Not (Entirely) in Their Own Words
Plagiarism, Process, and the Complicated Ethics of School Writing
Keywords:composition, plagiarism, student writing
Professionals routinely ask colleagues for feedback on drafts of their written work, and the feedback they receive frequently includes suggestions for changes in wording. By convention, professionals are free to appropriate these suggestions without citation; the suggested words or phrases become, in effect, the author’s own in a transaction this essay terms a textual gift. In contrast, guidelines and policies on plagiarism for student writers are typically phrased in ways that would appear to forbid students from accepting textual gifts or to require that they use citation in doing so – both of which interfere with teaching students how to solicit and make use of feedback in a professional manner. Centered on a case from the author’s own experience, this essay explores the complexities of textual gifts in academic settings through a look at the language of institutional policies, handbooks on writing, and online guides to citation practices, as well as existing scholarship on plagiarism. The essay argues that new scholarship is needed to guide both instructors and institutions, and maps out some potential avenues for this work.
Carroll, J. A. (1982) Plagiarism: The unfun game. English Journal 71: 92–94.
Clark, I. L. (1988) Collaboration and ethics in writing center pedagogy. Writing Center Journal 9: 3–12.
Council of Writing Program Administrators (2010) Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices. Retrieved 30 January 2010 from http://www.wpacouncil.org/files/WPAplagiarism.pdf
Dodd J. S. (1997) The ACS Style Guide. A Manual for Authors and Editors. (Second edition.) Washington, DC: American Chemical Society.
Duke University (2010) Duke University Community Standard in Practice: A Guide for Undergraduates. Retrieved 30 January 2010 from http://registrar.duke.edu/bulletins/communitystandard/
Gibaldi, J. (2003) MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. (Sixth edition.) New York: The Modern Language Association of America.
Hall, J. (2005) Plagiarism across the curriculum: How academic communities can meet the challenge of the undocumented writer. Across the Disciplines 2. Retrieved 30 January 2007 from http://wac.colostate.edu/atd/articles/hall2005.cfm
Howard, R. M. (1995) Plagiarisms, authorships, and the academic death penalty. College English 57: 788–806.
N.C. (North Carolina) State (University) Libraries (2010) How is Plagiarism Defined at N.C. State? Retrieved 27 January 2010 from http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/dspc/tutorial/plagiarism/how_ncstate.html
Pennycook, A. (1996) Borrowing others’ words: Text, ownership, memory, and plagiarism. TESOL Quarterly 30: 201–230.
Posner, R. A. (2007) The Little Book of Plagiarism. New York: Pantheon Books.
Price, M. (2002) Beyond ‘Gotcha!’ Situating plagiarism in policy and pedagogy. College Composition and Communication 54: 88–115.
Seagren, E. A. (2003) Authors, peer review, and the pursuit of quality (Editorial). Journal of Environmental Engineering 129: 1073–1075.
The Owl at Purdue (2010) Is It Plagiarism Yet? Retrieved 30 January 2010 from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/2/
Trimbur, J. (2000) Composition and the circulation of writing. College Composition and Communication 52: 188–219.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity (2010) Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing. Retrieved 30 January 2010 from http://ori.dhhs.gov/education/products/plagiarism/26.shtml
UNC (University of North Carolina) University Libraries (2010) Why We Cite: Avoiding Plagiarism. Retrieved 27 January 2010 from http://www.lib.unc.edu/instruct/citations/whywecite/plagiarism.html
Wikipedia (2010) Academic Dishonesty. Retrieved 30 January 2010 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_dishonesty
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.