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March 2001, Week 2


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"Edward R. O'Neill" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 14 Mar 2001 22:29:19 -0500
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Student plagiarism is not always recognizable by a very high quality of
prose writing.  (This presupposes that the source stolen from is itself
well-written--not always a good bet in academic publishing.)

The best student plagiarists carefully revise the prose they steal in order
to make it sound *less* polished.  I once had a student plagiarize a complex
Lacanian discussion of Hitchcock--by removing all references to Lacan or
psychoanalysis.  Amazingly enough, it still worked as an analysis of the
film--which only makes one wonder why the references to psychoanalysis
needed to be there in the first place.

In that case I knew the source.  However I've also had luck by taking
distinctive, unusual words and searching for them in a web search engine,
rather than an article database.   At this point, lots of flap copy taken
from books is on-line, and so it's quite possible to find a source even when
the whole source isn't online.

Edward R. O'Neill
Bryn Mawr College

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