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How to Work With Students So That They Are Not Tempted to Cheat by Having Someone Else Write Their Essays


The purpose of written assignments is for students to demonstrate their understanding and ability to analyze course material. This paper will review the top ten ways of preventing students from submitting plagiarized material for academic credit instead of doing their own work.


Jan 11, 2024   /   Visits: 334

One way to prevent students from submitting plagiarized work is to have an academic honesty policy that bans and defines plagiarism. Giving students this rule clearly states that plagiarism and trying to pass of assignments that they did not complete as their own work is wrong, and that serious consequences will occur if students commit this act. Having the rule is not the strongest form of prevention; however, the rule itself tells students that these actions are unacceptable. A stronger form of prevention is punishing students with serious consequences, up to and including expulsion from the university. The enforcement of the academic honesty policy shows that these actions are not tolerated, and that academic careers can be negatively impacted by violating this policy.

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Another way to prevent this behavior is to require that students correctly cite sources in papers using a consistent format, such as APA style. This prevents students from using prewritten essays in different formats. It also puts students in the habit of citing sources instead of copying ideas without crediting original sources.

A fourth form of prevention is requiring students to submit all papers to a web site such as TurnItIn, which checks for signs of plagiarism. These types of digital systems serve as deterrence from trying to make unoriginal work appear original. Another form of deterrence is to have regular in- class, handwritten essay assignments. If a student's assignments are drastically different in style, tone, and composition in class and outside of class, then this is a warning sign and a way for professors to detect plagiarism.

A sixth form of prevention is formulating assignments about a specific problem instead of a general concept. The specific questions make it difficult for students to use prewritten essays about broader topics. Similarly, another form of prevention is for professors to create different essay topics for each course instead of reusing the same assignment for each term. This prevents students who took the course last semester from giving their assignment to a student currently taking the course. An eighth form of prevention is to require a works cited page, or bibliography, for all assignments and spot checking these sources to verify their legitimacy and relevance in the assignment. Telling students that the bibliography will be checked for accuracy and relevance makes students think twice about making up sources or trying to copy an idea from one source but citing another instead to hide the plagiarism from the original source.

A ninth way to prevent plagiarism is to require students to submit an outline of their essay a few weeks prior to the essay deadline. This requirement makes students work on the ideas in advance, making it difficult to purchase a prewritten essay at the last minute.

A tenth way to prevent this behavior is to require individual meetings with students to review their progress on their assignment. This forces students to prepare for the meeting by doing their own research and writing instead of trying to copy others' work.

Sometimes the threat of getting caught and suffering consequences is the strongest form of prevention. These ten ways make it difficult for students to pass off others' work as their own and also force students to weigh the risk involved in committing plagiarism.


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College Professor
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