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Students Plagiarize Less Than Many Think
February 6, 2002 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Students Plagiarize Less Than Many Think
RIT Profs say 16.5 percent of students reported having "sometimes" cut and pasted text into a paper without a citation, only 8 percent of students reported having done so "often" or "very frequently", but 50.4 percent reported that others "often" or "very frequently" cut and pasted text from the Internet.
"High-school students who are growing up with the Internet, they're having real difficulty" distinguishing what is and is not plagiarism, he says. "Many of them are developing an attitude that anything on the Internet is public domain, and they're not seeing copying it as cheating."
posted by Blake (10 comments total)

 
Since the dawn of man, high school students have been plagiarising. They do this because they don't have the resources or creative faculties to write their own work. By examining various aspects of students and plagiarism, I will prove this very fact.

If you ask me, high-school students who are getting older with the Internet are having real difficulty telling the difference between what is and is not plagiarism. Many of them are developing an attitude that anything on computers is public domain, and they're not seeing copying it as breaking the rules.

As you can see, I have proven why students plagiarise a lot. This is why they have been doing it since the dawn of time. And indeed, probably since the Big Bang, which is widely recognized as the origin of all life as we know it.
posted by Aphex Kid at 11:18 AM on February 6, 2002


Since the dawn of man, high school students have been plagiarising. They do this because they don't have the resources or creative faculties to write their own work. By examining various aspects of students and plagiarism, I will prove this very fact.

If you ask me, high-school students who are getting older with the Internet are having real difficulty telling the difference between what is and is not plagiarism. Many of them are developing an attitude that anything on computers is public domain, and they're not seeing copying it as breaking the rules.

As you can see, I have proven why students plagiarise a lot. This is why they have been doing it since the dawn of time. And indeed, probably since the Big Bang, which is widely recognized as the origin of all life as we know it.
posted by dong_resin at 11:19 AM on February 6, 2002 [1 favorite]


My wife (a science teacher) gets reports all the time that are cut and pasted entirely from the web, including the website address, copyright info and various ads and menu text. When confronted one student actually insisted it was their original work! Baffling.
posted by plaino at 11:29 AM on February 6, 2002


One sure way to get accurate and truthful results is to ask cheaters if they cheat...they are sure to give honest answers.
posted by Postroad at 11:44 AM on February 6, 2002


The good educators are aware of the plagiarism possibilities of the web, and take this into account when designing assignments. These days, any high school teacher who asks for a "book report" style paper on any piece of traditional Western literature, or on an established body of scientific theory, etc., is basically asking for web-plagiarized submissions.

Plenty of educational resources on the internet discuss this, and have sample lessons that avoid the problem.

So it's pretty much a non-issue for the informed.
posted by yesster at 11:56 AM on February 6, 2002


Easy enough to just plug some of the text into a search engine like Google and see if it matches anything.
posted by tommasz at 12:54 PM on February 6, 2002


tommasz, a lot of online papers are zipped, so they won't show in google.

yesster, could you link to those "educational resources?" I'd like to take a look. Generally, writing teachers who focus on "process" have a better chance at catching plagiarized papers -- you get to know your students' writing better and see how the papers develop. If somebody shows you no drafts and hands in a perfect paper, it's probably a rip-off.
posted by muckster at 2:33 PM on February 6, 2002


*sigh*

Two things come to mind. The first is that instructors need to make sure the students understand the rules for citations and general intellectual honesty before students write a word of thier reports. The second is that it may be time for instructors to give good old fashioned oral exams. "So, Johnny, you say on page 4 that yadda yadda yadda. What brings you to this conclusion? And what else can you tell me about XYZ?"
posted by ilsa at 2:50 PM on February 6, 2002


muckster - you and ilsa have already hit on the general strategies to be used. Here's a site for teaching students the "rules" for using the internet in their education. Here's a specific lesson for teaching what constitutes plagiarism, in the context of internet use. And this site is a good overview, with some links to additional resources.
posted by yesster at 6:51 AM on February 7, 2002


thanks, yesster.
posted by muckster at 9:40 AM on February 8, 2002


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