How to avoid plagiarism 

  1. Don’t reuse assessmentsHow to post it
    Ensure assignments can’t be passed from student to student or from year to year by changing your assessment title semester by semester, making the titles or datasets unique or personalising each assessment. This JISC Good Practice Guide has lots of examples on how to do this.

  2. Clarify assessment criteria and descriptors
    It is essential that both home and international students understand the assessment criteria and are clear about what is expected of them. Get students to read assignment briefs in groups and report back on any queries they have. 

  3. Approach assessment differently
    Try different approaches to assessment, for instance, poster assessment, in-class discussions, debates, student led conferences, a review of book reviews, an annotated bibliography, an annotated interview or data set, case studies, role plays. Explore computer assisted assessment. There are more ideas and examples have a look at the top ten tips for diversifying assessment.  

  4. Assess process and product
    Assess the process and the product for instance, using an ePortfolio approach which has feedback throughout the module, ensuring that the level of attainment is easily recognizable and supports the development of a student’s authorial identity. Another approach for traditional assessments is to ask students to submit their drafts with their final submission thereby proving their progression and activity throughout the task. For further help have a look at this three step exercise from ASKe - Reduce the risk of plagiarism in just 30 minutes!

  5. Embed study skills
    Integrate activities within learning tasks that can build writing, paraphrasing and referencing skills. Direct students to the comprehensive LIS study skills webpages( Convey your appreciation to international students that although they need to demonstrate understanding, it is hard to write in a second language and that they do not lose marks for small errors of grammar. Asking students to critique a good assignment is an effective way to underpin study skills and demonstrate understanding. This HEA and JISC publication about supporting academic integrity discusses in more detail how to develop students’ understanding and skills.

  6. Make students aware
    Using in-class activities focusing on student perceptions of plagiarism [Student perceptions]and the reasons students plagiarise can lead to a group discussion about creating strategies to avoid situations when plagiarism may take place. Additional resources can be found on the student union site, ( especially this comprehensive guide on how to avoid Academic Misconduct, which includes plagiarism, collusion and cheating.  This guide on designing out plagiarism by the University of Surrey suggests some remedies for potential areas of plagiarism.

References and further reading:

  • Carroll. J. and Appleton, J. (2001) Plagiarism: A Good Practice Guide. JISC and Oxford Brookes University. Available from: <>
  • Carroll . J, (2009) What kinds of solutions can we find for plagiarism? Higher Education Academy, Available at: <>
  • Challen. R, Penfold. B & Purnell.E, (2008) Using ePortfolios to promote assessment processes and prevent plagiarism.The Third International Plagiarism Conference.  Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. 23-25 June 2008. JISC IPAS. Available at: <>
  • Elander, J, Pittam, G, Lusher, J, Fox, P and Payne, N (2010) Evaluation of an intervention to help students avoid unintentional plagiarism by improving their authorial identity Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35: 2, 157 — 171.
  • Rust, C, Price, M and O’Donovan, B (2003) Improving students’ learning by developing their understanding of assessment criteria and processes Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol 28, Iss 2, pp 147-164