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Why Is Plagiarism A Problem English Language Essay

Plagiarism, as defined in the 1995 Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary, is the "use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.”  Within academia, plagiarism by students, professors, or researchers is considered academic dishonesty or academic fraud and offenders are subject to academic censure, up to and including expulsion. In journalism, plagiarism is considered a breach of journalistic ethics, and reporters caught plagiarizing typically face disciplinary measures ranging from suspension to termination of employment. Some individuals caught plagiarizing in academic or journalistic contexts claim that they plagiarized unintentionally, by failing to include quotations or give the appropriate citation. While plagiarism in scholarship and journalism has a centuries-old history, the development of the Internet, where articles appear as electronic text, has made the physical act of copying the work of others much easier.

Plagiarism is not the same as copyright infringement. While both terms may apply to a particular act, they are different transgressions. Copyright infringement is a violation of the rights of a copyright holder, when material protected by copyright is used without consent. On the other hand, plagiarism is concerned with the unearned increment to the plagiarizing author's reputation that is achieved through false claims of authorship.

Internet and its Abuse in Academic Writing

The behavioral pattern that does not meet the minimum standard of value, which is not acceptable, is called unfair practice. The unfair practice covers a wide range of activities where unpermitted and unallowed activities are performed. In the case of unfair practice someone gets an unnecessary credit or advantage at the expense of somebody else. Unfair practice, in the case of academic field, covers the unacceptable activities in the teaching learning process. In recent years the world has seen a radical development in the field of communication and internet has played great role in this. Internet has become such a powerful means of information that it can transfer any type of uploaded information and can make everyone able to get it from the any corner of the world. Internet also provides teaching learning materials to its users. The users do not have to put much effort to get it rather a mouse click is more than sufficient. So the chance of unfair practice in academic activities in British Universities is likely to go up as British Universities have made an easy access of internet in classroom as well as assignment preparation process. 

Examples of Plagiarism

The examples below demonstrate a few varieties of textual plagiarism, from verbatim copying to thorough paraphrasing. The comments that follow the examples offer guidance about how a source may be used and when a source must be cited. (These examples can also be found in Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities.)

Text example 1

Original source (text)

Alvin Kernan, The Playwright as Magician. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979. pp. 102–103.

From time to time this submerged or latent theater in becomes almost overt. It is close to the surface in Hamlet’s pretense of madness, the “antic disposition” he puts on to protect himself and prevent his antagonists from plucking out the heart of his mystery. It is even closer to the surface when Hamlet enters his mother’s room and holds up, side by side, the pictures of the two kings, Old Hamlet and Claudius, and proceeds to describe for her the true nature of the choice she has made, presenting truth by means of a show. Similarly, when he leaps into the open grave at Ophelia’s funeral, ranting in high heroic terms, he is acting out for Laertes, and perhaps for himself as well, the folly of excessive, melodramatic expressions of grief. Verbatim plagiarism or unacknowledged direct quotation

Almost all of Shakespeare’s Hamlet can be understood as a play about acting and the theater. For example, there is Hamlet’s pretense of madness, the “antic disposition” that he puts on to protect himself and prevent his antagonists from plucking out the heart of his mystery. When Hamlet enters his mother’s room, he holds up, side by side, the pictures of the two kings, Old Hamlet and Claudius, and proceeds to describe for her the true nature of the choice she has made, presenting truth by means of a show. Similarly, when he leaps into the open grave at Ophelia’s funeral, ranting in high heroic terms, he is acting out for Laertes, and perhaps for himself as well, the folly of excessive, melodramatic expressions of grief.

Comment for example 1

Aside from an opening sentence loosely adapted from the original and reworded more simply, this entire passage is taken almost word-for-word from the source. The few small alterations of the source do not relieve the writer of the responsibility to attribute these words to their original author, Alvin Kernan. A passage from a source may be worth quoting at length if it makes a point precisely or elegantly. In such cases, copy the passage exactly, place it in quotation marks, and cite the author.

Text example 2

Original source (text)

From time to time this submerged or latent theater in Hamlet becomes almost overt. It is close to the surface in Hamlet’s pretense of madness, the “antic disposition” he puts on to protect himself and prevent his antagonists from plucking out the heart of his mystery. It is even closer to the surface when Hamlet enters his mother’s room and holds up, side by side, the pictures of the two kings, Old Hamlet and Claudius, and proceeds to describe for her the true nature of the choice she has made, presenting truth by means of a show. Similarly, when he leaps into the open grave at Ophelia’s funeral, ranting in high heroic terms, he is acting out for Laertes, and perhaps for himself as well, the folly of excessive, melodramatic expressions of grief.

Lifting selected passages and phrases without proper acknowledgment

Almost all of Shakespeare’s Hamlet can be understood as a play about acting and the theater. For example, in Act 1, Hamlet adopts a pretense of madness that he uses to protect him and prevent his antagonists from discovering his mission to revenge his father’s murder.

He also presents truth by means of a show when he compares the portraits of Gertrude’s two

husbands in order to describe for her the true nature of the choice she has made. And when he leaps in Ophelia’s open grave ranting in high heroic terms, Hamlet is acting out the folly of excessive, melodramatic expressions of grief.

Comment for example 2

This passage, in content and structure, is taken wholesale from the source. Although the writer has rewritten much of the paragraph, and fewer phrases are lifted verbatim from the source, this is a clear example of plagiarism. Inserting even short phrases from the source into a new sentence still requires placing quotations around the borrowed words and citing the author. If even one phrase is good enough to borrow, it must be properly set off by quotation marks. In the case above, if the writer had rewritten the entire paragraph and used only Alvin Kernan’s phrase “high heroic terms” without properly quoting and acknowledging its source, the writer would have plagiarized.

Paraphrasing

Original source (text)

From time to time this submerged or latent theater in Hamlet becomes almost overt. It is close to the surface in Hamlet’s pretense of madness, the “antic disposition” he puts on to protect himself and prevent his antagonists from plucking out the heart of his mystery. It is even closer to the surface when Hamlet enters his mother’s room and holds up, side by side, the pictures of the two kings, Old Hamlet and Claudius, and proceeds to describe for her the true nature of the choice she has made, presenting truth by means of a show.

Similarly, when he leaps into the open grave at Ophelia’s funeral, ranting in high heroic terms, he is acting out for Laertes, and perhaps for himself as well, the folly of excessive, melodramatic expressions of grief.

Paraphrasing the text while maintaining the basic paragraph and sentence structure

Almost all of Shakespeare’s Hamlet can be understood as a play about acting and the theater. For example, in Act 1, Hamlet pretends to be insane in order to make sure his enemies do not discover his mission to revenge his father’s murder. The theme is even more obvious when Hamlet compares the pictures of his mother’s two husbands to show her what a bad choice she has made, using their images to reveal the truth. Also, when he jumps into Ophelia’s grave, hurling his challenge to Laertes, Hamlet demonstrates the foolishness of exaggerated expressions of emotion.

Comment for paraphrasing

Almost nothing of Kernan’s original language remains in this rewritten paragraph. However, the key idea, the choice and order of the examples, and even the basic structure of the original sentences are all taken from the source. This is another clear example of plagiarism. When paraphrasing, it’s absolutely necessary (1) to use your own words and structure, and (2) to place a citation at the end of the paraphrase to acknowledge that the content is not original.

A note on plagiarism in computer programs

The organization of courses involving computer programming varies throughout the University. In many courses, you will work with other students in pairs or in larger groups. In those cases where individual programs are submitted based on work involving collaboration, you must acknowledge the extent of the collaboration when the program is submitted.

Expectations for citing the use of code in completing a computer programming assignment may vary from course to course, so it is particularly important for you to check with the faculty member in charge of the course on citation policies when completing programming assignments.

Conclusion

Plagiarism by students in the preparation of assignments, practical reports and research projects is a longstanding problem. However, it has recently become aggravated by the fact that students can now easily download extracts or even entire essays from the Internet. In addition, there are significant numbers of students who have come from disadvantaged educational settings where paraphrasing or direct copying of material in the construction of an essay was regarded as acceptable and normal.

We need a clear statement, regarding what is and is not acceptable, which serves as a common policy across all faculties of Colleges or Universities. At the same time we need to recognize that these standards need to be taught to students and that student from disadvantaged educational backgrounds may take some time to become familiar with them.

Plagiarism is defined as:

“Taking and using the ideas, writings, works or inventions of another as if they were one’s own.”

Means showing the work and efforts of others as personal and self work as well as effort which is an unfair practice and cheating.

This definition covers a wide range of practices from minor infractions such as inadequate referencing, through more serious misdemeanours such as copying blocks of text which are unacknowledged, to very serious offences such as stealing an entire essay from another student or from the Internet or infringing copyright. For the purposes of this policy, incomplete or unsatisfactory referencing which is more a matter of negligence than deceit will not be considered an offence. However, when marking assignments in which this occurs, staff retain the right to penalize the student in terms of the mark given, according to the degree of negligence and the academic level at which the student is writing.

The Student Handbook should include general information about the nature of plagiarism and about the University's policy and should indicate that plagiarism is considered a serious offence. However, because the nature of plagiarism may be context specific, individual Departments are responsible for ensuring that students fully understand the nature of legitimate academic practice, and of what constitutes an offence. They are also responsible, in the first instance, for imposing penalties on students found guilty of plagiarism. However, the responses of individual Departments should be in accordance with a common definition of plagiarism and a common penalty system as set out in the student handbook.


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