7 signs that a student plagiarized their paper

a men writing

Plagiarism in students’ work seems to be rapidly growing every year. As true believers in academic integrity we want to share the initial way to notice if your students started plagiarizing their papers. Here are 7 signs that a paper might have been plagiarized.

1. Sudden change in the style of sentences.

No even though through the years people’s writing skills might change and be of more quality, usually the structure of the sentences remains the same rather than changes. Check for irregularities in between the paragraphs. Maybe you’ve noticed something different? Maybe each sentence is defined by different structure? If so, this might be the first indicator that a paper was plagiarized.

2. Outdated information

Now this case usually happens when a student simply copies the information from one source and uses it as their own. What we mean here, is that usually if a person is digging into their topic and the field of study, it would mainly mean that they gather the newest information on the ‘market’. So, if the information is outdated, this could be a cause for concern.

3. Text that doesn’t fit the assignment

Of course there are cases when the student doesn’t entirely understand the assignment. But a completely different case can show that copied materials don’t necessarily cover the whole topic, or looks at it from a completely different perspective than intended. Now don’ come to sudden conclusions but dig deeper in understanding why this happened in a specific case.

4. No references to the sources

Oh, this is a tough one. Everyone in academic community knows that citing requires a reference to the source. Now if the text seems familiar but does not provide the reference, it might be plagiarized.

5. Mixed citation styles

This is one of the most common plagiarism cases. In other words, if a student is writing their paper on their own, it means that every citation will be of the same style. If you notice different styles of citation, it is most probably a plagiarism case.

6. Hyperlinks in the text

We all know what this means, don’t we? If a student is writing his paper on his own, he most certainly won’t be hyperlinking to different sources or places.

7. Random fonts in the text

This basically speaks for itself. The same paper might have different styling for headings or paragraphs but the font in academic work usually remains the same no matter the structure.

As we understand that it might be hard to determine whether a student plagiarized without any additional tools, these are the main indicators to keep an eye on.