Priya the Print Pincher
Priya had a dissertation to write for her masters degree, it was a big and daunting project, but she soon found a topic which interested her. She decided that she would investigate the way in which Web 2:0 products such as Facebook were replacing more traditional ways of making and maintaining friendships.
During her research, she found a website describing a very similar piece of research that had already been conducted and decided to take some notes so that she would remember what it said. She continued her research on other websites, making these notes as she went along.
Once she felt that she had done enough research, she set about writing up her dissertation. She had a lot of notes by this stage, but she noticed that she had not written down the websites where she had found the information so she would not be able to return to the original source. She had also written some of the notes word for word the same as the website, but some of the notes had been her own observations based upon what she had read on the websites. Unfortunately, when she came to write up her dissertation, she could not remember exactly what was her own work and what was copied.
Priya decided to use all of her notes in her dissertation, and to put references in that she could remember at the end.
After she submitted the work, Priya was called to an Academic Misconduct Panel to explain why Turnitin had identified a large amount of unreferenced work which had been copied from websites.
Priya explained that she hadn’t intended to plagiarise, but that it had happened by mistake because she had forgotten to reference her notes and then got confused. The Academic Misconduct Panel considered that Priya should have known better than to ‘forget’ to write down references and that she had been told on enough occasions that academic misconduct is taken very seriously by the University. The dissertation was failed, and Priya was not permitted another attempt which meant that she could not be awarded with the masters degree.
Moral of the story
Always write down your references as you go along so as not to forget any at the end.