The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1785  Wednesday, 18 July 2001

From:           Thomas Larque <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Jul 2001 16:38:06 +0100
Subject: 12.1766 Re: Shakespeare.Papers.com
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1766 Re: Shakespeare.Papers.com

> I expect students to hand in all rough notes whether covered with coffee
> and chicken scratches or not and two substantially revised drafts
> printed if the student is working on the computer. I don't mark any
> paper  which does not have these materials attached.  Students find that
> it is easier to write the paper then reconstruct the rough work for a
> paper they have bought.

*Shudders*.  I must admit that I view this suggestion with horror.  From
my own personal perspective, if I had worked in my usual manner, this
would have led to the rejection of just about every paper that I ever
wrote as a student, or would alternatively have forced me to do
excessive amounts of work inventing rough drafts for no better reason
than to prove that I was not plagiarising.

I have never plagiarised, of course - although I suppose most people
would say that - but I worked on computer and my first draft, with very
minor changes in wording and very rare deletions of unsatisfactory
paragraphs (these alterations, being made *as* I worked on my draft,
would only show up if I paused to print my unfinished draft every few
seconds), was also my last.  I never made written plans and rarely took
detailed notes, carrying my "plan" (as far as I had one) in my mind, and
having my source material open in piles in front of me as I worked.  Of
course I had a mental map in which I had marked the type and approximate
position of all relevant quotes and material, but this contained far
more material than I would use in my final work and I had very little,
if anything, on paper.  Mary Jane's demands for rough workings, of a
type that I did not produce, would have unfairly discriminated against
my working methods in favour of those who need to write things twice or
who make their plans on paper rather than in their mind.  Obviously I am
biased, but I would argue that penalising people who know what they want
to write is hardly the best way to combat plagiarism.

In case anyone considers my working method notably inferior, I should
point out that my marks ranged invariably from good to excellent - a
majority of Firsts and a minority of Upper Seconds.  I also tended to
consult and refer to a considerably wider range of source material than
most of my note-taking companions, so carrying information in my head
did not detract from the range of my research.

Thomas Larque.

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