Exploring Analogies: Considering Plagiarism

Comparing essay writing to programming

  1. What do essays and computer programs in the academic context have in common? Continue to fill out the grid and add your own ideas at the end!
Essay Computer program
Follows an outline Follows and outline/algorithm
Addresses a prompt Addresses a prompt/problem to be solved
There are an infinite number of ways to write about the same topic. There are infinite number of ways to create code that does the same thing.
There are ways to write a paragraph that are long and wordy and ways that are concise and to the point – readability and understandability are important.
Proper grammar is important.
It is a combination of terms written in a particular language.
Different writers have different styles.
  1. Can you think of distinct ways that programs and essays differ? (Where does the analogy breaks down?)

Thinking about plagiarism

The ethical issue of plagiarism is fairly common in the realm of essay writing but not as easily understood in computer programming.

  1. Below you will find a list of the types of plagiarism found in writing. Consider each and see if it could be applied to help understand how plagiarism in programming might be better understood.

Some types of plagiarim

Copied in part from 8 Most Common Types of Plagiarism to Stay Away from! Last updated Apr 7, 2020, accessed 12/23/2020.

Complete Plagiarism

Complete plagiarism is the most severe form of plagiarism where a researcher takes a manuscript or study that someone else created, and submits it under his or her name. It is tantamount to intellectual theft and stealing.

Source-based Plagiarism

Plagiarism may occur because of the different types of sources. For example, when a researcher references a source that is incorrect or does not exist, it is a misleading citation. Plagiarism also occurs when a researcher uses a secondary source of data or information, but only cites the primary source of information. Both these types lead to an increase in the number of references sources. This, in turn, increases the citation number of the references.

Direct Plagiarism

Direct or verbatim plagiarism occurs when an author copies the text of another author, word for word, without the use of quotation marks or attribution, thus passing it as his or her own. In that way, it is like complete plagiarism, but it refers to sections (rather than all) of another paper.

Application to computer programming?

Self- or Auto-Plagiarism

Auto-plagiarism, also known as self-plagiarism or duplication, happens when an author reuses significant portions of his or her previously published work without attribution.

Paraphrasing plagiarism

This is, as published on Wiley, the most common type of plagiarism. It involves the use of someone else’s writing with some minor changes in the sentences and using it as one’s own. Even if the words differ, the original idea remains the same and plagiarism occurs.

Inaccurate Authorship

Inaccurate authorship or misleading attribution can happen in two ways:

In one form, when an individual contributes to a manuscript but does not get credit for it. The second form is the opposite: when an individual gets credit without contributing to the work. This type of plagiarism, whichever way it occurs, is a violation of the code of conduct in research.

It is also possible to commit this form of plagiarism when someone else edits a manuscript, leading to substantive changes. In this case, the recommendation is to acknowledge the contributors at the time of publication, even if they are not listed as authors.

Mosaic Plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism may be more difficult to detect because it interlays someone else’s phrases or text within its own research. It is also known as patchwork plagiarism and it is intentional and dishonest.

Accidental Plagiarism

Whether intended or unintended, there is no excuse for plagiarism and the consequences are often the same. However, plagiarism may be accidental if it occurred because of neglect, mistake, or unintentional paraphrasing.