Having seen plagiarism time and time again, I felt it was only appropriate to talk about it. Before reading the section, let’s discuss my knowledge of plagiarism at Fairfield.
My friend was in a 100 level English class last semester, and she, a very intelligent and conscientious student, knows how to properly cite a paper. This includes a works cited page and in-text citations. The class after everyone had handed in the first papers of the semester, the professor of the class had to announce that, and I quote, “using outside sources is considered plagiarism if not properly cited.” It baffles me that this professor had to even announce that to people. It also baffles me that college students don’t know that quoting sources is fine (depending on the situation) as long as it’s cited.
I liked the following section of writing center scholar Kurt Bouman’s quote: “Many Western cultures, for instance, place a strong value on individuality and independence, and writers are encouraged to develop and use their “authentic voice,” a way of writing that is uniquely their own” (Oxford Guide, pages 99-100). I suppose that we at Fairfield encourage individuality in writing, save for research papers, so the authentic voice is imperative for certain assignments. Still, it seems as though, because we’re writing research papers, and papers on readings and such, (at least, that’s what I’m writing as an English major) that there isn’t as much room for individuality. Rather, there’s a requirement to focus on the topic at hand over inserting ones personality into the essay.
That’s why I enjoy studying creative writing—it’s where I can insert my “authentic voice.”
On page 101 of the Oxford Guide, the website turnitin.com is name dropped. This stresses me. I have one specific problem with turnitin, as I’ll discuss (and hopefully not digress). Freshman year of college, I had a paper to turn in using turnitin for my history class. It was confusing and didn’t show if the paper had been uploaded the first time, so naturally, I uploaded my paper a second time to be sure. Hours later, just for curiosity’s sake, I logged back into turnitin and was told that my paper was 100% plagiarized. I freaked out, understandably I hope, and needed to be consoled before checking specifically what turnitin thought I plagiarized. Upon opening the plagiarism report, I had to shamefully face the fact that turnitin caught me plagiarizing myself. I was embarrassed. So I don’t trust plagiarism reports from websites like that anymore.
Some students don’t realize the parameters of plagiarism, but thankfully writing tutors do. Going off the Oxford reading, plagiarism occurs when a writer hasn’t “cited her sources sufficiently, hasn’t marked her quotations, or hasn’t acknowledged her sources” (page 103). As a writing tutor, in order to combat this, it’s crucial to ask the writer to talk about the sources their using, compare sources to the paper itself, and above all, make sure the writer knows how to acknowledge the sources.
In the writing center praxis video’s we’ve watched, a portion of the sessions included the writing tutor asking the writer numerous questions about the assignment and the paper, but there wasn’t quite enough about the sources. Nonetheless, asking the writer about their sources (using the who, what, where, when, et. al. technique) is a big chunk of the process.
I didn’t know there were more specific terms than ‘plagiarism,’ found on pages 102-103. Patchwriting is the main one I wasn’t familiar with, though, as I’m reading the definition for it, it does make sense—I just always lumped it under ‘plagiarism.’ I am familiar, however, with the term ‘fraud,’ as my brother had an altercation in high school with it, where a classmate asked to see his paper and ended up stealing it, and turning in the exact same paper. It wasn’t looked at lightly.