In Your Own Words

During our class discussion, we discussed our evolving definitions of what constitutes plagiarism. While most agreed that using another sources exact wording, without proper citation is an example of simple plagiarism, the concept of patch-writing seemed to be a bit of a grey area. The idea of patch-writing is something that should definitely be elaborated on and discussed – we all do it. When we write papers, essays, and other writing assignments, whether they be research based or an opinion piece from the writer, information about the topic we write on has to be found somewhere. After finding and scouring through these sources though, there has to be some way for the writer to express that they now have this new and applicable information, but without blatantly stealing ideas and violating their respective schools honor policy (they all have their own “unique” version). This can lead to some issues, as student’s sometimes go the route of just citing everything for fear of getting in trouble, or they forgo use of the source entirely. That’s where patch-writing comes in. If students were not allowed the option to accept and use other people’s ideas, with a unique wording and some extra elaboration, their options for using sources would be extremely limited. So obviously, for this reason patch-writing in an academic setting should not only be accepted, but actively encouraged as it gives student’s who lack substantial prior knowledge on a subject they are writing about the ability to find and use ideas from other source’s, but it should also be stressed that they portray these borrowed ideas in a way that is unique from the original source.


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