College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Arts in Professional Writing (MA)


Tess Stockslager-Martinus


Plagiarism, Systems Approach, Habits of Mind, Writing Labs, Academic Integrity


Educational Methods | Rhetoric and Composition


Academic integrity, ethical research, and proper documentation practices are key values emphasized within most post-secondary academic communities. To support positive student outcomes, colleges and universities use honor codes, policy measures, and plagiarism detection systems to deter plagiarism, believing that the above measures promote ethical behavior from the students who graduate from their institutions. This thesis first recommends a broader, environmentally focused approach which examines the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of the post-secondary educational setting within universities and colleges using systems theory and strengths theory. It then identifies some important plagiarism barriers and plagiarism enablers students encounter within each environmental context above. By connecting these approaches with vital information on authorial identity, care ethics, writing-process accountability, and policy and curriculum recommendations, this author recommends a multidimensional framework to ameliorate several environmental factors that feed the plagiarism problem in post-secondary educational settings. An important undercurrent running throughout this project is that of making authentic writing more rewarding than plagiarism in post-secondary classrooms. This thesis project culminates in small handbook of policy designed to assist various stakeholders in their efforts to reduce student plagiarism. Furthermore, it includes suggestions for curriculum and policy adjustments such as teaching Arthur Costa & Kallick’s sixteen habits of mind (2008) within the university curriculum and requiring instructor-led writing practice lab classes on campus. It also includes ways various stakeholders can cooperate to effectively solve the plagiarism problem.