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Document and Collect Evidence

Written Work (Plagiarism, Etc.)

  • Establish and indicate the nature and extent of the alleged problem; for example:
    • Has the material been copied without references, without quotation marks, or without either?
    • Does the paper contain references which bear no relation to the material used (concocted references)?
    • Has the student reproduced references from the original source and presented them as his/her own?
    • Has the student inserted quotation marks around a phrase or a sentence or two in the middle of a larger passage taken verbatim from a single source?
    • Does the writing style change, suggesting content may be from different sources?
    • Are there unusual or peculiar sentences or word choices that suggest that material has been translated literally from one language into the language in which the paper is to be written?
  • If possible, provide any source documentation (print-outs of online material, photocopies of books, etc.) for at least third of the assignment in question. This is particularly important if the source of the material is not easily found online (e.g. a book).
  • If your course uses Turnitin.com and it highlighted potential plagiarism:
    • Confirm that what is highlighted is actually problematic. A Turnitin similarity report may either overestimate or underestimate the extent of the problem. Keep in mind that Turnitin.com only checks publicly available material and material already in its database. It can miss many resources available online through the University's libraries. A quick Google search is often a valuable supplement to the Turnitin report.
    • Include the Turnitin similarity report.
  • Include any course materials which discuss academic integrity or plagiarism (such as the statement in your course syllabus – a template is available). We may refer to these materials in our meeting with the student.

Tests and Exams

  • If you suspect that a student may be using an unauthorized aid, observe the student’s behaviour and make a detailed record of his/her actions, noting the time when you initially suspected the behaviour. A report from a secondary witness is useful.
  • Confiscate any notes or unauthorized aid and check relevance to the course. Note the time when this occurred and the point that the student reached in the test. If it is not possible to confiscate the aid (e.g. notes written on a hand), take a photocopy or photograph, and transcribe as much as possible.
  • If you suspect that the student has placed the aid in his/her pocket, coat, pencil case, etc., politely ask the student to empty his/her pockets or show you the contents of his/her pencil case. If the student refuses, make it clear that a report will be filed indicating a refusal to cooperate, make detailed notes of the refusal, including any reasons given by the student for refusing, and report them along with your observations of the “use”.
  • If you observe that a student takes an unusual number of bathroom breaks or spends an unusually long time there, first confirm that the student is not ill or in distress. Then check the bathroom for stashed or discarded notes.
  • If you suspect that one student is copying from another, or that two or more students are collaborating during a test or examination:
    • note their behaviour and the time when it started before separating them;
    • make a diagram showing where the students were seated;
    • retain and submit all original Scantrons and the test/exam questions;
    • compare the students’ answers, looking in particular for similar wrong answers that may be specific to them rather than typical of the class.
  • If a student continues to write after the end of a test/exam, record the number of times the student was instructed to stop writing, the duration of their extra time and, if possible, the questions answered after the end of the test/exam.

Fraudulent Student Documentation

  • Include the original medical notes.
  • Provide a record of any communications with the physician that confirms that the notes are fraudulent or inaccurate.

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