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Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

Detection | Prevention | Internet Paper Mills | Handouts for Discussion | Additional Sources



Use online services that check papers for plagiarism. Currently, the College of DuPage does not subscribe as an institution to any online service. However, many of these services offer temporary trials and personal subscriptions. Consult Turnitin.com, Eve Plagiarism Detection Service, or SurfWax Scholar.


Check bibliographies. Do the sources reflect information that could be reasonably obtained by this student?


Look for weird formatting, unusual spacing, or different fonts in the paper. When students copy and paste from web sites, they often forget to check fonts and their sizes. If it looks funny it probably has been lifted from another online source.


Use search engines, like Google, to catch phrases or sentences from web sites. To do this, simply place quotation marks around the sentence or phrase when conducting the search. Google will look for it exactly how it has been entered. Unique searches can be conducted in article databases as well. Ask any library staff member for tips about choosing a database.


Look for awkward, unique or odd phrases. Does the student use language not commonly seen? If so, check their bibliographies more closely. Many sources students use can be found in local libraries or in one of our article databases.


Use boolean searches to connect key words from the questionable material. For example, use the word AND to connect unique words. Likewise, the words NOT and OR will also help refine searches.


Look for outdated bibliographies. Often "swapped" or purchased papers will be old and their sources will reflect that.


1. Educate your students about plagiarism

2. Get their writing "fingerprinted"

3. Make sure they know you use the Internet

4. Give very specific assignments

5. Stress and give credit for the research process

6. Require evidence of synthesis

7. Give evidence that you are interested in their work

8. Keep papers in a secure area

Internet Paper Mills

Internet paper mills are web sites that offer papers for free or for sale. Many of these sites allow students to download a paper only if they submit one. Other sites allow anyone to submit any paper to their database. Cost for papers can vary. Many have a flat fee for each paper. Others charge by the page. The going rate for a pre-written paper is $9.95/page. Customized papers can run upwards of $50.00.

Here is a portal to a huge list of Internet Paper Mills. This list is maintained by Peggy Bates and Margaret Fain, faculty at Coastal Carolina Unversity.

To find other possible sources of term papes, simply type in "free term papers" in any search engine. Papers from these sites are often not searchable by search engines.

Updated January 27, 2006
Christine Kickels, Associate Professor and Librarian
(630) 942-2313

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