ERIC Number: ED229782
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Yet Another Ethical Problem in Technical Writing.
Brogan, Katherine M.; Brogan, James D.
Technical writing scholars have discussed, but not resolved, the ethical problems of ghost authorship (Should the technical editor have a place on the title page?) and multiple authorship (Can nine people really author an eight-page essay?). These ethical questions, however, are trivial when compared with the significantly more grave and widespread problem of plagiarism in technical reports. Since most scientific and engineering reports are published without the protection of copyright, widespread adoption of textual material is appearing with disturbing frequency not only in student papers but also in dissertations and professional reports. Although this borrowing may not be illegal, it surely is unethical and destructive for a profession that increasingly depends on its ability to communicate. The reasons for such casual borrowing are many and complex. One obvious cause is the influx of foreign students into engineering fields. For these students, it is far easier to copy someone else's apparently fluent interpretation than it is to devise their own in halting, cumbersome prose. The problem, however, is not limited to foreign students. Many American engineering students, uncomfortable with writing, are also adopting sections of texts without copyright. Technical writing teachers and engineering faculty should work together to emphasize paraphrasing or summary writing and to stress the importance of clear organization and original writing. Such exercises will help the student discern the difference between a good paraphrase and plagiarism. (HOD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College English Association (13th, Houston, TX, April 15-17, 1982).