ERIC Number: EJ911825
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 16
A Reflection on Plagiarism, Patchwriting, and the Engineering Master's Thesis
Eckel, Edward J.
Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, n62 Sum 2010
Early in his career as an engineering librarian, the author saw plagiarism in completely black and white terms. However, digging into the scholarly literature, he finds ample evidence that there are other factors at work in student writing besides a lack of ethics or the intent to cheat. In this article, he briefly highlights some of these factors. He believes that there is a great potential for partnership between librarians and the graduate science and technology colleges in terms of educating students and faculty about what patchwriting is, how it differs from plagiarism, how to write for synthesis from sources, and how to properly attribute sources in scholarly writing. Mistakes in source text use by graduate students, when relatively minor in degree, should be considered part of the learning process and not as research misconduct or academic dishonesty. Rather than focusing on punishment or ethics, librarians and faculty members need to teach students a more realistic view of the writing process, one that allows and encourages the reuse of generic strings of text and yet scrupulously attributes the ideas and distinctive written expressions of other authors. His hope is that these thoughts serve as seed crystals for a larger conversation on source text use and reuse in the sciences and engineering.
Descriptors: Plagiarism, Writing Processes, Writing Skills, Writing Instruction, Graduate Students, Engineering Education, Science Education, Library Role, Academic Libraries
Science and Technology Section, Association of College and Research Libraries. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. Web site: http://www.istl.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A