Here’s a link to a short article in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education online issue (11/7/11) on combating plagiarism. Though the article talked about a new tool (WriteCheck) offered by Turnitin geared at students to “screen drafts,” the author also offered a number of anti-plagiarism strategies. They are:
“Shift assignments that rely on libraries and printed texts rather than online materials. Build creative projects that require students to turn in interview recordings or blend personal narratives into their research. Remove the temptation to cheat at the last minute by breaking up assignments into multiple pieces with discrete due dates.”
The last suggestion is my favorite for new writers and projects though I think that you could also do a hybrid of one of the others such as asking students to keep a journal describing their thinking along the way which is similar to the personal narratives. This makes it much more difficult to cheat and it helps the students develop meta-cognitive skills.
The article also suggested that composition teachers might consider reviewing some of the data from the Citation project (see this same issue) and from those student practices consider altering the way they teach composition such as “starting the research process collaboratively with students… select a few complex sources and explore them with the whole class… not rushing students quite so quickly in their first semester into writing a 25-page research paper…”