Responding to Plagiarism
The University of Pennsylvania has an Office of Student Conduct that "deals with alleged instances of academic dishonesty and other student misconduct, in order to determine how best to resolve these allegations consistent with the goals and mission of the University as an educational and intellectual community." You may want to schedule a confidential consultation with the OSC before making any decisions. The Guidelines for Faculty on Academic Integrity provides an in-depth explanation of how to handle academic integrity issues.
Locating Plagiarized Sources
Much plagiarism involves copying full-text resources that are found on the free Internet or on Library databases. Librarians and members of the Office of Student Conduct are available to help locate the original source. Although many students plagiarize from the Internet, it is not uncommon for students to plagiarize from physical books and articles. Keep in mind that the location strategies listed below are unlikely to detect plagiarism from physical resources.
Online Scholarly Resources
Some scholarly databases provide full-text material that is easy to plagiarize. Search for materials by searching full-text databases with unusual phrases. Unlike Internet search engines, Library resources do not always search for words throughout an entire document by default.
Turnitin is a plagiarism tool available through Canvas that checks student work against a number of online sources. Turnitin reports can be used to detect plagiarism and also shared with students as a teaching tool.
Turnitin checks student papers against the current and archived internet, scholarly databases, a global repository of student papers, and a Penn-only repository of student papers.
For directions on how to use this tool, see the Turnitin for Instructors documentation.
Many students never develop good research skills. These students are often unaware of research tools or don't understand the expectations of scholarly disciplines. Assignments that teach research skills can help students gain confidence and facility in using research tools, a better understanding of disciplinary criteria, and a sense of how scholars use resources in their research.
What is a Research Skills Assignment?
The most common research skills assignment is the research paper or project, which helps students learn to synthesize, analyze and interpret information using appropriate disciplinary content and methodology. In and of themselves, however, research papers may not help students learn the many intricacies of research that go into completing a good paper.
Research skills assignments help students answer the following sorts of questions:
These are not remedial skills! Scholars must be able to answer these questions and others like them
Tips for Research Skills Assignments
Set Clear Goals - Be clear about what the assignments are meant to accomplish. What skills do you expect the students to learn, and how do they relate to scholarly practice in the discipline?
Make Assignments Relevant and Content Oriented - Successful assignments require students to work with information that is significant to them. Try to link research skills assignments to other assignments or otherwise integrate them into the course. Furthermore, assignments are more valuable if they require students to think critically about the resources' content, function, and relationship to the discipline.
Timing is Everything - Consider how your assignment relates to the class as a whole. For example, an assignment to teach students about types of disciplinary methods will work best when accompanied by a lecture or discussion on method.
Make Use of Library Support Services - Using the library's resources to assist with your research skills assignment can provide students with a more valuable learning experience.
Consult with Librarians
Librarians can help during all steps in the process of creating research skills assignments.