But I Didn’t Know

As we discussed extensively in class, the definition of what constitutes “plagiarism” differs greatly between university, particular college, and even professors teaching the same subject. This discontinuity in definition leaves a huge gray area that weary students often find themselves in. I feel comfortable speaking for the entire student body when I say that there are small, never talked about violations that every single one of us is not aware of. This obviously creates many issues for many different students, who find themselves in the unfortunate predicament of getting an instant failing grade or even the course itself, while also dealing with whatever school’s disciplinary board; overall a stressful and maddening situation to deal with. Yes it would be easier to have a standardized set of violations and rules student’s must adhere too, but then there is the issue of where the line of “plagiarism” is called. It is easy to think of a particular situation where something would qualify as plagiarism in one field, while being entirely accepted and even encouraged in another, such as between the very different fields of Biology and an English course. You would not be a very useful Biologist without directly using prior research from another, while analyzing literature it would be much more emphasized to be done in the author’s own word’s from their unique perspective. We can argue about the stupidity of certain plagiarism rules, and the differences in definitions of plagiarism between different fields, but until the violations of plagiarism are clearly defined and all student’s are made entirely aware of them, many of us and our peers will find ourselves in an unfortunate situation from a simple mistake.

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