Plagiarizing?

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Thu May 15 19:01:21 EDT 2003


>Scholarly works of research aren't totally original either, but I think
>the rules of the game there are that sources had better be scrupulously
>listed and quotations properly attributed or else. Even then I would
>probably assume that an omission *was* just a mistake unless claims to the
>contrary were made by the author. I mean, I've had student's essays where
>the student has nodded off & begun to copy out bits from the source text &
>I've just hauled them in & frightened them a bit so they'll learn that
>academics Really Care About This Stuff and be more careful in future, but
>I don't assume there is malice aforethought involved.

Really? You must be really honest. I think most of the time when plagiarism 
occurs, it is pretty deliberate. By this I include instances when writers 
(students or academics) just can't be bothered to do things properly - ie 
your "nodded off" scenario. There is no excuse for this, if you proofread 
you essay, it should be obvious that it happened, because the tone will 
change. I don't let students get away with anything approaching plagiarism, 
because in my experience they know exactly what they are doing, and are 
good at thinking up excuses when challenged. Like, I had a student who took 
an essay from a website, and her excuse was, "oh, I got it from a friend; I 
had no idea she got it from the web". Seriously, like that was better. 
Another one said "I wrote one paragraph myself, surely that should count 
for something".

Robyn 
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