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December 17, 2004

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susan

May I ask if what you find is usually a case of uncited research, or more of the bulk of the idea within the paper?

Hugo

It's usually entire chunks of uncited research; if they were only stealing ideas and rephrasing them, I could almost live with that. Mostly, it's stuff that is taken verbatim off various websites.

Christopher

That's been my experience of plagiarism on papers I've graded as well...entire chunks!?

Jonathan Dresner

I've had students continue to challenge my verdict even AFTER I showed them the webpage.... coincidence, he said. A paragraph's worth of coincidence.....

I'm about to dive into my world history final essays, and I'm probably going to be googling for a while, too.

Miranda

I've never really understood plagiarism... stupid, stupid, stupid. And insulting to the teacher, I'd think...as if "entire chunks" *wouldn't* jump off the page at anyone with half an eye for writing?

This isn't to say that I've always read every single chapter of assigned stuff, or always absolutely thoroughly researched everything to the best of my ability...but, IMO, when in a bind, the best solution is to glean as much info as you can and and then b.s. really well...that way, at least it's *your* b.s. and not someone else's. (not that I've ever done that for one of Hugo's papers, of course...)

susan

That's why I don't understand why they do it. To show an instructor that you've bothered to look up and find the material, it behooves the student to cite it (the more citations the better!) Then you can expand upon the idea with another sentence or short paragraph to agree or refute, or, a little eloquent b.s.

Catherine Hazelton

Upon first reading, your post invoked vivid memories of last fall when I caught my inaugural round of plagiarized papers. I felt disappointed and insulted. When I indignantly reported the blatant acts of acadmic dishoneesty (whole unattributed sentences, sometimes pages!) to the political science department at Berkeley, they told me that usually nothing happens to these students! Apparently most professors don't want to hassle with filing a claim so serial plagiarists get away with it semseter after semester. I failed each of the students but the professor under whom I was working did not want to press it any further.

Tonight I caught my first plagiarist of the current semester. Like you, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I felt a certain joy when I caught the deception. My joy fluttered wider when I discovered the depth of the dishonesty. With a little googling, I discovered more than twenty plagiarized quotes within a nine page paper.

While admittedly I do feel some smug sense of victory, mostly I continue to feel disappointed and insulted. These students are not only disrespecting my knowledge of the available literature and ability to discern one writing style from another, but they are disgracing the university. I have immense pride in this institution and feel offended and angry when students cast shame upon it by plagiarizing. I might be even angrier with the university for ignoring this rampant problem. Berkeley and other academic institutions must stand up to this dispicable problem.

P.S. If a student plagiarized like this at Scripps College when I attended there as an undergrad, they would have been sitting on top of their suitcases in the Dean of Students office within hours of discovery. This simply was not tolerated in Claremont. There is no excuse for it at elsewhere.

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