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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: May ::
Re: Identifying Plagiarism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0604.  Wednesday, 28 May 1997.

[1]     From:   Mike Sirofchuck <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 May 1997 00:20:43 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0603  Identifying Plagiarism

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 May 1997 13:09:10 -0400
        Subj:   Identifying Plagiarism

[3]     From:   Stacy Mulder <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 May 1997 14:09:56 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0603  Identifying Plagiarism

[4]     From:   John V Robinson <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 May 1997 16:22:54 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0603 Identifying Plagiarism

[5]     From:   Harry Hill <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 28 May 1997 10:07:52 +0000 (HELP)
        Subj:   Re: Plagiarism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Sirofchuck <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 May 1997 00:20:43 -0800
Subject: 8.0603  Identifying Plagiarism
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0603  Identifying Plagiarism

Peter Herman's posting relates to an issue that has concerned me of
late: plagiarism from the Internet.  I teach high school English and
with the large number of student essays being published on the Internet
(with good intentions), I suspect that some of my students may be
downloading and submitting other students' essays.  Obviously, one
cannot possibly check all of these out.  What I have done when I believe
that plagiarism has occurred (usually it's a case where the intellectual
level of the paper does not match the intellectual level of the
student's other work) is this:  I conference with the student and
question them closely about the information, conclusions, etc. in the
paper.

Sometimes, after it is clear to both of us that they don't understand
the paper they submitted, a confession has been obtained.   It's best
when this can be done without a direct accusation.   Fortunately, I have
not yet been in the situation where the student clearly plagiarized, I
don't know the source, and they steadfastly maintained their innocence.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 May 1997 13:09:10 -0400
Subject:        Identifying Plagiarism

Dear Charles Henebry: Material such as 'the reader is offered a glimpse
into the psyche of Hamlet' mimics heavy-duty crassness with admirable
aplomb. It indicates parody, not plagiarism. I suspect your student is
playing a rather sophisticated joke on you. Treasure the moment.

T. Hawkes

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stacy Mulder <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 May 1997 14:09:56 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0603  Identifying Plagiarism
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0603  Identifying Plagiarism

In response to Charles Henebry.

This will probably do little more than to confuse your further, but...

The fact that your plagiarized critic/commentator speaks easily of
things like "psyche" probably indicates a more modern source-the
"psychological theory" folks, or at least past their era.  Also, the
concentration on character-the "streaks on the tulip"-make it less
likely that your source is speaking from a pre-nineteenth century
position.

And a little more butter for this nasty piece of bread.  There are
COUNTLESS web sources for complete papers-I have been the unfortunate
recipient of quite a few of them and always find it a very uncomfortable
situation. My best strategy has been to first conference with the
student and ask right out front: "Is there anything about this paper or
the research process involved that you would like to tell me?"
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  It's nice when the
plagiarized text is so poorly written that a grade suffers on the basis
of errors in composition-but we can't always find a way out there. And
no help at all, I'm sure, but at least you know you are not alone in
encountering this problem.

Stacy Mulder
Ball State University
Muncie, Indiana

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John V Robinson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 May 1997 16:22:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0603 Identifying Plagiarism
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0603 Identifying Plagiarism

Instead of trying to employ the resourses of the WWW to crush this
"freshperson" you might first talk to him/her. You might also consider
TEACHING him/her how to do it right. i.e., give credit for sources:  "As
Professor X states in the introduction to the XYZ edition of Hamlet
'yada, yada, yada.'"

Some young students resort to plagiarism because they don't know any
better, or they simply lack confidence in their ability to write.
Either way dealing them a crushing death blow may be over reacting in
the case a frosh.  A senior writing their thesis is another matter, they
should know better...if they have been properly taught early on they
will know better.

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <
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Date:           Wednesday, 28 May 1997 10:07:52 +0000 (HELP)
Subject:        Re: Plagiarism

We make too much fuss about this. Believing our field to be more than
quasi-scientific, we demand a thick-headed amount of footnotage rather
like the half educated marginalia of the Norton anthologies of poetry
which tell us, for instance, that "Oed und leer das Meer" in `The Waste
Land' is "from *Tristan Und Isolde*, an opera by the German composer
Richard Wagner"-an unhelpful remark, surely.

What I look for now is what my tutors years ago said they sought:
qualities of mind. When a student's writing is suspiciously unlike her
usual output, I invite her to my office and ask her questions about her
sentence structure in the offending passages as well as about the facts
in them. I ask whether she has fully acknowledged the sources of her
information and opinion and request correction and acknowledgment if she
has inadvertently or deliberately erred.

Her failure to do so will then result in the mandatory failing grade.

Perhaps our teaching and grading practices our based too strongly and
unimaginatively on a puritan work ethic?

Harry Hill
 

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