Take some time to think about the implications of each of these situations and discuss them with other students:
• A medical researcher falsifies the results of a new anti-cancer drug to make his discovery seem more important.
• A writer submits an idea for a series to a television company, who turn it down. A few months later, they broadcast an almost identical programme. She never receives any acknowledgment or payment.
• A minority of students at a particular university are acquiring essays via the Internet, and the university authorities have failed to stop the practice. This has led to a decline in the universitys reputation and all their graduates (even genuinely first class students) are now finding it hard to get a job.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the word given to a particular kind of academic dishonesty - passing off someone elses work, ideas or words as your own. It can sometimes be unintentional, particularly when your previous educational experience may have actively encouraged an approach to coursework that centred on the compilation of material from outside sources. One definition of the term is given here:
“ Plagiarism may take the form of repeating another’s [words] as your own...or even presenting someone else’s line of thinking...as though it were your own. In short, to plagiarise is to give the impression that you have written or thought something that you have in fact borrowed from another. Although a writer may use other people’s words and thoughts, they must be acknowledged as such.”
(Modern Languages Association (1977) Handbook for writers of research papers, theses and dissertations New York: MLA 5)
Of course, with the growth of the Internet it is not just printed works that can be used. At school many children are encouraged to cut and paste from webpages for their projects, but this in itself would be regarded as plagiarism in higher education if the webpages were not properly acknowledged and... [continues]
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- MLA 7
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