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Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Prevention Resources: Plagiarism "Resistant" Essay

Example of a plagiarism resistant assignment:

This assignment was designed by Professor David Goldstein at UW Bothell for his BIS300 class. Instructions for this assignment are designed to prevent plagiarism.

Assignment Prompt

BIS 300A
Interdisciplinary Inquiry

David S. Goldstein, Ph.D.
Essay Assignment


The purpose of this essay is to help you use writing to think about what you read regarding the complex topic of interdisciplinarity and to provide you the opportunity to develop further some ideas discussed in class. It is meant to contribute to the following course learning goals:

  • Understand and appreciate the interdisciplinary production of knowledge and the ways in which it underwrites different aspects of the IAS Program;
  • Become better critical thinkers and writers, capable of posing, answering, and reposing a variety of complex questions;>
  • Become better researchers, able to use the resources at UWB and elsewhere in order to identify existing and complementary scholarly work while producing original knowledge through data gathering and interpretation.

Start by reading this "prompt" (the question that is intended to stimulate your ideas):

You wrote some paragraphs in class about a great course you once took. Now that you have a detailed description of an educational experience that you feel was "good," use this experience to test what Paolo Freire says about education and approaches to education.

This may be a bit different from the approaches you are used to taking in writing about essays and texts written by others. The "authority" in this essay is your experience, not Freire. Freire is what you examine. That is, Freire makes a number of assumptions and assertions about education that he wants you to accept. Based on your experience, should we accept them? Think about how your experience relates and does not relate to what you think Freire is proposing. In what ways does your experience support what Freire says and in what ways does it challenge Freire? How does the "reality" as represented by your experience compare with the theory presented by Freire?

[Thanks to Prof. Ralph Leary at Clarion University for this essay question.]

Now, in a formal, argumentative essay of 1000 to 1250 words (according to the word count tool in Microsoft Word), write an essay in response to the prompt. To do this, develop a thesis (main argument) that answers the prompt, which should be built into your opening paragraph. Y our thesis should incorporate your main point about how your class supports or contradicts Freire .  The rest of the essay will comprise your attempts to convince your reader of the veracity of your thesis. Your reader has not read your in-class writing about your "great course," so your essay will need to describe it with sufficient detail so that your reader knows what you are talking about. Assume that your audience is a smart, educated person who has read, but is not an expert on, Freire's essay or ideas. As you write, it might help to think of a smart friend of yours as your audience.

  • As a formal piece of university writing, your essay should be typed and double-spaced throughout, using a standard font (like Times New Roman) in 12-point size, and with margins of one inch all the way around each page. You must use Microsoft Word, which is available at an unbelievably discounted price for UWB students through IT Connect.  Provide an MLA-style header and essay title as explained in #20 and #22 in "Tips for Better Prose" at <>. Please do not use a cover page, footnotes, or a bibliography. If you wish to quote, do so only after reading Becky Reed Rosenberg's document, "Using Direct Quotation" at <>. If you paraphrase or quote Freire, you can provide just a page number if it is obvious that it is Freire whom you are citing.
  • After your paper is carefully written, it will be time for editing and proofreading. Because all teachers have their own idiosyncratic preferences for writing, you should learn what mine are by reading "Tips for Better Prose." Reading this document is a required part of the assignment. When I return your paper to you, I will indicate common errors that I find in your paper that tend to distract your readers. I will use a list of codes such as "T1," "T2," and so forth, which refer to the numbered items of the "Tips for Better Prose" document. Of course, it would be better for you and for me if you pay close attention to the document so you can avoid some of the mechanical errors that I commonly find in student (and even professional) writing, rather than have them pointed out to you afterward. I recommend printing that document, and, after you finish writing your paper, check the items off one by one to make sure your paper is as mechanically sound as you can make it. Although the mechanics of writing are less important to me than the ideas expressed, the mechanics inevitably improve the effectiveness of your communication of ideas, which, after all, is your ultimate goal with each piece of writing that you do.
  • Just before you print your final draft, do a final word count (in the Tools pull-down menu of Microsoft Word) to make sure your paper meets the length requirement.  You do not need to put the word count in your paper; I can check that myself.
  • I have posted two examples of very good essays (written in a previous BIS 300 course but on a different topic) in the "Course Documents" area of Blackboard. You may read them if you want to see examples of essays that I have liked.
  • Needless to say, your work must be entirely original. Using another person's ideas or words without proper attribution, whether intentional or accidental, constitutes plagiarism, and will result in a zero on this assignment. Please re-read "Maintaining Academic Integrity" at <>.

Your essay is due in class at 11:10 a.m. sharp on [XX Date]. Because we will meet that day in our peer critique groups, your essay cannot be late. Your peer group members will have insufficient time to critique your paper if they receive it after this deadline. Your peer group will not provide you with peer critiques if you do not submit your original paper by the beginning of class on the due date, which will make your revision process more difficult (but you will still be responsible for critiquing their papers). I therefore urge you to take responsibility for submitting your paper on time. Please do not submit a rough draft. This version should be as complete and polished as you can possibly make it. Papers that seem incomplete or not seriously written will not be critiqued by peers.

Important: On the due date, you must bring THREE stapled copies of your essay to class. (The extra copy will be submitted to me, although I will not grade it.  I just want to be sure that the essays that your group members give you are sufficiently complete.  Be sure to keep a separate original for yourself. Please have the courtesy to make sure your essay copies are stapled so your peer group members and I do not lose any of your pages.  ASUWB provides staplers in the "vista" area of the lower, second, and third floors of the UW1 Building and the first and second floors of the UW2 Building.)

I will post, in our Blackboard area, instructions and questionnaires for completing peer critiques. Please budget at least five to eight hours for each critique. They require substantial time, effort, and care.

Optional Interim Revision: I recommend that you revise your essay after getting your peers' critiques.  Then the version that you submit in your midquarter portfolio on Wednesday, Feb. 17, will be as close to a polished, final draft as you can make it, and my comments will help you revise it one more time before you submit the final version for grading in your learning portfolio.

Final Revision: If you like, you may revise your essay one final time. Using what you learned from your peers' critiques of your paper and from my comments, you may revise your paper, still adhering to the length and formatting requirements outlined above for your original paper. Remember to do a word count to check the length. Then, when you submit your Learning Portfolio, choose this essay as your included sample. I will grade this final version using the criteria below.

Criteria for grading the final version of your essay. Please carefully read "Criteria for Assessing Writing" at <> for an explanation of these items:


50 percent


10 percent


20 percent


10 percent


10 percent


25 percent of course grade


The midquarter portfolio version of your paper will include my comments but no grade. They will be marked only as an early draft, middle draft, or late draft (see "Criteria for Assessing Writing" at <> for an explanation).

Let me emphasize that I expect your best effort in this and every exercise. Your most serious work now will enable me to provide the most helpful comments, which in turn will improve your grade on later assignments. In other words, this assignment helps determine your grade in this course both directly (with the score it earns) and indirectly (with its capacity to teach you how to improve your writing), so it is worth the investment of your time and effort to do the best you can.

Some additional advice:

  • Get in the habit of saving your work often (maybe every ten minutes) so you do not lose everything when your computer freezes. It also is a good idea to keep multiple copies in different places, such as on a different computer, on diskettes or Zip disks, or in your electronic "shell" on UW student computer server.
  • Visit the Writing and Communication Center (see <>). They are professionals trained to help you become a better writer, so visit them! Remember that their goal is to help you become a better writer, not to make this particular paper better, so you are responsible for applying what they teach you to this paper and others that you will write.
  • I do not have time to read rough drafts, but I am very glad to discuss your paper as you work on it. You would be wise to visit me during office hours (see syllabus) to make sure you are on the right track, to see whether your thesis makes sense to me, and to get advice about any particular difficulties you might be encountering.
  • Remember to keep your graded essay for your learning portfolio due at the end of this course and for the graduation portfolio that you will complete in your senior seminar (see <>).