Assignment: Case of the Plagiarized

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Assignment: Case of the Plagiarized

Assignment: Case of the Plagiarized

To prepare for this assignment, please read  and “”. Finally, review Instructor Guidance and Announcements.

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Thus, in this activity, you will apply ethical considerations by relating course content to a realistic scenario.

  • First, locate a  in the Ashford Library.  This source can be on any topic you choose.  You may wish to utilize recommended articles for this course, or you may instead locate an article that includes information that aligns with your own interests.
  • Next, copy and paste either the abstract or one paragraph from the body of your selected article into your paper with the heading “Original Work”.
  • Then, write a paragraph in which you  under the heading “Paraphrased Paragraph”.
    • Be sure to avoid the common mistakes outlined by .
    • Apply  appropriately.
    • Remember to include a separate reference page with the full citation information for your selected article, formatted according to .
  • Then, reflect on this topic using your own  and applying .  Relate your thoughts under the heading “Reflection”.  In your reflection (4-5 paragraphs), address the following:
  • Illustrate how plagiarism, even when unattended, violates the ethical responsibility of a psychology student or professional.
    • Predict potential consequences to other persons (e.g., research participants, patients, clients, students, etc.) when this violation occurs.
    • Apply this knowledge to your own personal area of interest as identified in the Introduction Discussion.  What additional ethical concerns are or will be especially relevant to you given your aspirations?

The Ethics: The Case of the Plagiarized Paragraph Assignment

  1. Must be at least two to three double-spaced pages in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to  as outlined in the .
  2. Must include a separate  (APA style) that includes the following:
    1. A header
    2. Title of paper
    3. Student’s name
    4. Course name and number
    5. Instructor’s name
    6. Date submitted
  3. Must begin with an  that has a succinct .
  4. Must utilize .
  5. Must  material, avoiding direct quotes.
    1. For more information about how to synthesize your writing, please visit the .
  6. Must address the topic with .
  7. Must end with a  that reaffirms the thesis.
  8. Must use, at minimum, the APA Code of Ethics and the chosen article as sources.  Additional scholarly sources are encouraged.  Be sure to smoothly rather than simply inserting it.
    1. The  table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types.  If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor.  Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment. Ethics: The Case of the Plagiarized Paragraph Assignment
  9. Must document all sources in APA style as outlined  and 
  10. Must include a separate  that is formatted according to APA style.
  11. Must be submitted to  for review and correction prior to submitting. Ethics: The Case of the Plagiarized Paragraph Assignment

Education Improves Plagiarism Detection by Biology Undergraduates


Regrettably, the sciences are not untouched by the plagiarism affliction that threatens the integrity of budding professionals in classrooms around the world. My research, however, suggests that plagiarism training can improve students’ recognition of plagiarism. I found that 148 undergraduate ecology students successfully identified plagiarized or unplagiarized paragraphs three-quarters of the time. The students’ ability to identify plagiarism was not significantly different when the quoted or paraphrased text included complex sentence structure and scientific jargon and when it included only simple sentences that mostly lacked jargon. The students who received plagiarism training performed significantly better at plagiarism detection than did those who did not receive the training. Most of the students, independent of training, identified properly paraphrased, quoted, and attributed material but had much greater difficulty identifying paraphrases that included long strings of copied text—up to 15 words—or proper paraphrases that lacked citations. The misunderstanding of paraphrasing and citation conventions found here could manifest as unintentional plagiarism in these students’ later work.

Numerous self-reported rates of past cheating behaviors by students, including plagiarism, hover around 50% (, , ). On one hand, plagiarism may be a premeditated act of deception, whereby students knowingly present the words or ideas of others’ as their own (, ). Many institutions have incorporated penalties and honor codes to combat or prevent such actions; accordingly, honor codes have been shown to lower the incidence of cheating, yet they do not eliminate it (). Despite these measures, some students rationalize this misconduct because their perceived alternative—failure—seems worse (, ). On the other hand, some students are unaware that their actions, or absence of actions, may constitute plagiarism (, ).

found that the incidence of cheating on written work was roughly identical to rates 30 years prior; however, students defined plagiarism far more loosely in 1993 than they did in 1963. For example, many students did not recognize that proper citation must accompany good paraphrasing or quoting to adequately avoid plagiarism (e.g., , , , , , , ). Despite the prevalence of plagiarism due to poor citation skills, this topic is often sidestepped in science curriculum. Typically, instructors warn students of plagiarism during the first week of class (), but they provide no further instruction. In , over half of the surveyed college instructors never or minimally discussed their policies on academic integrity in the classroom. Previous work (, , , ), however, demonstrated that education can reduce unintentional plagiarism.

Student plagiarism is indisputably a cross-discipline issue. With the present study, however, I hoped to identify the source of inadvertent plagiarism in the biological sciences and to investigate how science educators can reduce it. The bulk of research on student plagiarism is derived from the social sciences (e.g., , , ). In a notably smaller body of literature, these issues have been investigated in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and much of that literature focuses largely on students in health fields (e.g., , , ). In the natural sciences, most plagiarism research is either qualitative () or quantifies student perceptions and not their performance (, ; but see , ). The present study, therefore, fills a significant gap in the science education literature: It combines qualitative assessments of students’ understanding of plagiarism with controlled analyses of the factors contributing to the lack of that understanding.

Specifically, my main goals were to determine how successfully biology students can identify plagiarism; whether plagiarism training improves students’ ability to identify plagiarism; whether readability of the material (i.e., sentence structure, word length, and scientific terminology) affects students’ ability to recognize plagiarism; and how varying the severity of plagiarism influences students’ ability to discern plagiarized material from properly quoted, paraphrased, and attributed material.

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