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principle, practice, & plagiarism

Posted By: Allen Lambert on February 18, 2010
As the reviewer illustrates, defining plagiarism is not always simple. But what I have found in the past year teaching at an expensive private college after years outside academia is that few students get TAUGHT explicitly what constitutes plagiarism, its moral and practical consequences, and skills to avoid it. That is, I have found repetition of a moral injunction against "plagiarism" but little direct instruction on what it is and how to avoid it.

Another related problem I found is a greatly increased ignorance of what constitutes proper citation. The degree of partial or missing citation (even with quotations) has amazed me. (Comparison to students over 40 years.)

So, one conclusion is that contemporary students not only do not understand well what constitutes plagiarism, much of it is unintentional because they simply do not understand and practice proper citation.

In short, direct instruction and drill which underlie good habits seem to be on the wane. It is as if college instructors ASSUME that students do or should know what is "right" (in principle and practice), but do not verify or teach knowledge and skill.
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 principle, practice, & plagiarism by Allen Lambert on February 18, 2010
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