Cites & Bytes @ Bailey

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Continuing Adventures of ResearchGrrl: "Those are my words... Someone else just wrote them first..." & The Mystery of Turnitin

Plagiarism- it's something that few people ever think they'll do, yet cases continue to concern professors and administrators alike. Slippery Rock University calls plagiarism by a different name- "academic dishonesty." But don't let the euphemism fool you, if you are guilty of academic dishonesty there are some stiff consequences that you can face.

As per the SRU Academic Procedures & Policies page (, students who plagiarise can face penalties up to suspension or dismissal from the University. And don't think that your indiscretion will only be between you and the instructor, all sorts of people will be informed of it.

The simple way to avoid all the trouble is to not plagiarise. If you are having any questions about whether or not what you are doing is plagiarism, it probably is. Check out the above link, it provides a comprehensive list of what academic dishonesty is. But the simple fact of the matter is, if what you are turning in is not entirely your work and you don't give authors credit through citation, then you are plagiarising.

Now here's an interesting thing to point out for those of you who believe yourselves to be mastermind geniuses who can get away with plagiarising. Professors have a wide variety of tools to use in verifying that your work is really yours. Blackboard offers this really fun service called Turnitin and it's such a handy thing that some professors will only accept papers turned in this way. What Turnitin does is check your paper against a massive database of papers. It can tell with impressive accuracy when a student has copied another's work.

Now you may be wondering what you are supposed to get out of this, so my friends, I will sum this up for you.
~Plagiarism is not an accident. You know when you're doing it and can avoid it.
~Plagiarism is far more likely to result in a failure than an A.
~Academic dishonesty is just that- DISHONEST- so don't do it.
~If you plagiarise, you will get caught.

There are so many resources available for helping you if you are having problems with a paper so there is no reason that you should ever feel the desire to commit academic dishonesty. You can even use the services of the Writing Center in room 300 if you need help!

And I don't think I can say it enough, plagiarising is wrong! Don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't plagiarise!

Keep Reading the Continuing Adventures of ResearchGrrl! (And if you want to talk to the Grrl her AIM is SRUResearchGrrl)


Blogger Melba Tomeo said...

Grrl, you are so right! Don't some professors use Turnitin as a teaching tool, too? For instance, if you can submit your paper early in the process, you can actually see where you need to have citations and where you might have plagiarized. Professors can also tell when a student suddenly develops some eloquent phraseology that isn't the norm and a quick Google often reveals the source. Live by the 'net, die by the 'net. I think it is one of those situations where it takes more time and effort to cheat than it would to get some assistance and do an honest job.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very true...i went to a private high school much like that one in 'dead poets society' - a friend with straight a's, and a yale legacy (3rd generation) succumbed to some pressure to produce in senior spring after being admitted...he got busted copying, the school notified yale and they rescinded...learn from these stories (if you're doing it)...

9:11 PM  
Blogger Leigh Forbes said...

Unfortunately, I've discovered plagiarism in the Intro to Education course (using Turnitin). Students seem shocked that I treat it as a major issue. Those students have discovered that the results of plagiarizing can be more than just a failing grade. If found guilty of plagiarizing in the education department you may be counseled to consider a change of major. It is reflected on our disposition forms (paperwork required for recommendation for certification). Plagiarism also breaks the PA Code of Ethics for educators. Plagiarism can be grounds for not issuing a teaching certificate or losing a certificate already held. You're best bet is to not plagiarize!!

10:21 PM  
Blogger PJT said...

Part of the problem is that the concept of integrity in our intellectual endeavor has eroded considerably as the technology to steal other people's ideas has expanded. This is not a higher education problem-- it is a societal problem that extends, beyond the academy, to the broader domain of intellectual property in general: copyright, patent and trademark. I say start teaching about this early and often. PJT

5:09 AM  

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