By definition, plagiarsim is the act of copying another person`s work and claiming it as one`s own. In EFL, it is a crime frequently comitted in written assignments which are completed out of class or in the abscence of teacher supervision. Sections of copied text can appear in various lengths, from a sentence to a paragraph and beyond, and depending on the editorial skills of the perpatrator, detection can be a tricky business.
Apart from a number of commercial plagiarism detection programs, there are a few cheaper options as follows:
By typing a suspect section of a text into a search engine between quotation marks, pages will be displayed which contain that exact phrase. This method works for detection of lazy plagiarists, as they will have copied and pasted work directly from its source, however if the plagiarizer has edited the text or has only used clauses or snippets from it, this detection process takes a while so another method may be more effective.
This method works for the sophisticated plagiarist and also for the student who completes his/her assignment in their L1 and uses a translation program to produce a phenomenal result. To detect cheating in this manner, a teacher copies a few sentences of the assignment onto a sticky, tactically leaving out a few words. Before handing the marked assignment back, the teacher hands the sticky to the student who has to complete the cloze to ratify that they are the author; if 75% or more of the gaops are competed correctly, then the text may well be genuine.