Detecting Academic Misconduct
There are a number of methods by which tutors are able to detect academic misconduct in a piece of work. A good way to understand how these methods work is to see academic misconduct in action.
Fred the Fraud
Fred submitted an essay comprised of 40% his own words and 60% the words of his friend. The main clue that Fred has committed academic misconduct is the way in which his style of writing changes so much from one part to another. It is often easy to tell the difference between the writings of two people, and this will give the tutor the initial clue that the work may have been copied.
Having raised these suspicions, the tutor is able to refer back to other students' essays from his cohort and those of the previous year and find the copied work. The tutor is then able to prove that Fred has copied 60% of his essay and therefore cheated.
Pete the Cheat
Pete bought his dissertation online and submitted it as his own. Although the dissertation is of a good standard and the content is accurate, the tutor can tell that this is not his own work for a number of reasons. Firstly, the choice of words and style of writing is completely different to that which he used previously. The second clue is the fact that the sources used in the dissertation do not relate to any of the sources that the tutor had provided to the students, and the recommended sources were not referred to at any point.
In order to confirm the tutor's suspicions, Pete is invited to meet with the School to talk about his dissertation. When he is unable to answer questions about his research, his findings, and his sources it is clear that Pete has not completed the work himself.
Mustafa the Maths Mis-calculator
Mustafa worked with his friends on his maths coursework resulting in them all using the same calculations and answers. There are a couple of questions where Mustafa has used the wrong calculations and therefore made a mistake in his answer. The tutor soon notices that a number of students have all made exactly the same mistake in their calculations and answers. This raises his suspicion that the students have colluded, and is enough evidence for them to be called to the Academic Misconduct Panel.
Kate the Colluder
Kate has allowed her friend to borrow her essay which her friend then copied from in 30% of her work. Because the tutor marks all of the coursework, the tutor knew that she had read a similar essay earlier in the batch. With a quick review of the essays she had already marked, the tutor was able to see that two essays were remarkably similar. This was enough evidence to refer Kate and her friend to the Academic Misconduct Panel.
Rita the Repetitive Writer
Rita has used the work that she submitted previously and submitted it again as part of a new piece of work. The tutor is able to identify that this is not new work because he submitted all of the work through Turnitin which reported that there was a match to previously submitted work. With this information, he is able to find Rita's previous work and confirm that she has copied this without referencing it.
Luther the Lecture Note Lifter
Luther has used his tutor's lecture notes in his essay without referencing them. Because the tutor wrote the notes himself he is immediately able to recognise the work as his own and get a copy of his lecture notes to be used as evidence by the Academic Misconduct Panel.
Priya the Print Pincher
Priya used a lot of unreferenced work in her dissertation. Her dissertation supervisor is an expert in the field and had read the same websites and sources as Priya, therefore when reading Priya's work, a lot of information seemed familiar. It didn't take long for the supervisor to find the sources on the internet. In addition to this, the supervisor was able to submit the dissertation to Turnitin which was able to identify all of the parts that were copied from other sources.