Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Avoiding Plagiarism through Good Research Practices

For today's discussion, our goal is to look at how effective research practices can help us avoid plagiarism and protect us from false accusations.

Topic 1: Research Practices
Here, we consider which research practices help avoid plagiarism. Think about how some of cases were accidental versus purposeful. And what about the case where no plagiarism occurred? How might an author defend his or her work against a false accusation? What documents would be needed to provide such a defense?

Topic 2: Why Plagiarism Hurts Scholarship
In this topic, we're going to look at how plagiarism hurts research as a whole. In what ways can plagiarized papers "cheapen" the work of others?

Topic 3: How Do We Identify Plagiarism?

This is a complex topic. I'm not looking for "right" or "final" answers here - instead, we're just bringing up the issues as a way to understand the difficult complexities here.

For this discussion, you'll be following our typical approach with the discussions:
  1. One Main Post, where you provide (1) a quote from the article, (2) your own take on that quote in terms of CHAT, and (3) an example from outside the course (preferably something you've seen or heard about in your own life.)
  2. Three Response Posts, where you're responding to your classmates.  Each of your responses should include (1) a direct response to a classmate's point, (2) your take on that point, and (3) a quote to support your take (such as from the articles, or an outside article).
  3. One of your posts should have another scholarly Article from Milner that's taken from your field.  You can use this article for any of your posts, and it doesn't need to refer to plagiarism itself.  Instead, you'll talk about how you would use this article in ways that would avoid plagiarism (e.g. by citing the author, taking careful notes, etc.)  I recommend using it in a response post rather than your main post - you can use it to support your response to a classmate's point about how to conduct effective research.
With this discussion, I want you to be thinking about your Project 1 research.  I'll be posting additional instructions soon for finding sources and keeping track of them, but you want to be considering the general strategies you'll follow to make sure your work is well-researched with clear citations.

Some Teaching Thoughts on Research, Plagiarism, and the Classroom

Teachers often struggle with the question of how to "catch" plagiarism. For me, I set up my courses to prevent plagiarism - since you're documenting each step of your research as you go, I can see where your materials came from, and then you can simply arrange your materials rather than go into "panic mode" the night before a paper is due. My hope is that you'll carry these habits forward into your future courses.

But not every situation is like this. For some courses, teachers don't conduct major checks on your work until after the final draft is in - I know of several cases (including one of my own) where a quick Google search showed that a student had lifted a few lines or even whole paragraphs from websites. But there are also some big-name scholars who have been caught copying, or who have been caught "adjusting" their findings. So as you move forward in your research, you may run across scholarly articles that aren't reliable sources. How would you know? What clues might you look for? What would be an appropriate course of action if you do suspect plagiarism? And, toughest of all - what would you do if you found out a friend of yours had plagiarized a paper?


  1. It has been clearly described the good research practices avoiding the chances of plagiarism. The research work should be unique and original and there should not be any element of plagiarism. The plagiarized research work will be considered as invalid. Thanks for sharing the important points regarding plagiarism and good research practices!

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