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Washington State University Graduate School

Avoiding plagiarism

Integrity is a core value at Washington State University and is spelled out in its strategic plan.
In opposition to that core value, plagiarism is a serious problem that reflects academic dishonesty and unethical writing practices. Graduate students are uniquely faced with the issues of potential plagiarism both in their scholarly writing and in their work as teaching assistants.

Please visit the WSUlibraries website to read more about plagiarism and ways to avoid it in your own work. 

Academic integrity at WSU

Academic integrity issues at WSU are handled by the Office of Student Conduct, which clearly spells out the standards of conduct for students as regulated by the Washington State Legislature. Under section 504-26-010 of the policy, plagiarism is defined and addressed as an act of cheating. 

The Academic Integrity Guide for faculty addresses a number of issues, including plagiarism, and provides clear instruction on how to address the issue in a course syllabus, how to report offenses, and a sample letter to a student who has plagiarized. The Guide also includes information on the appeals process, the student, faculty, and staff rights and responsibilities, documentation, and consultation.

The Division of Student Affairs also provides information on academic integrity, with links to tutorials and off-campus resources to assist in your understanding and avoidance of plagiarism.

WSU provides an online Incident Reporting Form for reporting a number of campus violations, including plagiarism.


Tools for checking plagiarism

Turnitin is a software tool that helps verify the originality of scholarly writing by using text-searching algorithims against an extensive database of published scholarly writing. It is available free to WSU faculty and graduate students to help them more efficiently achieve the highest standard of academic integrity in their proposals, theses, dissertations, and research publications.

A second software program for promoting academic integrity that is available at WSU is SafeAssign. Faculty are encouraged to utilize SafeAssign, the tool within Blackboard that can prevent plagiarism and help teach students how to attribute sources.

For more information on academic integrity and the tools available, visit or visit If you have questions about academic integrity, email For questions regarding SafeAssign, please email to


Professor Miguel Roig of St. John’s University in New York has carried out research with his students in the area of academic dishonesty with an emphasis on student plagiarism. He has published a number of scholarly papers on his research on his website, including this one on plagiarism. View his publications page for more of his research on plagiarism.