Discussion: Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism
What is plagiarism exactly? Is it always done on purpose? The rules related to plagiarism can be complex, and there are instances in which people who have unwittingly plagiarized have ended up in court. The concept of academic integrity includes the avoidance of plagiarism. To avoid plagiarism, it helps to first recognize it.
For this Discussion, you will review fictional scenarios that depict common occurrences in the classroom. It is an opportunity for you to practice identifying plagiarism and discussing how to avoid plagiarism in these situations Discussion: Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review the materials in this week’s Learning Resources.
- Read the four scenarios presented below and, for each situation, determine whether the student has plagiarized.
1. John has not had time to work on his online assignment on psychological theory. He found a website that has an article with the content he needs to complete his assignment. However, he has only 30 minutes before his assignment is due. John believes that the author of the article described psychological theory so well that it would take John hours to paraphrase the material. John decides to copy several sentences and one short paragraph from the article and paste it into his own paper. He includes the author in the references and believes that this appropriately cites the author.
2. Sally has a writing assignment due. She has written about the topic before in a previous course and received 100% on that paper. She decides to include several paragraphs from her previous work in her current paper.
3. Brad just finished submitting his writing assignment through SafeAssign, and the similarity report shows a 40% match between passages he wrote and various websites.
4. Catherine likes to include quotes from famous psychologists in her writing assignments. She does not use quotation marks, but Catherine makes sure to include the citation immediately following each quote.
- Reflect on how the Walden resources and communication with colleagues (including your Instructor) could impact the outcome of the scenarios.
- Choose one of the scenarios for your Discussion Discussion: Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism.
With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 3
Post a description of the scenario you chose and whether you believe the student plagiarized. Explain what led you to make that determination. Provide one strategy that the student can use to avoid potential plagiarism, given the scenario presented.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to this week’s Learning Resources.
Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.
By Day 5
Respond to at least two of your colleagues, and continue the discussion through Day 7 by providing another strategy to avoid potential plagiarism, given the scenario presented.
Return to this Discussion periodically to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you have gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made. Remember to be supportive and build community; this is a tough topic!
For today’s discussion, I would like to talk about 3. Brad just finished submitting his writing assignment through SafeAssign, and the similarity report shows a 40% match between passages he wrote and various websites. According to Walden, anything over 40% is highly likely to have too many quotes or is paraphrased incorrectly (Walden, 2020). It would be good for Brad to revise his paper and see where he can make corrections to get it under that 40%. He also should review the APA guidelines and make sure that he uses quotations, citations, and paraphrasing correctly. I struggle with finding simple quotes, as I want to get the author’s point across Discussion: Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism.
I would also like to talk about 2. Sally has a writing assignment due. She has written about the topic before in a previous course and received 100% on that paper. She decides to include several paragraphs from her previous work in her current paper. I feel that this is a fine line to plagiarism. While the work is her own, it would depend on what percentage the assignment got on SafeAssign. She could also have misquoted or used the wrong citations. I feel that it is plagiarism. When you take similar classes for your bachelor, Masters, and PhD you run into assignments that ask the same questions. You can take a different stance on the matter and come up with new material. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on this.
Walden University. (2020c). SafeAssign: Reading the SafeAssign originality report. Retrieved from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/software/Walden/Training/Walden_University_Online_Classroom_Tutorial_Student_SafeAssign.pdf Discussion: Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism
I found scenario number four to be really interesting; The scenario describes a student named Catherine who oftentimes includes quotes from psychologists within her papers but she does not utilize quotation marks, she only cites them immediately after. While it seems harmless since it utilizes a citation, it is completely taking the wording from another person and adding it to her own paper thus committing plagiarism. Quotation marks are really important when citing someone else’s words, as they indicate the starting and stopping point of what someone else has said, without the quotation marks, there is no line between what the writer is saying and what the person who is being quoted is saying. This week’s study notes on plagiarism discusses the importance of utilizing quotation marks whenever there is a direct quote from another writer.
While Catherine might cite the author, I would say that this is still a form of plagiarism, as it does not indicate to the reader that there is information from another writer right away, without the quotations, it would cause the reader to think that the quote is something from the writer themself. Furthermore, it does not properly credit the person who made the initial statement, despite being a citation thereafter. If the quote is more than 40 words, however, Catherine would need not use quotation marks but a block quote in order to further indicate that the is utilizing information from another source as well as cite the information Discussion: Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism.
From personal experience, I like to be able to add in quotes and other things from readings which I feel relate to what I am discussing in order to further reiterate my point as well as provide back up information as to what I am describing but it is imperative to properly credit the other writer so that people can look further into the subject as well as know where your information is coming from. Plagiarism ruins one’s credibility and makes it difficult to be taken seriously as a professional. It also takes away from the learning experience and being able to explain your own perspective and ideas on topics Discussion: Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism.