Thursday, December 08, 2005
I hate plagiarism
And even more than plagiarism, I hate when students play dumb.
Sure, send me your draft Wednesday night, so I can look it over. Then send me an email the next morning (today, Thursday), asking me if I've had a chance to look it over yet. I get both emails today, and figure I'll look over your draft. Quickly, I begin suspecting that the turns of phrase are not yours. After googling for a bit, I discover that substantial chunks of your paper, including most of your conclusion, are cut and pasted from at least three different websites (including Wikipedia). With no quotation marks. Just cut and pasted. Sentence for sentence, comma for comma (you have changed a couple of semi-colons).
I email you back, saying I've looked at your paper and it's unacceptable. I ask you to please rewrite your paper, citing sources. I say that it's an interesting topic, and you don't need to throw it all out, but please do it properly. What I don't say explicitly is that I am showing you mercy, you fucking plagiarist.
You have the gall to write back and say, but I don't understand, Professor, what did I do wrong? You say my topic is interesting, but I have to rewrite it? But I was going to cite everything properly once you'd looked over the draft. Surely drafts are just drafts! Everything between the sources is my own! Really!
I scream, call my roommate over to witness this nonsense, pour myself another glass of wine. I restrain the urge to FAIL YOU NOW, which I entirely have the right to do, and instead write back:
[Name concealed],Does that seem fair?
Even in a draft, you should have quotation marks around the quotes that you use. Further, I'm having difficulty telling what are your thoughts and what portion of your paper is drawn from your sources. For instance, most of your concluding paragraph is a quotation, rather than being you summing up what you have managed to show:
You: [student's conclusion]
Internet source: [oddly enough, exactly the same words]
[Student's first name], this is your CONCLUSION. You shouldn't need to draw from other sources to help you write your very own conclusion. Further, when looking through your draft, I shouldn't have to guess at what is your own contribution and what is something you've drawn from another source. If you haven't clearly shown me (through quotation marks & accurate citing) what's yours and what's not, then how am I supposed to evaluate your draft?
Let's see what she hands in tomorrow morning. Yup, that's when the paper's due.
jane 8:41 PM [+]