Plagiarism – Do You Copy That?

by VickyRN Asst. Admin

The curious off-black smoky color to the font and section headings with an odd bluish hue alerted the instructor that something was seriously amiss with the student’s writing assignment. Upon further investigation, the educator was dismayed to find that the entire student report had been cut and pasted from an article on the Internet. A simple web search revealed the exact source, furnishing the incriminating evidence that the paper had been plagiarized in its entirety.

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    Plagiarism – Do You Copy That?

    In this digital age, plagiarism has never been so easy – and so prevalent. Millennial students often do not realize that lifting words from the internet is cheating. They may feel entitled to take information from web-based sources without any constraint or attribution, since they have grown up in the digital age where copious amounts of information have always been so freely available.

    Plagiarism is defined as the “unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work” (“plagiarism,” n.d.). Plagiarism is a form of cheating, dishonesty, and theft – literary theft. The writer has assumed ownership of the original thoughts, language, and material of another, without properly documenting the source.

    Plagiarism includes such deliberate acts as:
    • Buying or borrowing another person’s paper
    • Hiring another person to write an assignment
    • Cutting and pasting material without proper citation

    Accidental plagiarism, on the other hand, is unintentional and often involves sloppy research practices with improper or deficient reference citations. Students need to be aware that ignorance of proper citation methods does not excuse the act of plagiarism.

    Most, if not all, learning institutions have an academic dishonesty policy that defines and addresses plagiarism and spells out its consequences. The consequences of plagiarism can be grave, including academic warnings, expulsion, and a marred scholastic record that can negatively affect one’s career opportunities throughout life.

    Best practices in academic writing require extensive research, analysis, and synthesis of others’ ideas, with careful and meticulous citation of sources. The writer builds upon others’ works, while offering a significant original revision, improvement, or scholarly contribution.

    Clues for educators to plagiarism in written assignments include odd shades, fonts, and formatting of text, errant footnotes, and noticeable variations in writing styles within the same paper. Pasting a few suspect sentences into a mega-search engine such as dogpile.com will often yield instantaneous results. Educators can also use sophisticated software such as turnitin and dupli checker.

    References

    Avoiding plagiarism

    Defining and avoiding plagiarism: the wpa statement on best practices

    plagiarism. (n.d.). dictionary.com unabridged. retrieved from dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/plagiarism

    Plagiarism lines blur for students in digital age

    proper citation
    Last edit by Joe V on Feb 3, '13
    VivaLasViejas, hikernurse, P_RN, and 8 others like this.
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  4. About VickyRN

    VickyRN is a certified nurse educator (NLN) and certified gerontology nurse (ANCC). Her research interests include: the special health and social needs of the vulnerable older adult population; registered nurse staffing and resident outcomes in intermediate care nursing facilities; and, innovations in avoiding institutionalization of frail elderly clients by providing long-term care services and supports in the community. She is faculty in a large baccalaureate nursing program in North Carolina.

    VickyRN joined Mar '01 - from 'Under the shadow of His wings...'. VickyRN has '16' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds'. Posts: 12,030 Likes: 6,319; Learn more about VickyRN by visiting their allnursesPage

    22 Comments so far...

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    I loved it when my professors required students to submit assignments through turnitin.com. You could see looks on the potential cheaters' faces when they realized they'd have to do the work honestly.
    Amaranthine, TakeOne, and VickyRN like this.
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    I loved it when my professors required students to submit assignments through turnitin.com. You could see looks on the potential cheaters' faces when they realized they'd have to do the work honestly.
    I think all writing-intensive courses should require this software be utilized.
    Paco-RN, TakeOne, and Multicollinearity like this.
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    thank you for posting this! I think all schools should have a zero-tolerance policy on plagarism
    hikernurse, TakeOne, and VickyRN like this.
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    One day I was looking around on craigslist for nothing in particular and I was appalled to find several advertisements to write peoples papers!! Not only that, but also people that wanted to pay other people to take their math tests or actually do their whole online class for a 1K...

    As an honest student I find this completely disturbing!!!
    annie22, TakeOne, and VickyRN like this.
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    I personally do not understand how someone could live with himself/herself turning in a paper that had essentially been stolen. The guilt would kill me.
    TakeOne and VickyRN like this.
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    I love teachers who check work against the internet. I despise cheaters!

    I have a SERIOUS problem with turnitin though. That company makes money by keeping copies of everyone's work (MY WORK) then the school or the students PAY TURNITIN to check their new work against MY WORK!

    I would refuse to participate unless I was getting paid by turnitin or the school. Profiting off my work without me seeing a dime is every bit as wrong as cheating.
    Last edit by SummitRN on Sep 6, '10
    hikernurse, whichone'spink, merlee, and 6 others like this.
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    I'm worried about an issue with self-plagiarism. Last term, we were given a scenario to do research on and provide nursing intervention options. This term, we have been again asked to investigate a topic of interest, find primary sources (studies), and do a literature review. It just so happens that the scenario from last term and the topic of interest for this term are the same because I found it so interesting last term. My research articles for this term ARE NOT the same ones used for the assignment last term (I made sure of that).

    Would you suggest a pre-emptive note to my current instructor explaining that, plus providing her the entire paper from last term so she can see that I haven't/don't plan on self-plagiarizing. I really love this topic, I've done a lot of separate work on it for this assignment, then it hit me that it could be viewed as self-plagiarism.

    Any advice?
    Last edit by dudette10 on Sep 6, '10 : Reason: I really wish I could spell plagiarism right the first time!
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    I'm not VickyRN, but I am a part time faculty member. If you were my student, I would greatly appreciate your giving me a "heads up" about the situation and asking me about it. So I recommend discussing it with your instructor. If you my student, I would be very lenient about it as you are trying to build on your previous work and that's a good thing. But you should give your instructor the opportunity to know the truth and make his/her own judgment about it. Better safe than sorry.
    merlee, P_RN, TakeOne, and 2 others like this.
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    Thank you. Good point!


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