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The Phenomenon of Plagiarism, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Who would have thought that Martin Luther King Jr’s speech of “I Have a Dream” was subsequently inspired [or more likely noted as copied] from the speech of another African American preacher Archibald Carey Jr. (Kernan, 1992)? Was he lost for words, or could it be that being able to hear the speech, he was able to coin one that is closely related to the idea of the said speech? Being a more popular individual, King’s speech was more recognized than that of Carey’s. This is the reason why it is most often misconstrued that King plagiarized another preacher’s speech and presented it as his own. Question is, what really is plagiarism? How did it develop and what specific changes have been incurred with regards its assumption from then compared to the current way of plagiarizing recognized in the world today? In the discussion that follows, a distinction on what plagiarism is and how it has developed through the years shall be given particular attention to.

What then is plagiarism? According to Alfrey’s (2000) definition, plagiarism is noted as the unwarranted manner by which a person copies another individual’s work and claims it to be his (89). Relatively, this manner of copying is most often than not connected to the assumption of intellectual ownership. Intellectual properties are related to creations of the mind [usually noted as written words or literature created by another person]. The assumption of ownership is simply dependent on ‘who said it first’.

With the emergence of information outburst, plagiarism has however become rampant that it was already considered a crime against personal property. It has been considered as a form of legal term that ought to be considered accordingly once an individual commits an unlawful act against it. Celebrities [or famous people] often undergo such cases due to the fact that they are the ones seen and heard by the public (Kernan, 1992, 34). What they say usually gets scrutinized and at some point, when they accidentally use another person’s thoughts in their speeches or the matters they say, they often become judged and defined as individuals committing plagiarism. It should be known though that accusing one of plagiarism is not as easy as it seems. The clause of legalities with regards plagiarism includes a distinctive assumption on the length of thought that has allegedly been copied from another. For instance, a person cannot be immediately accused of plagiarizing if he has merely accidentally used another’s thoughts in his speech or a written work. Understandably, a person might have accidentally used the said thoughts because of remembering the said ideas during an abrupt speech appointment (Jaffe, 2010, 67). Nevertheless, this could not be considered as a case of plagiarizing another’s work.

However, if the said person has deliberately used another individual’s thoughts as an addition to his speech, then this could be considered a form of plagiarism. Another way of plagiarizing that has become rampant during the 1970’s includes that of academic writing (Blum, 2009, 122). In her book, Deborah Blum (2009) tried to relate her experiences as a college student. She mentions that many of her colleagues resorted to passing off old thesis assignments as their own. They tend to use the same topics, use a huge part of the papers submitted in the past and simply tweaked some of them to make sure that these papers meet the current requirements in class (123). This is in many aspect a form of cheating in an academic setting. However, in terms of being specifically in command on how the words were adjusted and tweaked for the need of the student utilizing the paper, plagiarism is often considered as a more appropriate form of description of the matter.

At the entrant of the new century of the development of information technology, it could be recognized that the instances by which plagiarism is incurred by students have increased dramatically. The availability of hundreds and thousands of information through the internet has made it easier for students to access several studies and particular resources they could use to add in with their own researches. Relatively, some tend to simply ‘copy and paste’ the information in the internet into their own. The little book of plagiarism by Richard Posner (2007) specifically notes the condition by which students become prone to copying others’ works. The desire to finish their written works immediately has often fueled the desire to simply get information from the internet and utilize it directly into their research studies.  Students have considered this approach as an easier and more convenient matter for them to take especially concerning time constraints.

The supposed practicability of copying and pasting information from the internet however has become a source of cheating issues on the part of the students especially in relation to how they complete activities assigned to them by their professors. This accounts for the consideration that the students place on the value of hard work. The phenomenon of plagiarism specifically created a sense of defining work as something that can be completed easily without the application of hard work into the matter (Lanthrop, et al, 2000, 43). The information posted in the internet has allowed so many individuals to resort to copy what others have already written.

This particular aspect of copy-pasting case in relation to the aspect of making information available through the internet should be assumed as a positive case that could help students and professionals alike in their research requirements (Lanthrop, et al, 2000, 67). Abusing the power to access and utilize information from the internet however imposes on the fact that in the instance of having more, responsibility comes in the picture as well. This is the reason why proper referencing is further being introduced at present. In the advent of information being fully accessible through the internet, students and professionals ought to consider the manner by which they properly reference the sources they use in their work. There is nothing wrong in ‘borrowing’ what others said or what others have written especially if they have a great connection on the topic being discussed in a certain piece of work.

Information collected and presented by others could be deemed helpful in increasing the viability and validity of a particular research. Notably though, using references as resources of information should be properly recognized. Plagiarism should be considered as a serious offence and should be noted as relatively important in defining the factual basis of the research being completed (Posner, 2007, 87). Students and professionals alike should be able to recognize their responsibility in making a distinctive approach in assuring that their work is clear from any instance of copy pasting that has become a phenomenal practice among researchers at present.

It should be remembered that somehow, it is the condition of utilizing references properly that accounts a specific research to be fully reliable. Although it is essential that a research have several materials that are supposed to support the claims that the researchers present, it is also important that such references are given specific recognition. Others’ works are important in proving another’s claim to be true and reliable (Lanthrop, et al, 2000, 34). However, not recognizing others’ works on another specific piece of research could render the new one specifically invalid. To avoid plagiarism, it is important for any particular researcher to have good command in acknowledging all the other works that he inculcates into his work. Most likely, it is through this that a research could be valued and recognized to be clear of any anomalies that could even question both its integrity and its validity in the field of research that it hopes to specifically improve and relatively develop.

Works Cited:

Alfrey, Penelope. “Petrarch’s Apes: Originality, Plagiarism and Copyright Principles within Visual Culture“. MIT Communications Forum. 2000.

Blum, Deborah. My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 2009.

Lanthrop, Ann and Kathleen Foss. Student Cheating and Plagiarism in the Internet Era: A Wake-Up Call. Englewood: Libraries Unlimited, 2000. Print.

Kernan, Alvin. The Death of Literature. Yale University Press; Reprint edition. 1992.

Jaffe, Aaron. Modernism and the Culture of Celebrity. Cambridge University Press; 1 edition. 2010.

Posner, Richard. The Little Book of Plagiarism. Pantheon; aFirst Edition First Printing edition. 2007.

 

 

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