Cut and Paste Plagiarism:
How to Detect It and How to Prevent I


Faculty Workshop - May 17th and May 18th, 2004
Presented by: Joni Warner, Margaret Porter

Case Study

Adapted with permission from the Center for Academic Integrity
Center for Academic Integrity, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina Duke University • Durham, North Carolina 27708

The Case of the Cheating Hart

Josh Hart is a first semester sophomore at Woebegotten College in Lake Woebegone, Minnesota. He is currently enrolled in the Exercise and Sports Science (ESS) program of the College. Dr. Keeler has assigned a semester project in which students are to compile a model program for personal fitness training for themselves. Dr. Keeler has explained verbally and also included in his syllabus a good deal of information about the college honor policy and the importance of honesty in all assignments. He indicates that students are to complete this assignment on their own with no involvement of third parties other than reference materials.

In completing the assignment for Dr. Keeler, Josh uses a variety of text sources, his own experiences and information from a cd-rom program titled “The Personal Trainer for You” by Arnold Atlas. Josh purchased the cd-rom to enhance his own skills in physical training. The cd does contain copyright information.

Josh prints various tables and charts from the cd and makes clean copies to include along with his narrative and other materials. As he turns the paper in, he is sure he has a good paper and hopes for an “A”.

Dr. Keeler has also anticipated Josh’s paper. As he begins to grade Josh’s paper, he is impressed at first. As he continues to read on, he becomes aware that the language and concepts used seem highly developed for a student of his experience. Several paragraphs seem almost too good to be true and none of the material is cited in his references which include books and periodical articles.

Dr. Keeler turns to the Internet and a search engine often used by ESS majors. He finds several sources and immediately finds selections of research on physical training that appears to be identical to Josh’s. He also learns that there is a cd-rom available and includes model programs for physical training.

Dr. Keeler realizes that he will have to request an honor policy conference with Josh. He sends Josh an email and asks him to schedule an appointment for the next day.

1. What would you do to prepare for the scheduled appointment?

2. What questions would you ask Josh during the appointment?

3. If Josh does not believe he has plagiarized, how will you handle this?

4. If Josh’s case is referred to the honor policy for a hearing and review, and he’s found responsible, what sanctions should be imposed, if any?