Posted on 19-03-2010
Filed Under (Appropriate behavior) by Anita Kelly

…and easier to get caught at it. Sadly, as the Chair of Notre Dame’s Arts and Letters Honesty Committee, I have been seeing more and more cases of plagiarism. I’ve seen perfectly intelligent students take word-for-word from the Internet several long passages or even their whole paper and try to pass it off as their own work.

It’s as if they don’t realize that professors can spot wording that is too professional sounding, too formal, or just plain too good to be the student’s own work. Then their professor can run the suspicious paper through a an Internet plagiarism detection service called TurnItIn. The service will tell the professor what percentage of the paper has been plagiarized.

The professor will then report the case to our Honesty Committee. The evidence from these TurnItIn reports can be so compelling that we are left with little choice but to find the student guilty and impose a hefty penalty to the student’s overall grade in that professor’s course.

So here’s a simple solution if you want to use written material from the Internet in your paper. Just rephrase everything — don’t take anything word-for-word unless you use quotation marks around it. And whether you paraphrase or put something in quotes, you must cite the source. Is that so hard?

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