Plagiarism Prevention Skills Training: A Service-Learning Project


  • Daniel Ignacio
  • Teofilo B. Damoco


Plagiarism,, Academic Integrity, Service-Learning, Technical Writing, Higher Education


This study aligns with UNESCO’s Pillars of Education, focusing on Learning to Do and emphasizing the practical application of knowledge (UNESCO, 1996). It addresses an often-overlooked aspect of practical skill development: plagiarism prevention, recognizing it as a crucial competency (Bilbao et al., 2018).

Effective skill development, including plagiarism prevention, is facilitated through training and coaching. Initiatives in Karnataka, India, have demonstrated moderate effectiveness, underscoring the impact of such programs (Arun Kumar et al., 2021). Training’s role in performance improvement is well-established, necessitating the design and implementation of effective programs (Esha, 2019; Hamid, 201).

Plagiarism, extending beyond mere copying, challenges academic integrity (Barnbaum, 2006, as cited in Anney, 2015). Despite awareness of its consequences, factors like time constraints and academic pressure may drive individuals to plagiarize (Cheema et al., 2011; Selemani, 2018). This issue extends beyond academia, manifesting in various media forms (Anderson et al., 2019).

Effective plagiarism prevention tools, including Grammarly, ProWritingAid, Quillbot, and Wordtune, are available, aiding students in proper source identification and citation while maintaining originality (Agrawal, 2022; Fumba, 2021).

Plagiarism remains a global concern in higher education, with varying awareness and enforcement levels worldwide (Vetter & Howell, 2020; EHEA, 2021). Cultural differences impact its prevalence, as seen in Australia, African universities, and Asian countries (Dawson et al., 2021; Ojewumi, 2020; Wang &Sun, 2019; Hirose &Yamada, 2021; Valenzuela et al., 2019; Malik et al., 2020).

The consequences of plagiarism are severe, affecting both students and institutions and jeopardizing academic integrity principles and the credibility of higher education. Union Christian College (UCC) in San Fernando City, La Union, Philippines, upholds integrity through its core values (FIRES) and ethical research standards. This study within UCC’s School of Education, Arts, and Sciences (SEAS) equips students with essential skills to navigate academia with integrity, promoting plagiarism-free research in future endeavors.

This study utilized a descriptive-developmental research method. Descriptive research aims to identify and characterize characteristics within a population, focusing on describing observed phenomena without delving into the “why” (Bhat, 2018). The study described students' plagiarism level regarding the UCC institutional similarity index, focusing on managing plagiarism in academic outputs.

Developmental research involves creating instructional activities to test instructional theories and build potential skills and competencies (Prediger, 2015). In this study, a service-learning project was developed to equip students with plagiarism management skills, serving as input for institutional actions.

Data consisted of pre-service teachers' manuscripts from Union Christian College, covering AY 2020-2021 to the first semester of AY 2022-2023. Manuscripts were stored in instructors' Google Classrooms and accessed after UCC Ethics Review Board approval.

Of 985 accessed manuscripts, 475 met inclusion criteria: 115 reflective journal entries, 175 essay tests, 112 reaction/discussion papers, 33 literary articles, and 30 research papers.

Documentary analysis was employed since data were database-stored. Ethical processes were observed, including research vetting, ethics review, anonymization of data, and manuscript deletion post-analysis.

The UCC Institutional Tool was adopted with permission to validate the Plagiarism Prevention Service-Learning Project.

Manuscripts were analyzed using Grammarly, and similarity percentages were recorded and analyzed through frequency counts and percentages. The average percentage determined the similarity index status, aligning with institutional academic policy.

Table 1 presents a comprehensive overview of plagiarism levels in pre-service teachers' manuscripts across various categories, expressed as percentages. Notably, Reflective Journal Entries exhibit a substantial portion (28.09%) falling within the 16%-20% plagiarism range, highlighting the need for conditional acceptance with revisions. Essay Tests reveal a significant concern, with nearly 29.14% exceeding 21% plagiarism, necessitating substantial revisions. Reaction/Discussion Papers display 25.89% within the 11%-15% range, indicating an acceptable level of originality, though citation enhancement is advised. Literary Articles showcase commendable adherence to citation practices (30.30%), but 15.15% require substantial revisions due to plagiarism exceeding 21%. Research Papers show the highest plagiarism levels, with 36.67% exceeding 21%, warranting significant revisions. These findings underscore the importance of reinforcing research ethics and citation practices among pre-service teachers.

Table 2 summarizes similarity indexes in pre-service teachers' teachers' manuscripts, highlighting plagiarism occurrence and acceptance status. Reflective Journal Entries feature a low plagiarism rate of 8.7%. Essay Tests and Reaction/Discussion Papers display slightly higher rates at 14.29% and 10.71%, respectively. Literary Articles exhibit the highest percentage (30.3%) of proper citations—however, Research Papers lag, with only 6.67% plagiarism-free. Approximately 14.134% of submissions are deemed acceptable without plagiarism concerns.

Many submissions across manuscript types show minor similarities, with Essay Tests having the highest percentage (19.43%), followed by Reflective Journal Entries (20%) and Reaction/Discussion Papers (15.18%). Literary Articles and Research Papers also display lower percentages (15.15% and 13.33%). On average, about 16.618% of all submissions fall within this acceptable similarity range.

Submissions falling into the 11%-15% similarity category vary among manuscript types, with Reaction/Discussion Papers having the highest share (25.89%). On average, approximately 19.7% of submissions meet satisfactory similarity levels.

Manuscripts within the 16%-20% similarity range comprise a substantial portion, notably in Reflective Journal Entries (28.09%) and Essay Tests (24%). On average, around 23.006% of all submissions fall into this category, necessitating significant revisions.

To address serious plagiarism concerns, manuscripts with 21% or higher similarity levels require significant revisions and treatment. Research Papers have the highest percentage (36.67%), followed by Essay Tests (29.14%), Reflective Journal Entries (26.96%), and Reaction/Discussion Papers (26.79%). Literary Articles have the lowest percentage (15.15%), indicating notable concerns demanding substantial revisions.

Based on the given criteria and ratings, the Plagiarism Prevention Service-Learning Project assessment confirms its validity. Each criterion has received positive evaluations, resulting in an overall score of 4.75 out of 5 points, indicating a high level of validity.

The project has received a high overall evaluation rating of 4.50, highlighting its exceptional effectiveness in achieving its goals. These goals encompass enhancing technical writing abilities and addressing concerns related to plagiarism.

Debora (2014) and Katharina (2021) identified significant trends in pre-service teacher plagiarism, aligning with current findings:

  1. High Plagiarism Rate: Pre-service teachers frequently exhibit plagiarism across assignment types, such as essays and research papers, necessitating broad intervention.
  2. Lack of Plagiarism Understanding: Many pre-service teachers struggle to grasp plagiarism concepts, leading to unintentional infringements.
  3. Internet Facilitation: Easy online access encourages content-copying without proper attribution.
  4. Academic Pressure: The fear of failing to meet academic demands prompts plagiarism.
  5. Inadequate Policy Enforcement: Some institutions lack strict anti-plagiarism policies and education, fostering plagiarism-friendly environments.

Consistent trends from Mohamed et al. (2020), Anne (2018), and Roth (2017) include:

  1. Steady Plagiarism Rates: Rates among pre-service teachers remain unchanged over five years, indicating the need for more effective intervention.
  2. Root Causes: Academic stress, citation knowledge gaps, and the appeal of online resources consistently drive plagiarism.
  3. Comprehensive Education: Ongoing emphasis on comprehensive academic integrity education, including plagiarism prevention and correction, is essential for aspiring teachers.



How to Cite

Ignacio, D. ., & Damoco, T. B. (2024). Plagiarism Prevention Skills Training: A Service-Learning Project. Ascendens Asia Singapore – Union Christian College Philippines Journal of Multidisciplinary Research Abstracts, 6(1), 33. Retrieved from

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