Thursday 21 November 2019

Palace of Plag

I written several times about plagiarism before. My definition is Ripping off somebody's ideas and presenting them as your own.  It's not so clear when you get down to details. Every year around this time we have a class on plagiarism which requires everyone to think a little harder than the glib answer I trotted out. Actually thinking (and discussing) about the edge cases makes it more likely that people will do the right thing later. This year, for a change, I asked the kids to define plagiarism in student’s own words:
  1. Plagiarism is using someone else’s work (text, pictures etc.) as your own. 
  2. Plagiarism is a quote from a source that you can use in internet and that should written in your own words. 
  3. Plagiarism is rewriting someone else’s text. Not giving the sources of the text. 
  4. When you don’t acknowledge someone for their work looks like they’re your own words. 
  5. The copying of information and claiming it to be your own without referencing or giving any sources as to where the information originates. 
  6. Plagiarism is when a person submits the work of other man/people as their own without permission or referencing. 
  7. Plagiarism is taking someone else’s work and saying its your own work and without giving any credit to the writer. 
  8. To copy someone else’s work without them knowing and claiming it as your own.
Professor Naive might think that the students now understand what plagiarism is and would never commit the sin. But s/he'd be wrong, or at least couldn't be right in all cases because no two students have precisely the same answers to a questionnaire asking them to judge a number of scenarios as plagiarism or not-plagiarism. There is a certain formality in the way academics, and by extension their students, cite and reference other people's work. It provides an audit trail in case any reader wants to follow up the ideas.

Credit where credit is due: these plagiarism exercises were designed by The University of Leeds; for which much thanks.

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