What are the student complaints about plagiarism?
BBC News June 13, 2012 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18425282
“The report says the complaints from 2011 show concern over plagiarism - and how such cheating is defined. It says there is "ambiguity", such as what level of assistance is permitted for a postgraduate thesis.”
Students have felt cheated by a lack of direct instruction. (Howard & Robillard, p. 15).
They have concerns about “violation of their intellectual property rights as Turnitin.com held their texts captive,” (Howard & Robillard, pp. 15-16).
"As Janine Schmidt, the University of Queensland librarian has said; many students see nothing wrong with plagiarism. They think it is sensible use of other people’s research. ‘For many the difference between research and plagiarism is a very fine line….." (Spender, 2004, p. 4).
We cannot ignore the fact, pointed out by students at Mount Saint Vincent University who protested the institutional use of the service (N.S. Students, 2005), that a wholesale use of the service implicitly brands all of our students as potential cheaters, as remedial subjects who must prove their worth" (Howard, 2008, p. 12).
Why are the messages that we deliver to students not getting through to them?
Barbara Fister, a librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, offers an insight in her article on Inside Higher Ed, September 6, 2012:
“I suspect a large part of the problem is that we send such mixed messages to students. You may hate group work, but it will prepare you for the reality of the workplace - but when we tell you to work alone, don’t discuss the test or homework problems with anybody else or face severe punishment. When you write a paper, your work must be original - but back up every point by quoting someone else who thought of it first. Develop your own voice as a writer – but try to sound as much like us as possible.”
Howard and Robillard address these the same issues (Pluralizing Plagiarism, and Howard’s Giants).
Howard elaborates on the frequency and extent to which professors claim the work of students as their own, sometimes without even an acknowledgement of the student contribution.
BBC News August 14, 2012 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19249057
“German defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg resigned after multiple instances of apparent plagiarism in his 2007 dissertation emerged”
“Paresh Jha, a newspaper reporter in Connecticut, won awards for his work before it was revealed he made up material in more than 25 stories”
“Science writer Jonah Lehrer was accused of reusing his previous material without properly informing editors and readers, and further examination of his work revealed he had fabricated quotes and copied material”
“Fareed Zakaria, the CNN and Time journalist, included a passage in a column on gun control similar to a passage by Jill Lepore in the New Yorker”
Dahl, S. (2007). Turnitin®: The student perspective on using plagiarism detection software. Active Learning in Higher Education, 8(2), 173-191. Retrieved from http://proxy.elmhurst.edu/login?url=http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1469787407074110
Fister, B. (2012, September 6). The plagiarism perplex. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/library-babel-fish/plagiarism-perplex#ixzz26gBLWaCm
Howard, R. M. & Robillard, A. E. (eds.) (2008). Pluralizing Plagiarism: Identitites, Contexts, Pedagogies. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton-Cook.
Power, L. G. (2009). University students' perceptions of plagiarism.Journal Of Higher Education 80(6), 643-662. Retrieved from http://proxy.elmhurst.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=50288526&site=ehost-live&scope=site