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Student at risk of plagiarism 3: Giving feedback to your student client and their supervisor

text with tracked changesWhat do you do when you detect a risk of plagiarism in a student text and you need to give feedback to the student and possibly their supervisor? How do you stop a student feeling accused? How do you get confirmation from the supervisor that what you’re doing is acceptable by their institution?

In this post for editors working with student texts, I share the good practice I’ve developed over my ten years in operation when dealing with the two kinds of plagiarism I encounter in student work:

  • Plagiarism conducted directly by a student who does not reference or credit quotations, results and theories (therefore passing other people’s work off as their own)
  • Plagiarism that arises when you as the editor are doing far too many corrections and effectively risking co-writing the text (therefore risking the student passing your work off as their own)

I will write about these two risks of plagiarism in two further articles which I will link to here when they’re published. I’m publishing this one first to avoid leaving readers who are reading along dangling, as this article covers both types of plagiarism and is referenced at the ends of both articles as the end point of their processes.

What do I do if I encounter or risk enabling plagiarism?

Once I’ve realised a text is at risk of plagiarism (and in my experience, both kinds often come together in a text), I will follow these levels of action/escalation:

  1. Stop working on the text*
  2. Contact the student client immediately
    1. Explain what the problem is
    2. Offer solutions the client can use (go through the text, find where you’re missing references or need to show direct quotes/reference and insert those, etc.)
  3. The student client will get back to me with one of two answers
    1. “I will amend the text and send it back to you”. If that happens, great, and if they’ve done it correctly, I carry on working on the text
    2. “It’s OK, just rewrite the direct quotes”/”Just make the changes to my sentences, my tutor says it’s OK”. If that happens, I go to step 4
  4. It’s time to stop the work or ask for contact from the supervisor:
    1. If 3. i has occurred, I reiterate that the student must write direct quotes in their own words and I can’t do that for them. If an impasse is reached, I state I cannot work on the text any more and invoice the student client.**
    2. If 3. ii has occurred, I ask the student to provide me with evidence that their supervisor has approved the level of work I need to do on the text
      1. I send the student the text that I have amended so far, asking them to present that to their supervisor (I might in an extreme case save this as a PDF to prevent them accepting all changes and then just going and using someone else for the next part)
      2. I ask for either a letter from the tutor on headed paper OR a direct email from the supervisor instructing me to do this work. I leave this up to the student to do. This helps them not feel I’m reporting on them (as I say in Part 2, this is often down to stress, pressure or lack of understanding rather than explicit wrongdoing) and it saves me having to try to contact the supervisor myself.
  5. Depending on what I hear from the supervisor, conclude the work relationship or continue working:
    1. If I hear back from the supervisor in the negative, I stop work, invoice the client and keep the letter from the supervisor for a period of time
    2. If I hear back that I can continue, I continue with the work, present it to the client and save the tutor’s letter with the work files

* I have a statement in my terms and conditions that I will invoice for any work done before I detect plagiarism. I charge by the word, so I check the word count and invoice based on that.

** I will always suggest to the student that they contact their student support services, often attached to their department or library, who can give help with language issues and referencing procedures. I see my role as helping, not blaming or punishing the student for their mistake.

This article has outlined what I do to provide feedback to the student client and their supervisor when I encounter plagiarism in student work. My resources this website about plagiarism are listed below. Do comment if you use another good method or have used this one with success.

Related posts on this blog:

Student at risk of plagiarism 1: When the referencing is missing

Student at risk of plagiarism 2: When the editor is at risk of doing too much

Plagiarism in business texts

On plagiarism

How to quote sources without plagiarising

Referencing for academic writing

Choosing a proofreader – student edition

My terms and conditions

Why has my proofreader not edited my bibliography?

On (not) crossing the line

 

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How to customise your contents page in Word

It’s Word Tips time again and today we’re going to talk about customising your contents page.

Why do people customise their contents page?

Sometimes you have lots and lots of sub-headings in a document but you only want to show the main or main and sub-headings on the contents page, not every tiny sub-sub-heading.

In addition, you might want to change the style of your contents page or its individual font and layout. Here’s how to do it, with a worked example of changing the levels that are shown.

Reminder: how do I insert a contents page?

Here’s our document, with headings at H1, H2 and H3 level. I’ve marked these up with their heading levels already (see here for how to assign heading levels).

If we just follow the usual process for inserting a table of contents, we will create a blank page before this one, then go to the References tab and choose Table of Contents, then click on one of the automatic options that come up.

This is the result: a table of contents that includes all the headings in our original text:

How do I select which heading levels appear in my Table of Contents?

If you want to ignore all headings below level 2 (1.1, 1.2) then you need to customise the table of contents.

As before, select the References tab and the Table of Contents button. However, now click on Custom Table of Contents

This will give you this dialogue box:

There are lots of different things you can do here. For example, you can choose to show or not show the page numbers in the table of contents, and whether or not to align them. The preview panes at the top will show you the results before you click OK.

Options allows you to choose the style for the table of contents from a set of heading styles, and Modify then Modify again allows you to completely customise the appearance of the table of contents text permanently, with underlining, different fonts, etc.

At the moment, we’re concerned with eliminating the level 3 headings from the table of contents.Click on the arrows by Show levels to adjust how many levels are displayed:

And click OK. Here we have changed the number of levels to 2, and the result is this:

Even though the text still has the same headings and levels it had before, the table of contents now just includes those headings down to Level 2

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents. Find all the short cuts here … Please note that these tips are for Word 2010 and later for Microsoft. I can’t guarantee or check they will work in Mac versions of Word.

Do let me know if this has helped you – and do share with the buttons at the bottom of this article.

Related articles on this website

How to use headings styles – make your headings clear and consistent

How to set up numbered headings – ones that automatically update themselves!

How to create a Table of Contents – read the posts on Headings first

Table of Figures and Table of Tables – how to create these tricky ones

How do I add or remove auto-captions?

Two-line caption, one-line entry in the Table of Figures: how?

How to update Tables of Contents, Figures and Tables

Tables of Contents for editors – helping the editing process run smoothly

 
 

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Track changes – how do I get rid of the text box that appears when I hover over words in a Word document?

How do you get rid of document tooltips? How do you stop the little text boxes appearing when you hover over deleted or added words in Word. I had a query about this in a comment and thought that it warranted some screen shots and instructions.

What’s the problem here? What do you mean by these text boxes?

When you’ve worked with Track Changes enabled in Word, as well as showing you what your editor or collaborator has deleted or inserted into the text in red and with bubbles in the margin, you also get text boxes when you hover over the change. Here’s what that looks like:

Some people get annoyed by this, so here’s how to turn it off.

How do I turn off document tooltips aka those little text boxes that show me what I’ve deleted?

This process works for Word 2010 and later versions:

Click File on the far left of the tabs and then Options:

Once in Options, choose Display:

The Display dialogue box has an option to Show document tooltips on hover. Untick this by clicking in the square, then choose OK.

Now you won’t see those boxes in the document.

However, it does NOT turn off the useful tooltips in the rest of Word – so if you hover over any of the items on the Ribbon, you will still see the usual tooltips there.

If you’re using Word 2007, click the round button in the top left corner, choose Word Options at the very bottom of the dialogue box, then as above, select Display and untick Show document tooptips on hover.

Please note: these tips work for Microsoft Word version 2007 and upwards. They are not guaranteed or tested for Word for Mac.

Other track changes articles on this website

Track changes 1 – why use it, where can you find it, what can you do with it?

Track changes 2 – customising Track Changes

Track changes 3 – working with a document with tracked changes

How do I accept one reviewer’s changes?

Why are my tracked changes changing colour?

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2019 in Copyediting, proofreading, Skillset, Word

 

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How do I know when Track Changes is turned on? Word 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016

This article quickly explains how you know when track changes is turned on.

Do also read these articles to find out more about track changes: what Track Changes is, why we use it and where to find it, and how to customise Track Changes to suit our own preferences and learned how to work with a document that has Tracked Changes.

We turn on track changes to make sure that whoever else is using the document can see what changes (additions, deletions, moving text) we have made in the text. If you are working with an editor, they will typically turn track changes on so you can see what they have suggested. When my clients send me back amendments to a text they’re working on, I ask them to turn track changes on so I can see easily what they have done to the document.

How do I know when track changes is turned on in Word 2007 and Word 2010?

Word 2007 and Word 2010 look a bit different from later versions.

When track changes is turned on, you will see the button highlighted in orange:

This means that every change you make will be displayed in Word and other people will be able to see them if they have the correct view in their version of Word.

If the button is white, like the rest of the area, track changes it not turned on.

How do I know when track changes is turned on in Word 2013 and Word 2016?

Word 2013 and Word 2017 look different and the highlighting is more difficult to see, in my opinion.

When track changes is turned on, you will see the button highlighted in blue-grey:

This means that every change you make to the document will be displayed in Word and other people will be able to see them if they have the correct view in their version of Word.

When track changes is off, the button will be white, like the rest of the area.

If you want highlighting to be in a different colour, you will need to change the theme, and that’s for another article!


This article has taught you how to check whether you have track changes turned on in your Word document. See the links below for more track changes articles.

If you have found this article useful, please share or “like” it using the buttons below, or leave me a comment to tell me what you think. Thank you!

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents.

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 all for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Relevant articles on this website

Track changes 1 – why use it, where can you find it, what can you do with it?

Track changes 2 – customising Track Changes

Track changes 3 – working with a document with tracked changes

How do I accept one reviewer’s changes?

Why are my tracked changes changing colour?

 

 
 

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How do I move text using my Navigation pane in Word? How do I reorder the headings?

If you have set up Headings styles in your Word document, you can use the Navigation pane to move sections around the document without having to use cut-and-paste and endless scrolling. This article tells you how.

 

Note that this only works if you have applied headings styles to your document, i.e. marked your headings as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. (see information on how to do this here).

How do I access the Navigation pane?

Please see this article with screen shots if you need help viewing the Navigation pane:

Press Control-F

or

View tab, tick the box next to Navigation Pane Show

How do I use the Navigation pane to move text?

You can use the Navigation pane to move all of the text under one heading. If you choose a heading with sub-headings, all of the text in the sub-headed sections will also move.

First, click on the heading for the text you want to move:

You can see that you will navigate to that heading in the document itself.

Then keep left mouse button clicked down and drag the heading up or down the list of headings (it will scroll automatically if you reach the top or bottom). A black line will appear at the insertion point:

When you’ve got the heading where you want it, let go of the mouse button to drop it into position. The whole of the text under that heading (including the text under any sub-headings) will have now moved:


This article has taught you how to move text under headings using the Navigation pane in Word. I hope you’ve found this article useful. Do please add a comment or use the sharing buttons below if you have found it useful or interesting. Thank you!

Other useful articles on this blog

Applying Heading Styles

How to Access the Navigation Pane

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2018 in Word, Writing

 

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How do I view my Navigation pane in Word? How do I see the headings in a list?

If you have set Headings Styles in your Word document, you can view the headings in your document using the Navigation pane. This article tells you how.

Why do I need to look at the Navigation pane?

If you have a long document with lots of headings, it’s really useful to get a view, a bit like a Contents page, showing all your headings and sub-headings.

The Navigation pane also gives you a handy way to move sections of your document around without too much copy-pasting and scrolling. Watch out for instructions on that, coming soon!

Note that this only works if you have applied headings styles to your document, i.e. marked your headings as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. (see information on how to do this here). If you haven’t applied headings styles, Word can’t know what’s a heading and what’s normal text, so won’t be able to display your headings in the Navigation pane.

How do I access the Navigation pane?

Initially, your document will look like this: just the text on a page:

There are two ways to access the Navigation pane:

1. Press the Control and F keys at the same time.

2. Go to the View tab and tick the box next to Navigation Pane Show

In both cases, if you have headings set up in your document, you will now see the Navigation pane on the left-hand side of your screen:

You can see here that you have the top-level headings and sub-headings showing in your Navigation pane.

Make sure you are in headings view by checking the tabs at the top. You should be on the left-hand one:

How do I use the Navigation pane?

You can click on any heading in the Navigation pane to move directly to that heading in the document. For example, clicking on the “All about Twitter” heading in my Navigation pane will take me to that heading:

You can also use the Navigation pane to move chunks of text around, but I’ll talk about that in another article.

How do I close the Navigation pane?

You can close the Navigation pane using the x in the top right corner of the pane, or by unticking Navigation pane show.


This article has explained what the Navigation pane is, why you might find it useful and how to use it to view your document headings.

I hope you’ve found this article useful. Do please add a comment or use the sharing buttons below if you have found it useful or interesting. Thank you!

Other useful articles on this blog

Applying Heading Styles

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2018 in Word, Writing

 

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How do I combine Word documents without losing the formatting?

I’ve written about how to combine Word documents in this article. But what if combining documents loses the formatting?

I had a question in a comment from someone who had used my method to combine several chapters of a textbook. But the formatting all got lost. What should she do?

How to combine Word documents and not lose the format

Before you combine the documents into one big document, add a Section Break at the end of each document you want to combine.

I’ve covered this in more detail in this article, but here’s a summary with a screenshot from Word 2013.

  • Go to the Page Layout tab
  • Find the Breaks section and drop it down using the little arrow
  • Select Section Break – Next page

Once you’ve done this to all your documents, combine them. You might find you have some extra blank pages at the end of sections: turn Paragraph Marks on (see this article for how to do that) so that you can see your Section Breaks. Carefully delete the blank pages but leave the section breaks there.

This should retain your individual formatting in each individual document that you’ve combined.


If you’ve found this article on how to combine Word documents without losing the formatting, useful, please comment or share using the buttons below. Happy document-combining!

Other useful articles on this website

How do I combine several Word documents?

How do I insert section breaks in Word?

Viewing paragraph marks and other mark-up

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2017 in Copyediting, Short cuts, Word, Writing

 

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