Why students commit plagiarism

Publicado em Agosto 2017

Before thinking carefully about this question, it’s really crucial to remember that there are different kinds of plagiarism, and treating them all alike is like claiming that a candy-bar thief should be punished like Bernie Madoff. That’s not because feelings never justify action – if you and the student had a dinner date (after the semester was over, of course!! Like the author and commenters at the ISW post, it seemed to me that plagiarism is the worst kind of crime and deserves the worst kind of punishment. Since my aim as an instructor is to teach, and I measure my success in large part by the work students present to me, I can best appreciate how well I am accomplishing my aim (and thereby serving the students as a whole), by seeing and grading work that has been honestly produced rather than plagiarized. This definition applies to ideas, words and unusual structures regardless of where you find them—in a book, on a webpage, in an email. If all this applies, then by no means are you committing self-plagiarism. This is why it is important to deter plagiarism, and thus why it is important to set things up so that getting caught plagiarizing is substantially worse than simply not doing the assignment well. And if it was the instructor asking this question, and there is no university policy, then I imagine it'd be a judgment call by the instructor (I'd allow it myself). Andrew – That’s a good practical consideration. In an email from Ed White, citing the book he and Bloom edited, Inquiry, Prentice Hall, 1993, p. In the same way, a cop isn’t justified in giving you a bigger fine if you don’t call him “sir”. “Every writer has his or her own intellectual identity, though most ideas inevitably come from outside sources. Edlund explains in “What Is ‘Plagiarism’ and Why Do People Do It? Simultaneously, I empathize with the instructor and I am baffled by why I empathize. All major ideas are included. 2) Submitting prior material that was completed and submitted for a course that the student took an an unaccredited university (or a university whose accreditation is not recognized by the student's current institution as legitimate). Any paraphrase requires the same kind of citation as an exact quotation. So, given that I hate wasting my time, write essay online help and that plagiarism wastes my time on a pretty unpleasant activity at the expense of allowing me to spend that time actually accomplishing my main goals in grading, it seems permissible to take punitive measures against plagiarism to deter future plagiarism. Jeremy, in that quote I don’t think I was being as clear as I should have been. In the United States, plagiarism is a serious offense. The material itself is not published in any way available to the public nor does the original source have any constraints on its public exposure (check this part with the institution just in case). I am fine thinking that, qua considerations about that course itself, the student should be disproportionately punished for cheating. Is it plagiarism for a student to submit material that was written prior to the course start date or otherwise outside of the supervision of the instructor as long as the material was written outside the aegis of academia? I want to know whether there is any justification for plagiarism being punished so harshly, so it makes sense to consider the most serious kind of violation. I’m just saying that these consequences should be part of the judgment of whether failure is justified why students commit plagiarism in a given case. Lewis, I totally agree that in the right kinds of scenarios, disproportionate penalties are justified as a deterrent. For me, plagiarizing comes down to this: It fails to show that the student has demonstrated competency in a specific area of the class, or for a specific assignment. I’ve adjuncted in departments where both the rules and the culture strongly encourage every “academic integrity” violation to be reported to an independent council. Usually a paraphrase is a bit shorter than the original, but when terms or concepts have to be defined, a paraphrase might actually be longer. Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s ideas or language without acknowledging that they were not created by you. Once you’ve given someone a zero on the specific assignment that was plagiarized (which I agree does not constitute punishment if the work was indeed wholly plagiarized), it seems as if there aren’t many more punishments in the control of the professor beyond failure for the course. ), this would seem to be ethically equivalent to submitting material completed under the supervision of a private tutor. (and you can also be in violation of copyright IF the original work was circulated commercially). A responsible use of sources recognizes that identity and distinguishes clearly between what you think and what the sources think. Docking points from a different assignment doesn’t seem fair somehow (though I’m not sure why it seems that way, given that failure for the entire course seems at least legitimate but it ultimately devalues every assignment). G. , paraphrasing them in our own words after the quotation, summarizing them, or, better still, arguing or supporting them with our own ideas and evidence), we have not successfully mastered those ideas (but at least we have not committed plagiarism). Sometimes the Dean tacks on something else, sometimes the student reviewers tack on even more. For instance, I might favor a system that allows students who perform poorly in a class to withdraw the class entirely from their transcript, insofar as the consequences of a bad grade in the class go well beyond simply signaling failure in that particular course. I agree with both these points. They may not get credit for that lesson, but it is a lesson to learn. Such plagiarism is often accidental, but its consequences are the same as for intentional plagiarism. But, unless we actively engage with the ideas themselves (e. ”: Cultural Confusion: In other words, there are many cultural differences in the way people use the ideas and language of others. Few would claim, I’d guess, that a $1000 fine would be an appropriate punishment for plagiarism, not necessarily because it’s disproportionate but because it’s not relevant to the offense. Accidental plagiarism usually occurs because we do not understand the cultural conventions of academic writing and citation. In the past I have taken hard stances against plagiarizers, stances which at write my admission essay service the time made a lot of sense to me. And I might be okay with this system applying to students who receive poor research paper on racism marks for honest work as well as for students who cheat. That said, I don’t have any ready ideas for what a suitable deterrent might be. In most western countries, and certainly in the United States, there is a very real sense that writers own their ideas and the words they use to express those ideas. ) But I think it makes sense to ask the instructor if it would be OK. But the assumption that harsher is better why students commit plagiarism that I so often see in instructors appears to me to be essay on a dream far off wright my assignments of the mark. Whether they learn that lesson or not is a different matter. It is often an unpleasant activity, but, an instructor can accomplish the goal on any assignment that was written so as to honestly present the student’s understanding of the material. My purpose in grading is to help give informative feedback to students about how well the understand the material and how well they are able to convey that understanding within the boundaries of the assignment. So the question is whether the benefit of punishment in a given case (upholding a system that deters students from wasting your time, which in turn leads to better teaching) outweighs those negative effects. Why teach intellectual honesty that way? However, there is a thin line between concern for the student’s knowledge why students commit plagiarism of social customs on the one hand and hurt feelings or anger on behalf of the instructor. Yet failing a student in the class, while apparently more relevant, can have just such irrelevant consequences for the student. Few would say that you should teach philosophy, or chemistry, or poliical science, or mathematics, by threatening and slapping students. There are numerous reasons why people plagiarize (e. A recent post at the great philosophy teaching blog In Socrates’ Wake had a reader asking the audience whether, by not automatically giving a student an F for the course after plagiarizing a one-page assignment, he had “gone soft”. As John R. And time spent dealing with plagiarized work is time not spent dealing with honestly generated work. I take away from these considerations that there are both moral and prudential reasons that justify the punishment of plagiarism. There is a broad spectrum of actions one could reasonably take in reaction to a cheater, ranging from expulsion to doing absolutely nothing. But when you fail a student for a course, you produce effects that go beyond the scope of what it means to teach (at least if teaching is construed narrowly enough): a student might have to fork out more money for extra semesters, a student might not be able to get a job because of blemishes on his record, whatever. Most self-plagiarism policies that I've seen, such as Harvard's, mention that the prior work must have been submitted to another course for it to constitute why students commit plagiarism self-plagiarism. Lewis – I’m very glad you wrote this, why students commit plagiarism as I have mixed feelings about this particular justification. Whether you would get caught depends on whether that non-accredited institution submitted your work into the universal database (Turnitin or whatever). But the classroom dynamic is fundamentally different. , not having enough time to think about and write the paper, wanting to get a better grade, feeling that the course is irrelevant to their career plans and hence not worth their time or effort, insecurity about their own writing ability, struggles with a second language). I don’t think it goes beyond the scope at all. A similar explanation will have to be given for your justification, then. I don’t mean that the lesson “don’t plagiarize” is not within the scope of teaching – it most certainly is. Whenever you include another person’s information or wording in a document, you must acknowledge the source and include a citation that will tell your readers where you obtained it—otherwise you are guilty of plagiarism. Maybe negative points? Definitions may vary, but I have always considered citation to be a protection against any sort of plagiarism. I mean that certain kinds of punishments, while strictly speaking within the rights of the professor, have repercussions far beyond what is normally the scope of the instructor’s powers. It is no sin to accept another person’s idea…. In the second case, even if an institution is non-accredited, technically you still submitted the work to be graded, which is tantamount to "publishing" it. Plagiarism in the professional world can lead to, at the very least, profound embarrassment and loss of reputation and, often, to loss of employment. I think I was leaving unstated that I am okay with treating them differently, given that there is a negative mark on their records, but I might be okay the situation I described above as well. Unless otherwise mentioned, then, this is the kind of plagiarism I’m talking about. Of course they can then flunk you for not putting in enough work on the assignment... But you must interpose yourself between the sources and your writing, thus making other peoples’ ideas your own through a process of critical scrutiny. You’re in effect teaching them a lesson, that plagiarism is unacceptable in your class, and can hopefully iterate the reasons why. Since an unaccredited university is, for most intents and purposes in academia, academically equivalent to no university at all (degrees and credits are not recognized, etc. Additional assignments (a paper on why cheating is bad might be appropriate in a philosophy class, at least) isn’t a bad idea, but I don’t like pitching writing as a punishment. I do not think that “I don’t like to have my time wasted” is a legitimate reason for punishing the student. ) that punishment is justified to keep people from doing it. Plagiarizing wastes the time and energy of the grader. I’m not sure why I said that was a good contrast and then went on to say I’d dlsu ct thesis be okay with treating the cases symmetrically. ”—Ed White and Lynn Bloom (qtd. You say that your aim is to teach, which is certainly a valuable goal, both for the students and for you. G. You say that your aim is to teach, which is certainly a valuable goal, both for the students and for you. However, my thought was presuming something more like a deterrent theory of punishment. In retrospect, this attitude seems ludicrous. This requires measures that are “punitive” insofar as they go beyond a simply evaluation of the performance on the assignment (as I noted, I don’t think giving a plagiarized paper a 0 is punitive, since it is an accurate reflection of the student’s performance on the assignment, punitive treatment of plagiarism occurs when the negative consequences for plagiarism are worse than simply not doing the assignment). If we quote those words and cite the source, we have taken a significant step in avoiding plagiarism. A “policing of their own,” so to speak. If the point is to teach a general point about courtesy or respect (ie it’s wrong to waste other people’s time), I agree that there is at least some why students commit plagiarism responsibility for the teacher to teach such a thing (to whatever extent instructors are responsible for the general moral development of their students, which in my view is non-negligible). If it hasn't been submitted, it can't be self-plagiarism. I’m not saying that students should therefore never be failed for classes because of plagiarism. I think Andy explained one way of taking what I mean. 445). I’ve found the student ethics committee is far harsher on fellow students, which I actually like. In particular, it seems unacceptable to shrug and say “Well, you were warned” – “fair warning” does not justify unjust punishment. The instructor does not cease to have personal feelings or to be a human being, of course, but by accepting certain division homework sheets ks2 powers (the power to give grades, etc) he thereby forfeits some of the spoils of regular human interaction, such as the right to punish someone for conduct they find personally offensive. So, in spite of what your own home culture says and feels about the use of others’ ideas, the old advice—”when in Rome, do as the Romans do”—applies to the use of sources—”when in the United States (and several other western countries), cite sources. For students who have plagiarized in my classes, I’ve sent the assignment in divine comedy resume question to the Dean, with a recommended punishment (I’ve always recommended failure for the assignment). Handicapped parking fines might be an example: any given actual incident probably doesn’t have much (if any) negative utility, but the cause is important enough (remember the episode of Seinfeld? If it was, even if it was unaccredited, it is reuse. ). Just make it obvious what part was copied and where it was copied from and you're not plagiarizing. ” Difficult Concepts: In addition to cultural confusion, at times we slide into plagiarism when we are dealing with concepts that we simply do not understand, and it seems that the best way to convey those ideas to our readers is simply to use the words of the original author. Even if it’s supposed to make for an even playing field, the very act of reporting an incident to an outside committee has the appearance of making it Very Serious (can you think of any other circumstances when teaching where you’re forced to turn to outsiders in a systematic way? Plagiarized work does not serve this end, and, as a result, any time spent evaluating plagiarized work is time wasted. ) and the student left you waiting for thirty minutes, you would arguably be justified in punishing the student due to your anger (giving them the cold shoulder or whatever). That seems like a reasonable punishment to me. Why is the transition from “hard” to “soft” to be found between failing the course and not failing the course, a consequence that seems to be pretty far toward the severe end of the spectrum? But when you fail a student for a course, you produce effects that go beyond the scope of what it means to teach (at least if teaching is construed narrowly enough): a student might have to fork out more money for extra semesters, a student might not be able to get a job because of blemishes on his record, whatever. I definitely see the appeal in theory: potentially fairer treatment for students, and decreased responsibility for the faculty. Paraphrase: To paraphrase is to put the ideas in a passage into our own words, usually following the order in which the ideas were presented in the original. If any kind of plagiarism is going to warrant harsh treatment, presumably this will be it. I take it that this would be a student who copies (buys, whatever) an entire paper and passes it off as his own. You are publishing a material with the intention to benefit a wider scientific community in addition for receiving credit for doing so. My sense is that in most cases the answer is no. But in practice there’s something wrong with the whole system. I don't think the question ought to be "will I be caught by TurnItIn". Famous cases of plagiarism include the historian Stephen Ambrose (accusations about six of his books have been made, most famously about The Wild Blue) and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin (who ended up asking the publisher to destroy all unsold copies of The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys).