Saint Mary's University Writing Centre

Halifax, NS

The honesty threshold: It wasn’t plagiarized that much. Should I say something or let it slide?

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Purdue Global Academic Success and Writing Resource Center and Blog

Dr. Tamara Fudge, professor in the School of IT

Honesty is an important workplace trait. Lack of honesty can be damaging to the person and to the company. To ensure student honesty, then, the first step in grading should be to send assignments to Turn-it-In. This tool provides reports that should be scrutinized for accuracy; it’s not infallible* but provides a backbone for checking originality.

©2014Clipart ©2014Clipart

The good news is that a lion’s share of the work we send in results in low-percentage reports that erroneously label reference entries or cover page content as “copied.” We can ignore those without batting an eyelash. On the other end of the spectrum, high-percentage reports should be obvious: either give a stern warning and a zero, and let the advisor know, or send the work to the Provost for a plagiarism review. It’s a wake-up call the high-percentage student needs.

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