Lessons Learnt from Running a Plagiarism Awareness Campaign

Susannah Quinsee

Pagtrick Baughan

Emma Boylan


Plagiarism is an issue of considerable significance to the academic community as a result, in part, of an increase in recorded incidences, greater availability of information through the internet (and internet search engines), and changes within the higher education sector. This has made it necessary for educational institutions to take steps to tackle plagiarism, employing a combination of preventative action, detection strategies, and policies for dealing with the varied forms and degrees of plagiarism that occur.

At City University, the detection and prevention of plagiarism has generally been dealt with at school level. City is a traditionally structured institution, which devolves a substantial amount of autonomy and independence to schools. Although general policies exist, which are included in all programme handbooks, how students are educated as to what plagiarism is, or how it will be dealt with, is usually a school matter in the first instance. However, a number of central services became aware that schools were wishing to share their plagiarism concerns and seek more central support. To meet this need, a number of services (Academic Development and Services, the Educational Development Centre, and E-Learning Services) began to work together towards a larger scale event at the University. The main objectives were: to raise awareness of plagiarism; link it to broader issues such as assessment strategies, use of the internet, and referencing; and emphasise the importance of preventative action. A series of workshops, sessions and other events were planned. Sessions were hosted by several external experts, as well as staff based in the aforementioned departments of the University.

The purposes of this paper are to: first, draw attention to some of the literature on plagiarism and assessment that has informed our understanding of this issue; describe how the events of Plagiarism Awareness Week were organised and implemented; discuss its benefits and achievements (accounting for feedback received), and note possible areas for development. It is hoped that the paper will contribute to raising awareness about plagiarism issues within the higher education sector, provide colleagues with insights about plagiarism prevention, and help generate ideas for their own strategies. The paper also attempts to reveal the practical complexities of organising an institution-wide event of this sort. Overall then, the intention is to share the lessons learnt from City University’s Plagiarism Awareness Week, with a wider range of colleagues and peers who face similar challenges.

This paper was submitted to the International Integrity & Plagiarism Conference which ran between 2004-2014. The paper was peer reviewed by an independent editorial board and features in the conference proceedings.