Google-Plus-Four method

  spikeychris 20:02 09 Sep 2004

When does research turn into plagiarism? Well I always thought that to repeat (copy is a nasty word) one website is plagiarism and to trawl the net for lots of sources is research. What is the life blood of PCA if not Google etc? Personally it has never sat well with me, if I don’t know the answer to a post I have always tried to try out the suggested answer from the net before I post it, does that negate plagiarism? Probably not. There are long winded explanations as to what and what is not plagiarism but if your findings, solutions and explanations are found on the net is it not just research?

Engineer colleague at the BBC was sacked when he submitted his final
Paper as the examiner accused him of plagiarism, it’s a fine line.

The Google-Plus-Four method is a four-word phrase that examiners can use when they read papers that contain four words that look like they have been *copied*. For example, in a paper about Dickens’ Great Expectations, the phrase “Pip still snobbishly thought” might appear to be out of sync with the rest of the paper. A quick look on Google might show it’s from another paper that has been posted on the net on sites such as free term papers. Should the author be vilified for shoving in a couple of lines to spruce up his own paper? Is copying a paragraph the equivalent of cheating? Is copying answers from PCA stealing if you post or write them down somewhere else?

Has the net made plagiarism a non starter?

  Simon_P 21:43 09 Sep 2004

Although until now I have not come across Google-Plus-Four method (now I have copied that)

Very little these days is original and it must be easy to copy something unknowingly. Everything that you I or anyone else writes on here or anywhere else has, to some extent or other found the information form some sort of text or educational site or book. Subjects that are quite specific and can only be explained with certain words would be more at risk.

plagiarism is maybe a grey area, if a photographer sees a photo on a website or in a magazine of a location and then goes and photographs it for a publication, competition, or a coursework assignment although he/she would automatically be the copyright owner, it is to some degree a copy?

I don’t see a problem with the odd fraise but whole paragraphs or threads is copying the work of others.

Personally I would credit the info source or add a link to a thread if applicable.

I think it is a fine line.

This could be one of those never answered questions.

  Forum Editor 23:33 09 Sep 2004

is the use, without adequate acknowledgment, of the intellectual work of another person.

There is hardly a journalist alive who can place his/her hand on heart and say that he/she hasn't at some time been a plagiarist - it's almost impossible to write for a living and not do it. The problem is that it isn't always a clear-cut thing. I may have an original thought, or what I believe to be an original thought, when in fact I'm writing something that I've read a while back......only I've forgotten that I read it if you see what I mean. The internet is certainly a factor here - most writers (myself included) use the internet for research, and it's very tempting to snitch the odd sentence here, or the occasional phrase there. In the main it's harmless, and in some cases it can be positively flattering if you're the one being plagiarised.

The danger area is when you're writing a factual article. Facts are in the public domain, once established a fact belongs to everyone, but the way you write about facts - the ebb and flow of your prose - is yours and yours alone. If someone else uses the same ebb and flow, or even a part of it when writing about the same fact then yes, plagiarism is the result.

There comes a point of course when plagiarism ceases and good old-fashioned copyright theft begins, and that's become much more common with the advent of the internet and the copy and paste facility. It's too easy to grab entire chunks of someone else's work and plonk it straight into your own gem of creative writing. When that happens there's a copyright breach, and apart from being a cheat you're technically liable to be sued if you make money from someone else's original work.

  Chris the Ancient 21:04 10 Sep 2004

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