Info lit as fair play

Olympic Park London 2012.  Image by SiB: Retrieved from, and used according to a Creative Commons Attribution License.

The Olympic Games have their ideal of fair play.  In information literacy the counterpart is the avoidance of plagiarism.  Though I could share resources on detecting plagiarism, I’d rather share resources on discouraging it in the first place.

Note Taking

Plagiarism prevention includes taking good notes.  In April 2008 I blogged about the CHoMP method of notetaking.  Other methods exist.  Makany, Kemp, and Dror (2009) list a variety of non-linear strategies, such as clustering and concept mapping (p.  621). The point is to develop a consistent, effective note taking habit.


Organizing one’s information also helps make citing the information easier.  I’ve written on the subject before.  All the same the message bears repeating.

Topic Selection

The research topic itself can discourage plagiarism as well.  Harris (2001) suggests providing a list of highly specific topics or having students narrow down their chosen topics.  The narrower the topic, the less likely that someone has already written much about it (pp. 45-48).  Another approach would be the I-Search paper, where the unique format and personal investment in the topic make the work harder to plagiarize (Joyce & Tallman, 1997).

The Olympics are over, but I couldn’t resist writing an Olympic-themed post.  Besides, fair play matters at all times–not simply every few years,


Harris, R. A. (2001). The plagiarism handbook: Strategies for preventing, detecting, and dealing with plagiarism.  Los Angeles, CA: Pyrczak.

Joyce, M.Z., & Tallman, J. I. (1997). Making the writing and research connection with the I-Search process: A how-to-do-it manual for teachers and school librarians. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman.

Makany, T., Kemp, J., & Dror, I. (2009). Optimising the use of note-taking as an external cognitive aid for increasing learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(4), 619-635. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2008.00906.x