Plagiarism Prevention Techniques
  • Assign specific research topics and change them frequently.
  • Require legitimate reasons for last-minute changes of topic (the student may have purchased a paper and needs a slight topic change to make it applicable to your course).
  • Require that written work be submitted in stages and that drafts be handed in along with final essays, research papers and reports. Consider having students include a brief reflective piece about the research process as part of the final assignment. This makes manifest the student’s intellectual progression and may serve as a deterrent against copying papers, paragraphs or portions from other sources.
  • Require that print copies of works located on the Internet and used in the assignment be submitted along with it. This affords you a quick opportunity to check citations even as it compels students to keep track of source materials used in their research.


  • Be conscious of changes in voice and writing styles in written submissions and conduct basic “Google” searches to detect exact phrase matches.


  • State in your course outline that students may be asked to defend their papers orally (a student who did not write his or her own paper will likely have a difficult time discussing it in any depth).


  • Make use of, the plagiarism detection software service to which the University subscribes, but contact the Office of Academic Integrity first for account details and instructions.


  • Adopt a consistent style when marking  (i.e. use a distinctly coloured marker or distinct initial or visual identifier). This may deter students from altering grades and/or comments after the fact.