing.  Plagiarism is not always intentional, and developing writers may struggle with small errors in formating, or being able to paraphrase sufficiently.  Unintentional plagiarism instances such as these are better dealt with as a teaching moment.  

Plagiarism Avoidance

Best Practice 

Setting expectations and base-line understanding with students

Using the plagiarism tutorial and quiz at least once, early in a program to ensure students have awareness and understanding of how to write and cite appropriately.

Consistent grading and valuing of appropriate citation

Using a rubric that explicitly shows the grade-value of well-sourced and appropriately referenced answers helps reinforce the idea that citation and acknowledgment is something that is important in every instance.

Expect and grade for citations and appropriate source content in all assignments, not just longer papers.

Leading by example

Ensure all content in class and Canvas - including slides - contain appropriately cited resources.

Link readings with a full citation, rather than a short-hand title (this also helps students find the article if the link breaks)

Tools for Faculty 

Citation managers can help format citations correctly, the library supports and recommends Mendeley, but there are other options including Zotero, EndNote and RefWorks.

Many databases provide auto-generated citations - but students should still know enough about the basic tenets of citation (author, title, date, publication information) to be able to check and correct the auto-generated citations.


Detection tools

If you suspect plagiarism - due to evidence of poor or no citations, or obvious tone-change, you can often confirm your suspicions by simply copying the text and putting it into Google.  Google will find similar content that's available on the open web.  You can also make use of text comparison tools, and free plagiarism checkers.


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