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Helpful Hints in Detecting Internet Plagiarism

Detecting plagiarism and incidents of academic dishonesty can be difficult particularly in the digital age. In this section you will find some resources on ways to detect instances of plagiarism. Please also refer to the resources on how to make these punitive moments teaching moments, in addition to some of the pedagogical problems with plagiarism detection services like and SafeAssign.

Detecting plagiarism derived from the Internet does not always require the use of high tech tools or sophisticated search techniques. Many times, especially in lower division courses, the “clues” are rather straightforward. For example, Shelley Goldstein, the Waterbury Campus head librarian, instructs faculty to look for the following as examples of potential plagiarism indicators:

  • Unusual formatting
  • Strange layout
  • Essay was printed from a browser
  • References with missing citations
  • Is a paper off topic with loosely related paragraphs and awkward construction?
  • Extensive use of jargon or advanced vocabulary.
  • Frequent changes in terminology consistent with extensive cutting & pasting.