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Subject:

Re: Plagiarism in context: HOW A SIMPLE ERROR IN SETTING UP A DOCUMENT CAN GIVE RISE TO AN ACCUSATION OF PLAGIARISM

From:

Derek Ord <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Plagiarism <[log in to unmask]>, Derek Ord <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 6 Jun 2006 12:01:23 +0100

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (244 lines) , text/plain (10 lines)

I agree that a discussion is very useful.  I'm just looking for something
concrete to come out of it!




Derek.

_________________________________
Derek Ord
Head of Student Administrative Services
University of Hull
(01482) 465980


-----Original Message-----
From: Plagiarism [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sophie
McGlinn - USSU Education
Sent: 06 June 2006 11:36
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Plagiarism in context: HOW A SIMPLE ERROR IN SETTING UP A
DOCUMENT CAN GIVE RISE TO AN ACCUSATION OF PLAGIARISM


Potentially setting myself up for some criticism, but I actually found Dr 
Levin's article quite useful! I know that all the academics on this list 
have picked up on his general criticisms of HEI teaching methods, which may 
or may not be justified when it comes to the individuals on this list.

However, I am delighted that the motivations of students who commit 
academic misconduct, beyond mere confusion over the definition, are finally 
being debated. I work with students who have been accused of misconduct, 
and also with partners in the University to combat the root problem. As far 
as I'm concerned, any discussion of why misconduct takes place can only 
help us find ways to address it.

Sophie

--On 06 June 2006 09:13 +0100 Derek Ord <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Having read this thread for the past few days, I wonder how on Earth 
> we manage to advise our students at all.
>
> I have great sympathy for student accused of plagiarism (or is that 
> "guilty" of plagiarism through error?)
>
> I'm not an expert in plagiarism, but do have to deal with the cases 
> administratively.  It often strikes me that even though as an 
> institution we have clear definitions, even within individual 
> departments there is variation in understanding.  How do the students 
> know where they stand if academics have the problems listed in this 
> email thread?
>
> This recent thread has not enlightened me at all on the best way to 
> deal with the problem in our student body.
>
>
>
> (And now I'm almost scared to post, in case someone picks up on some 
> error in my text!)
>
>
>
> Derek.
> _________________________________
> Derek Ord
> Head of Student Administrative Services
> University of Hull
> (01482) 465980
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Plagiarism [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jon 
> Appleton
> Sent: 05 June 2006 17:43
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Plagiarism in context: HOW A SIMPLE ERROR IN SETTING UP A 
> DOCUMENT CAN GIVE RISE TO AN ACCUSATION OF PLAGIARISM
>
>
> I trust this won't simply appear pedantic but I think that there is an 
> important definition at stake here.  I would argue that plagiarism 
> does not require an intent to deceive
> - if the work appears to pass the work of others off as your own, then 
> it is plagiarism.  Hence, when Peter Levin says:
>
> "a beautiful example of how a simple error in setting up a document 
> can lead to the writer being accused of plagiarism",
>
> I think that should actually read:
>
> "a beautiful example of how a simple error in setting up a document 
> can lead to the writer committing plagiarism".
>
> Clearly this error was not as heinous a breach as if Levin had omitted 
> all references from that paragraph altogether. But, without checking 
> the reference, it was impossible to tell what part of the text was not 
> Levin's own work - was he acknowledging a similar idea in the 
> reference to those he expressed in the paragraph?  Was it that he had 
> quoted the final sentence of the paragraph?  Was it, as turned out to
> be the case, that he had quoted the whole paragraph?  Or,
> had this occurred in a piece of work that did not have a
> quote immediately preceding it, did this mean that actually
> the previous several pages was a direct quote?
>
> And, before I am accused me of exaggerating for the sake of the 
> argument, I have been in exactly this last situation with a student 
> over their final year synoptic dissertation - they had copied large 
> chunks of it verbatim and claimed that, as they had put an endnote 
> flag at the end of each multi-page lift, they had not done anything 
> wrong.  Unlike Levin, their submission was not due to a error in their
> layout but in their understanding.  But, if we had detected
> them doing this, even by error, in their first or second
> years, we would have been able to save them from the far
> worse difficulties they found themselves in at that late
> stage in their course.
>
> There is also a deeper issue (for those of us who believe that passing 
> off others work as our own is wrong).  It is very difficult to prove 
> that someone intended to cheat when they are found to have submitted 
> the work of others as their own, given the endless list of possible 
> excuses about not understanding what plagiarism is, or not 
> understanding how to paraphrase without plagiarising, or not 
> understanding how to reference properly, or not understanding how to 
> take notes and then use them without subsequently plagiarising,
> etc, etc all compounded by the personal difficulties the
> student was going through at the time, or the time pressures
> caused by a clash of deadlines or by the need to work to pay
> the tuition fees, or the friend who typed up the essay but
> didn't understand about footnotes or who missed out some of
> the references, or the strange computer programme that
> destroyed all the careful layout indicating quotes, etc, etc
> (some few of which may even be, in the case of some
> students, at least partly true).  If we do not take all
> plagiarism seriously, whether or not we can safely conclude
> that it was deliberate, and impose penalties for it based
> primarily on the extent of the plagiarism, it is almost
> impossible to penalise most cases of deliberate cheating and
> that is an offence against those students who do submit
> their own work, who expect others to do likewise and who
> expect the University to detect and punish those who do not.
>
> Jon Appleton
> Oxford Brookes
>
> [log in to unmask] wrote:
>
>>
>> I am indebted to Jon Appleton for a beautiful example of how a simple 
>> error in setting up a document can lead to the writer being accused 
>> of
> plagiarism. The paragraph to which he refers in the extract below, 
> which is at the foot of page 3 of my paper, should have been indented. 
> By an error on my part (now corrected), it wasn't. Just as well that 
> I'm not a student at Brookes, where - even though that paragraph was 
> properly footnoted - 'we are clear that this would be regarded as 
> plagiarism'!
>>
>> Just possibly a slight excess of zeal here?
>>
>> Peter Levin
>>
>> ________________________________
>>
>> From: Plagiarism on behalf of Jon Appleton
>> Sent: Mon 05/06/2006 14:14
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: Plagiarism in context
>>
>>
>> Jon Appleton wrote: ...
>>
>> I was also intrigued by Levin's fifth reference (at the foot of page 
>> 3).  Nothing is in quotes and nothing is inset, so what text is the 
>> reference referring to?  On checking the reference, it can be found 
>> that, in fact, the whole paragraph is a direct quote from the source 
>> but this is effectively hidden from the reader.  In other words, it 
>> gives the appearance that the author has developed certain ideas (or, 
>> at the very least, has reformulated certain ideas of others) when, in 
>> fact, they were simply copied verbatim from the work of someone else.
>>
>> At Oxford Brookes, we are clear that this would be regarded as 
>> plagiarism (although, if there was only one instance in the work 
>> submitted and particularly if the student was at an early stage of 
>> their course, it would not be particularly serious plagiarism) 
>> because we believe that it is essential to ensure that students 
>> understand the importance of very clearly distinguishing between, in 
>> the biblical phrase, mine and thine in the work they submit for 
>> assessment.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
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Sophie McGlinn, Education Officer
University of Sussex Students' Union
Falmer House,
Uni of Sussex,
BN1 9QF
01273-873324
[log in to unmask]

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