Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

Study finds plagiarism can be reduced through education

It’s not new knowledge that plagiarism is a growing problem in academia, but a study released last week may prove that plagiarism can be reduced through education, rather than through fear of repercussions

The study examined students who viewed a mandatory web tutorial on plagiarism. It found that these students were less likely to plagiarize than their peers who did not view the tutorial. The effects of the tutorial were especially significant among college students with lower SAT scores.

Published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the study was conducted by Thomas S. Dee, associate professor of economics and director of the public policy program at Swarthmore College, and Brian A. Jacob, the Walter H. Annenberg professor of education policy at the University of Michigan.

Dee and Jacob collected over 1,200 papers from undergraduate students attending a “selective post-secondary institution,” said the study. Half of the students enrolled in the courses participating in the study were required to complete the plagiarism tutorial before they submitted their papers. Those who did not complete the tutorial were in the control group. Dee and Jacob found that, according to the study, being required to complete the tutorial “substantially reduced the likelihood of plagiarism, particularly among students with lower SAT scores who had the highest rates of plagiarism,”

The students then completed a follow-up survey. Survey answers implied that the tutorial led to fewer instances of plagiarism because the students learned more about plagiarism, not because they feared punishment.

This study supports the beliefs that some academic professionals have long held.

“My contention has always lined up with what this study suggests,” said UMass Professor Nicholas McBride, who teaches a course on journalism ethics. “For me, fear is rarely a good task master. A better society in the broad sense is a society governed by aesthetics rather than edicts.”

The tutorial used in the study shows students examples of correct and incorrect uses of source materials. It also provides students with strategies for avoiding plagiarism. One topic covered by the tutorial is paraphrasing.

Using sources word-for-word, intentionally or not, is a mistake that many UMass students admit to making.

“Before I got to college I thought that paraphrasing wasn’t plagiarism,” said junior Erin Desrochers.

This tutorial helps to prevent unintentional plagiarism, but junior Tori Zopf, pointed out that unintentional plagiarism is not the only kind.

“There are some people that accidently [plagarize],”he said,  “but there are some people that know [what they’re doing].”

 Tyler Rocco-Chafee, a senior, agreed.

 “I think that people know what plagiarism is,” he said. “The idea of copying someone else’s work, people know what that is.”

 “It’s beaten into your head in every class,” added Zopf.

 While a tutorial may be effective for those who unintentionally plagiarize, there are still some those are inclined to plagiarize even knowingly.

 “The process of education is more than ‘this is plagiarism, bad,’” said McBride. “Education has to also examine why … why stealing ideas eats at the infrastructure of a just society, violates the humanity of others, and ultimately ourselves.”

 Elizabeth Murphy can be reached at emmurphy@student.umass.edu.

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