NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ1136250
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1545-679X
Single Sourcing, Boilerplates, and Re-Purposing: Plagiarism and Technical Writing
Louch, Michelle O'Brien
Information Systems Education Journal, v14 n2 p27-33 Mar 2016
In academia, plagiarism adheres to the traditional definition: utilizing another person's words or ideas without proper credit. Students are taught to cite everything, while instructors are given tools to detect plagiarism. This ultimately creates an atmosphere of paranoia, where students fear accusation and teachers are convinced that plagiarism will occur unless they remain ever vigilant. At the same time, technical writers create, reuse, remix, and remarket content on a regular basis in the form of instruction manuals, boilerplates, and other technical, factual, straightforward texts. In academia, the technical writer would be accused of (self-) plagiarism, which would not--given the context--be the case. In the professional world, where the majority of writing will be technical, students will find themselves creating content based on already-existing texts, a direct contradiction of their academic training. This teaching case asks students to consider not only plagiarism but also the concepts of copying and remixing, two ideas closely related to plagiarism, and develop their own conclusions, both personal and professional, about what is and is not ethical communication. It also seeks to demonstrate the importance of recognizing that difference and adjusting accordingly so that professional communications not only meet ethical standards but are also produced in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Information Systems and Computing Academic Professionals. Box 488, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A