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Accused of Plagiarism after submitted AMCAS and secondaries.

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841794

Hey guys,

So I was just accused of plagiarizing a summary of a research article. This research article had a lot of scientific terms that could not be changed and I did paraphrase a lot of the aims and discussion to summarize. Apparently I misunderstood the assignment and we were supposed to go beyond a summary and ask a research question that would further the research. Thus, if I understood the assignment I wouldn't have had to copy so many scientific words. Regardless, on turnitin my paper is 61% similarity so my teacher has to report it to the Dean of students. Also I did reference the research paper. I literally only had one reference yet I didn't "appropriately cite it" within the text.

1) Do you guys think I should fight this?
2) Since I've already submitted my primary AAMCAS application and all of my secondaries do I have to report it? Or is there even a way to report it?

Please help!
 

Robin-jay

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    Hey guys,

    So I was just accused of plagiarizing a summary of a research article. This research article had a lot of scientific terms that could not be changed and I did paraphrase a lot of the aims and discussion to summarize. Apparently I misunderstood the assignment and we were supposed to go beyond a summary and ask a research question that would further the research. Thus, if I understood the assignment I wouldn't have had to copy so many scientific words. Regardless, on turnitin my paper is 61% similarity so my teacher has to report it to the Dean of students. Also I did reference the research paper. I literally only had one reference yet I didn't "appropriately cite it" within the text.

    1) Do you guys think I should fight this?
    2) Since I've already submitted my primary AAMCAS application and all of my secondaries do I have to report it? Or is there even a way to report it?

    Please help!

    How long is your paper discussing the research article? This will be relevant.
     
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    Tommy1234

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    Hey guys,

    So I was just accused of plagiarizing a summary of a research article. This research article had a lot of scientific terms that could not be changed and I did paraphrase a lot of the aims and discussion to summarize. Apparently I misunderstood the assignment and we were supposed to go beyond a summary and ask a research question that would further the research. Thus, if I understood the assignment I wouldn't have had to copy so many scientific words. Regardless, on turnitin my paper is 61% similarity so my teacher has to report it to the Dean of students. Also I did reference the research paper. I literally only had one reference yet I didn't "appropriately cite it" within the text.

    1) Do you guys think I should fight this?
    2) Since I've already submitted my primary AAMCAS application and all of my secondaries do I have to report it? Or is there even a way to report it?

    Please help!
    You can fight back but it will be a hard challenge against your teacher when he/she got the proof to showed you being copy 61% of original work.
    If you decide not to report AMCAS, think about the consequences and how it affect your chance to get in a medical school when they found out
     
    8

    841794

    You can fight back but it will be a hard challenge against your teacher when he/she got the proof to showed you being copy 61% of original work.
    If you decide not to report AMCAS, think about the consequences and how it affect your chance to get in a medical school when they found out

    It's not that I want to decide not to report it I don't know how to report it after everything has been submitted. (If it even needs to be reported.)
     

    workaholic181

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    Sounds like at this point your professor is just following protocol by reporting it to the dean. Don't report anything until it becomes official. Honestly if you're telling the truth I think you have a good chance of beating this thing. I'd consider getting legal representation too TBH.
     
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    841794

    Is it being reported to the dean of students as a punishment or so that the dean can investigate further? If it's the former and you want to fight it/appeal the decision, don't report ANYTHING until a final verdict has been reached. If it's the latter, don't report ANYTHING until a final verdict has been reached.

    If it does end up sticking, yes, you need to report it. As for how to report it, I think your best bet would be to reach out to the schools individually via email.

    Thank you. :( Thats going to be 22 sad emails if this sticks.
     

    ClimbsRox

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    You wrote a summary of a research article. I am not surprised it came back "plagiarized". What new information were you supposed to add to the discussion? I wouldn't be surprised if every literature review got kicked back plagiarized by turnitin or other software. I wouldn't worry so much.
     
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    Robin-jay

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    Hey guys,

    So I was just accused of plagiarizing a summary of a research article. This research article had a lot of scientific terms that could not be changed and I did paraphrase a lot of the aims and discussion to summarize. Apparently I misunderstood the assignment and we were supposed to go beyond a summary and ask a research question that would further the research. Thus, if I understood the assignment I wouldn't have had to copy so many scientific words. Regardless, on turnitin my paper is 61% similarity so my teacher has to report it to the Dean of students. Also I did reference the research paper. I literally only had one reference yet I didn't "appropriately cite it" within the text.

    1) Do you guys think I should fight this?
    2) Since I've already submitted my primary AAMCAS application and all of my secondaries do I have to report it? Or is there even a way to report it?

    Please help!
    You wrote a summary of a research article. I am not surprised it came back "plagiarized". What new information were you supposed to add to the discussion? I wouldn't be surprised if every literature review got kicked back plagiarized by turnitin or other software. I wouldn't worry so much.

    I remember turn-it-in software. At first, 61% similarity seems like a lot. However, IIRC, then I think they just copy 2-3 word phrases and count that as "similar". For example, saying "inner mitochondrial matrix" over and over again as represented in the article would all count as "similar" and add to the overall "similarity percentage". Professors need to use more common sense if the case was similar to what I'm describing.

    What is the minimum percentage on turn-it-in that requires dean intervention? Obviously 61% is passed that threshold.
     
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    841794

    I remember turn-it-in software. At first, 61% similarity seems like a lot. However, IIRC, then I think they just copy 2-3 word phrases and count that as "similar". For example, saying "inner mitochondrial matrix" over and over again as represented in the article would all count as "similar" and add to the overall "similarity percentage". Professors need to use more common sense if the case was similar to what I'm describing.

    What is the minimum percentage on turn-it-in that requires dean intervention? Obviously 61% is passed that threshold.

    She didn't quite give a minimum but said everyone else's paper ranged from 0-21%. Granted, they did the assignment correctly. :/
     
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    841794

    You wrote a summary of a research article. I am not surprised it came back "plagiarized". What new information were you supposed to add to the discussion? I wouldn't be surprised if every literature review got kicked back plagiarized by turnitin or other software. I wouldn't worry so much.

    I was supposed to "identify gaps or critical needs" that I could address using the article not just summarize it. So basically come up with questions that would use the research to do more research.
     

    Robin-jay

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    She didn't quite give a minimum but said everyone else's paper ranged from 0-21%. Granted, they did the assignment correctly. :/

    On your assignment, were whole sentences the same, just phrases, or a mix of both?
     
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    precisiongraphic

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    You wrote a summary of a research article. I am not surprised it came back "plagiarized". What new information were you supposed to add to the discussion? I wouldn't be surprised if every literature review got kicked back plagiarized by turnitin or other software. I wouldn't worry so much.
    I think that this is the correct argument to make to the dean.

    I am a professor and when I talk to students about turnitin, I always tell them that the percentage number is meaningless. I’ve reported plagiarism when it’s been 5% and not reported at 30%. It needs a human to interpret the score. (And I’m a stickler on plagiarizing.).

    Hopefully the dean instituted the minimum reporting threshold but will accept your explanation. Work on a logical explanation of why the similarities were so high and review APA/MLA rules on sources and citations to be able to speak knowledgeably on the issue and to prevent future problems.
     
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    precisiongraphic

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    What did they do, copy 2 entire sentences in a row, on a 2 page essay? 5% is awfully low, especially since turnitin can be pretty relentless.

    Yes something like that. Copying two whole sentences and not including a source or using quotation marks infers intent. If the source is there and other quotes were properly cited then it is more likely the student made a human error. Depending on the school policy and level - CC undergrad or graduate school- I may give one warning for missed quotation marks if the source was cited. Second instances are given no leeway.
     
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    841794

    I think that this is the correct argument to make to the dean.

    I am a professor and when I talk to students about turnitin, I always tell them that the percentage number is meaningless. I’ve reported plagiarism when it’s been 5% and not reported at 30%. It needs a human to interpret the score. (And I’m a stickler on plagiarizing.).

    Hopefully the dean instituted the minimum reporting threshold but will accept your explanation. Work on a logical explanation of why the similarities were so high and review APA/MLA rules on sources and citations to be able to speak knowledgeably on the issue and to prevent future problems.

    Thank you very much! I appreciate your viewpoint as a professor!
     

    Robin-jay

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    As you can see I took the viewpoint of the researchers and just summarized/ paraphrased what was said. I didn't feel the need to do in text citations because everything was literally from one source except for when I gave credit to the World Health Organization.

    I taught university science courses, and never really had to grade papers, so I'm unsure exactly how that paper stands. It seems as though you put in effort to not plagiarize, and that should be well respected. I would criticize the fact you could change simple words and sentence structure and avoid the similarity percentage better.

    I do think its strange that you put "we will examine the inflammatory lesions in fetal vessels..", as the word "we" doesn't fit with the context of your thoughts, as its more clearly a copy and paste thing. You use the word "we" a lot.

    What you should do is put in more quotation marks around the copy and pasted sentences. The citation helps them recognize you did acknowledge the original authors. What are you, 18-20 years old? It would be very silly for them to call out blatant plagiarism on your record imo.
     
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    I taught university science courses, and never really had to grade papers, so I'm unsure exactly how that paper stands. It seems as though you put in effort to not plagiarize, and that should be well respected. I would criticize the fact you could change simple words and sentence structure and avoid the similarity percentage better.

    I do think its strange that you put "we will examine the inflammatory lesions in fetal vessels..", as the word "we" doesn't fit with the context of your thoughts, as its more clearly a copy and paste thing. You use the word "we" a lot.

    What you should do is put in more quotation marks around the copy and pasted sentences. The citation helps them recognize you did acknowledge the originally authors. What are you, 18-20 years old? It would be very silly for them to call out blatant plagiarism on your record imo.

    Yes, I'm 21. I graduate in May and have never plagiarized so it's extremely irritating and inconvenient that my teacher is doing this. We were supposed to take the stance of the research that's why I used we.
     
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    841794

    Yes, I'm 21. I graduate in May and have never plagiarized so it's extremely irritating and inconvenient that my teacher is doing this. We were supposed to take the stance of the research that's why I used we.

    Researcher**
     
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    676188

    This is why I pay a subscription for a plagiarism checker site. In graduate school this is end-your-graduate-career level stuff, so I'm neurotic about running everything I write through a plagiarism checker. In science there are just too many similar phrases that can't be expressed any other way.
     
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    LizzyM

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    To me this looks like more than just using some scientific words that are similar. You have entire sentences or long phrases that are lifted word for word. Do fight it and appeal any decision that is against you if you feel that you are being unfairly sanctioned but AMCAS instructions are to contact each school where you have an application open to report within 10 days any institutional action that is taken. I think you can hold off until after you have a decision from whatever appeal mechanism your school offers.
     
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    LukaDoncicLuk

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    Placenta barrier-on-a-chip could lead to better understanding of premature births - American Chemical Society

    Here's the article for anyone interested. I just copy and pasted sentences from OPs image into google and found the article as the first result.

    Honestly OP it doesn't look good for you. You seem to have copy and pasted sentences from the article without putting any effort into paraphrasing or rewording the article. I'm not sure your intent was to plagiarize but it appears lazy to say the least. I would go off the opinions of the more experienced members of this forum but I would proceed with caution.


    For Example compare your sentence: "explain inflammatory responses in human placenta and possibly leading to better ways to treat or prevent preterm birth caused by infections"

    With the original article: The researchers concluded that placental barriers-on-a-chip could help explain inflammatory responses in human placenta and possibly lead to better ways to treat or prevent preterm birth caused by infections

    And again from your paper: "More than one in 10 babies worldwide are born prematurely, according to the World Health Organization."

    With the original: "More than one in 10 babies worldwide are born prematurely, according to the World Health Organization."
     
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    Robin-jay

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    This is why I pay a subscription for a plagiarism checker site. In graduate school this is end-your-graduate-career level stuff, so I'm neurotic about running everything I write through a plagiarism checker. In science there are just too many similar phrases that can't be expressed any other way.

    Whats a good plagiarizer checker?
     
    8

    841794

    Here's the article for anyone interested. I just copy and pasted sentences from OPs image into google and found the article as the first result.

    Honestly OP it doesn't look good for you. You seem to have copy and pasted sentences from the article without putting any effort into paraphrasing or rewording the article. I'm not sure your intent was to plagiarize but it appears lazy to say the least. I would go off the opinions of the more experienced members of this forum but I would proceed with caution.



    First, what does OP mean? lol second like I said I thought it was a summary and the article was cited in the reference page. Thanks for your input.
     

    LizzyM

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    #1. The instructor did not ask for a summary of the article but to take the article as a jumping off point for a proposal of a new research endeavor. Had you done the assignment properly, you would not have had so much overlap with the original paper.
    #2 Even a summary would not lift entire passages from the original paper. You might have said, Premature birth is a problem world-wide and affects as many as one in ten newborns. (insert WHO citation here) Infection, particularly bacterial infections, can lead to premature birth by causing an inflammatory response in the placenta. An artificial placenta on a chip may make it possible to study these infection in vitro and develop approaches to prevent infections from triggering preterm birth. You can see that the language is much more simple and obviously paraphrased from the original paper.
     
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    Turkishking

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    Does not look well for you
     
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    Med Ed

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    As you can see I took the viewpoint of the researchers and just summarized/ paraphrased what was said. I didn't feel the need to do in text citations because everything was literally from one source except for when I gave credit to the World Health Organization.

    IMHO the worst thing you did was not read the assignment. But doing such a lazy job with your "summary" is certainly a close second. If you're lucky the dean and professor won't want to jeopardize your career over this little oversight. Either way you need to be more careful in the future.

    Placental inflammation causes significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite this, relatively few useful experimental models of placental pathology have been developed. Researchers in this article addressed this gap by creating a small in vitro device that mimics a placenta. It consists of a sandwich of human trophoblasts (maternal side) and umbilical-derived endothelial cells (fetal side) separated by a porous membrane. Experimental infection of the maternal side with E. coli showed _.

    Good luck.
     
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    DubbiDoctor

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    OP, your work on that paper was very sloppy. You took phrases directly from the article and reprinted them without using quotes. Most people learn in middle school not to do that, and you're a senior in college applying to medical school. You may be able to fight the plagiarism charge by claiming ignorance. Argue that you didn't intentionally misrepresent the author's work as being your own. Say that since you presumed it was clear to the professor that you were summarizing someone else's work, you didn't know that you still needed to put phrases from the article in quotes.
     
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    Mad Jack

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    Hey guys,

    So I was just accused of plagiarizing a summary of a research article. This research article had a lot of scientific terms that could not be changed and I did paraphrase a lot of the aims and discussion to summarize. Apparently I misunderstood the assignment and we were supposed to go beyond a summary and ask a research question that would further the research. Thus, if I understood the assignment I wouldn't have had to copy so many scientific words. Regardless, on turnitin my paper is 61% similarity so my teacher has to report it to the Dean of students. Also I did reference the research paper. I literally only had one reference yet I didn't "appropriately cite it" within the text.

    1) Do you guys think I should fight this?
    2) Since I've already submitted my primary AAMCAS application and all of my secondaries do I have to report it? Or is there even a way to report it?

    Please help!
    F.

    This is why you must use multiple sources etc. Paraphrasing is plagiarism with flowery language
     
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    Mad Jack

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    OP, your work on that paper was very sloppy. You took phrases directly from the article and reprinted them without using quotes. Most people learn in middle school not to do that, and you're a senior in college applying to medical school. You may be able to fight the plagiarism charge by claiming ignorance. Argue that you didn't intentionally misrepresent the author's work as being your own. Say that since you presumed it was clear to the professor that you were summarizing someone else's work, you didn't know that you still needed to put phrases from the article in quotes.
    When over a page out of two pages is identical and you're a senior in college, you aren't going to survive pleading ignorance. If you've made it this far in your life and not learned this lesson, you have presumably done the same thing multiple times before, but weren't caught due to the lack of algorithmic plagiarism checking services. This is a lesson to be learned, it's a pity you're learning it this late.
     
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    FindMeOnTheLinks

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    Giving you the benefit of the doubt that you genuinely did not understand the assignment - you need set up a meeting face to face with the professor as soon as possible (if you have not already done so) to discuss this. You need to apologize profusely and take full responsibility for your actions that the result of your work was plagiarism but that this was 10000% not your intent. You need to beg and plead, on your knees and with tears in your eyes. Own your actions - you didn't pay close enough attention to the assignment, you didn't seek clarification, and you need to do a better job of putting things into your own words even if the topic is complex. Do not display even one iota of defensiveness. If you show remorse, that you learned from your mistakes, and that you genuinely did not intend to plagiarize then you MIGHT end up being okay here.
     
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    precisiongraphic

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    Giving you the benefit of the doubt that you genuinely did not understand the assignment - you need set up a meeting face to face with the professor as soon as possible (if you have not already done so) to discuss this. You need to apologize profusely and take full responsibility for your actions that the result of your work was plagiarism but that this was 10000% not your intent. You need to beg and plead, on your knees and with tears in your eyes. Own your actions - you didn't pay close enough attention to the assignment, you didn't seek clarification, and you need to do a better job of putting things into your own words even if the topic is complex. Do not display even one iota of defensiveness. If you show remorse, that you learned from your mistakes, and that you genuinely did not intend to plagiarize then you MIGHT end up being okay here.
    Agree with this and the tough love above. Remorse and having learned your lesson and how to prevent are the best strategies. I am strict with my students because I do feel that if they've plagiarized as a junior or as a senior, they've probably done so before.

    For my students, I recommend this reference from Purdue University here and here. Actually the whole Purdue OWL is a great reference for plagiarism and APA/MLA (and others like Chicago style) rules.
     
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    MedicineN'Jazz

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    Sounds like at this point your professor is just following protocol by reporting it to the dean. Don't report anything until it becomes official. Honestly if you're telling the truth I think you have a good chance of beating this thing. I'd consider getting legal representation too TBH.
    Legal representation? For this?
     

    Robin-jay

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    Legal representation? For this?

    It would be hard to do this financially and with the time spent doing so in most cases so. Although it doesn't seem like a terrible idea when all said and done, but I wouldn't know. I've never actually seen it be useful for an IA like plagiarizing.
     
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    workaholic181

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    Legal representation? For this?

    Not suggesting OP sue their school, but the words they choose to defend themselves with when meeting with the dean are important and a lawyer could help them prepare in this regard. Small practice college town lawyers do this sort of thing all the time. And yea I think the potential consequences would warrant OP considering it. I'm not an armchair SDN lawyer lol and I dont think lawyering up should be a gut reaction.
     

    CCresearcher

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    Not suggesting OP sue their school, but the words they choose to defend themselves with when meeting with the dean are important and a lawyer could help them prepare in this regard. Small practice college town lawyers do this sort of thing all the time. And yea I think the potential consequences would warrant OP considering it. I'm not an armchair SDN lawyer lol and I dont think lawyering up should be a gut reaction.
    I actually think meeting with a lawyer and its effect on OP's word choice would be harmful at this stage. From looking at her paper, I don't see how she can argue that this wasn't plagiarism. Over half of it was really similar to the original paper, with really long phrases copied word for word. So her best bet is to come across to the dean as an endearing, well-meaning doofus who really didn't understand the assignment and thought she had cited everything correctly. She needs to count on him pitying her. Even though intent technically doesn't matter for plagiarism, she's a lot more likely to get off easy on this if it seems like an accident. And coming into the meeting with the dean with rehearsed, carefully chosen words is unlikely to give that impression. She'll seem calculated rather than confused. If she is punished for this and given a chance to appeal, consulting a lawyer might be a better move, but I don't think she should do it yet.

    Frankly, what this looks like to me (and probably will to OP's school) is someone who put off a big assignment until the last minute, and then didn't have the time to do it correctly. That caused the OP to not only misread the instructions, but also to be so rushed she didn't bother to rephrase the original paper. It doesn't look great.
     
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    LebronManning

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    OP....you definitely plagiarized unfortunately looking from the picture you posted. That's not just words but entire trains of thought you copied down.

    Summarize always means in your own words.

    Advice: own up to it and beg for the least of consequences
     
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    deleted804295

    View attachment 240706 View attachment 240707

    As you can see I took the viewpoint of the researchers and just summarized/ paraphrased what was said. I didn't feel the need to do in text citations because everything was literally from one source except for when I gave credit to the World Health Organization.
    Hello OP,

    It's unfortunate if you've never been formally taught what plagiarism is and then inadvertently plagiarize. Copying full sentences should seldom occur in papers and when it does occur the sentences should be in quotation marks. Immediately after the quotation marks should be a citation that looks like this: (Author, Year).

    Citations don't just occur for quotations. You must also cite anything that you found using research. On a two page paper I typically have about 8 citations and about every other sentence has a citation. The only paragraphs/sentences that shouldn't have citations are analytical ones that come from your own train of thought.

    To avoid plagiarism:

    1. Read through multiple sources if you don't know the concepts. This way you know the material backward and forwards so that you can explain whatever you're summarizing in your own words.

    2. For the most part: paraphrase don't quote. Unfortunately turnitin counts quotations as part of its plagiarism counter so you should have max 1 quote for every page written.

    3. If you do quote make sure to use quotation marks and cite appropriately.

    4. Cite everything that has come from another source. If it feels like your citing too much, trust me you're not. Look towards any research paper in an academic journal and almost every sentence is cited.

    Plagiarism ruins careers. It's not your fault that you weren't taught about plagiarism appropriately but work hard to never make this mistake again.
     
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    Matthew9Thirtyfive

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    Plagiarism ruins careers. It's not your fault that you weren't taught about plagiarism appropriately but work hard to never make this mistake again.

    I find it hard to believe OP made it to senior year of college and was never taught what plagiarism is. We were taught that in middle school (6-8th grade), again in multiple high school classes, and in several of my college courses. OP went through k-12 and almost 4 years of college without learning about plagiarism?
     
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    deleted804295

    I find it hard to believe OP made it to senior year of college and was never taught what plagiarism is. We were taught that in middle school (6-8th grade), again in multiple high school classes, and in several of my college courses. OP went through k-12 and almost 4 years of college without learning about plagiarism?
    I just find it hard to believe that anyone who has been taught about plagiarism and its career halting impacts would word for word copy from a paper and pass it off as their own work. It doesn't make sense to me so I'm giving OP the benefit of the doubt.
     
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    Matthew9Thirtyfive

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    I just find it hard to believe that anyone who has been taught about plagiarism and its career halting impacts would word for word copy from a paper and pass it off as their own work. It doesn't make sense to me so I'm giving OP the benefit of the doubt.

    People are taught the halting impacts of drinking and driving but they still do it.

    Note: I’m not comparing plagiarism to drinking and driving. Just saying that just because someone is told something is wrong doesn’t mean they won’t do it, purposely or not.
     

    Goro

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    I just find it hard to believe that anyone who has been taught about plagiarism and its career halting impacts would word for word copy from a paper and pass it off as their own work. It doesn't make sense to me so I'm giving OP the benefit of the doubt.
    You have an extremely optimistic view of human nature.
     
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    precisiongraphic

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    I find it hard to believe OP made it to senior year of college and was never taught what plagiarism is. We were taught that in middle school (6-8th grade), again in multiple high school classes, and in several of my college courses. OP went through k-12 and almost 4 years of college without learning about plagiarism?

    Students who don't know about plagiarism in my experience are: 1) Immigrants or ESL students without good college-prep level classes in high school 2) Lower SES students without good college-prep level classes 3) Students who don't think it's an issue like OP and say "I've never plagiarized" without realizing that not using quotation marks correctly is plagiarizing and didn't learn or absorb plagiarization lectures.

    Often I've seen those who plagiarize unknowingly (so they say) or carelessly or like OP where it looks like the writing was a "short-cut" to get through the assignment with the least amount of work or because they don't understand the assignment. I've had students tell me that they wrote the paper and forgot to go back and add quotation marks but that's a weak excuse.
     
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    yogglo

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    idk if you can realistically fight this... it's just like you didn't even try to change it
     
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