Megan Mcdonald

Megan McDonald
Mrs. Trahan
The word Plagiarism rarely holds a positive connotation. Though, just like any other word it has a variety of understandings. What makes something plagiarized? What should be the consequences of such actions? Plagiarism is something that has to be taken on a very serious level, if it is not then people would more willing to cheat their way through life, especially in school.
What is original thought? The question is surprisingly a tricky one. Most all ideas and thoughts are influenced by other sources, whatever they may be. So how can it be such a big deal if someone says something in a similar way as someone else? is a tool that is now being used in the fight against plagiarism. Students submit their papers through this website and it runs it through the internet searching to see if any of it originated by other sources. The website will then give it a grade by how much of their paper seems to be from other sources in a percent form. This gives a teacher a good idea if a student’s paper is plagiarized. This is an attempt to stop students from getting their papers form paper mills. Of Plagiarism, Paper Mills, and the Harried Hurried Student by Maureen Hourigan is an essay about how Plagiarism is an important issue that needs to be dealt with and focuses on Paper Mills. “Term-paper and essay-writing services have joined prostitutes, firearms dealers, and hacking sites in Google’s forbidden-advertising zone,” a Chronicle of Higher Education article announced in June 2007 (Fischman A29) (Hourigan 160). This shows how much of a threat these paper mills are to the educational world of credibility. One site writes papers for students on whatever the topic may be and they charge them for it. This service seems to be 100% plagiarism but the fine print is what keeps them a float still today. They state that every paper written is 100% new and not just copied from internet or other sources, and when purchased all rights to the paper go to the buyer. So technically you can buy the rights to your paper even if you didn’t write one word. This site is called disappointed 20/20 when they ran a purchased paper through software and it found that the entire paper was compilation of other sources work. The service simply said they would write another paper free of charge because of the “mistake”. ( Hourigan 161-64)
Summaries are the underlining idea in patch working, the strategy of getting the most important facts and writing them along with the general purpose. Patch working is more used for the manipulation of sentences rather than full texts. Patch working is more fully explained in “A Plagiarism Pentimento” by Rebecca Howard. Howard explains that it is different than Plagiarism. She seems to feel that it is understandable that they sometimes can seem to go hand in hand, though patch working is the patching f thoughts and ideas from a text to form a different sentence for personal use. In essence it is re wording what a source says to make it your own thought. By putting it in your own words it’s a great tool to understand what the author is actually saying. What makes a thought belong to someone? The wording of a thought makes it what it is. If words are just a way of expressing thoughts, what should I matter if the wording is similar to each other? It is more educational to have to analyze a text then have to put it in personal perspective. It forces the student to look at the main idea and comprehend it into their own perspective.
I have experienced the success of this method in the classroom. When a teacher would explain something and a student wouldn’t understand it was common for another student to then step in and re explain what the teacher said. This is sort if the broader view of how patch working can be really helpful. It usually was the case that when explained in student terms the other student would understand. It simply show understanding, so why do some people frown upon the idea of patch working? Patch working is sometimes viewed as the easy way out. The problem with this can be the lazy approach. Simply changing one word in a sources work and claiming it as your own is shady. Hence, this is why patch working is usually looked at as plagiarism. The problem lies in the interpretation of guidelines and people looking for an easy way out.
The struggle with Plagiarism in school is how to punish someone who is found guilty of plagiarizing. Universities and colleges take plagiarism very seriously and the consequences are harsh. My first day of class almost every single syllabus had the teacher’s stance on plagiarism. The gist of all them pretty much was if your caught cheating in any way you will fail the class. Some students get kick out of college all together because of cheating. It may seem harsh but I think it is necessary. At the college level students are suppose to know how to avoid plagiarism and use original work.
Redefining Plagiarism by Keith Miller looks at more of the historic aspect of plagiarism. He engages the audience by starting off with, “Many people know that MLK Jr. plagiarized dissertation.” (Miller 128). This is a rather strong point, but it as it was intended for, grabs the reader’s attention. Personally I never knew about MLK Jr. plagiarizing in any way. “[King] minded others work for key passages in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in his lecture accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, in several of his books, and literally scores of published and unpublished address and essays.”(Miller 128) The issue is what the plan of action should be towards him. What does it matter now that he is dead? Can or should anything be done? The essay discussed how we as a community face contradictions.
Contradictions with oral vs. written work don’t happen very often that a work cited is made for a speech. The most credit given during an oral presentation is when a quote is used. Why then, does it mean more when it is written down to cite a source? The difference between oral and written presentations isn’t much in my opinion in the sense that the oral presentation was previously written or could always be written down society holds more importance towards something written vs. verbally. They are supposed to be equal but as a community we value written knowledge as belonging to the person.
Is it different if he mainly used oral presentation? I think that all that matters is MLK Jr. was someone who was heard; he used people who weren’t nearly as known. It is almost a positive thing in a way he was making someone’s idea heard mean more. Of course it would have been better to acknowledge the sources but nothing can be done now, besides publish his work with the sources correctly sited by doing this it will give credit to those who deserve it.
Speech writers are typically over looked but are greatly needed by a lot of very important people. Some people may be silly enough to think that all the great leaders sit down and spend hours of their time writing all their own speeches. The truth is they really don’t have the time for such tasks. What happens is speech writers are hired by a large portion of world leaders/politicians. If I were to guess how the process worked I would say who ever is giving the speech is interviewed over certain topics then a speech writers job is to manipulate the answers and add the fluff that is needed. Is this Plagiarism? I don’t recall many of the U.S. presidents giving credit to their speech writing team before or after a speech. By paying them are they buying the rights to it? Most likely that’s how it works, but does that make all the hours to days they have spent working mean nothing but a paycheck? Can you really buy someone’s thoughts from them and make them your own? From Hourigans point of view I think not.
What about in the market of music? In n music you have to buy the rights to song if you want to record or publically play it. This market has allowed for generations to grow up on the same songs but varied. Cover Songs are perfect examples of how it’s okay to copy someone else. There are people though who aren’t fans of cover songs because they believe it takes away from the original version. Personally I think that it allows artists to show their interpretation and allow another set of audience to enjoy the same song. This is simply an example of how common it can be to buy the rights to someone else’s work.
With all the rules and regulations it would seem that there always is a right answer when it comes to plagiarism. Thought like most things there are always stipulations. The reason behind plagiarism is commonly laziness and procrastination. This being true maybe it would help if students would focus more on the tasks at hand and do them in a timely manner so they aren’t tempted to cheat.

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