1. The Byzantine Bandit
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    The Byzantine Bandit Member

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    Is this plagiarism?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The Byzantine Bandit, May 17, 2013.

    Okay, so I wrote this paper wherein I drew a conclusion which I think was (heavily?) influenced by a book I wasn't allowed to cite for the paper. I think that the same conclusion could have been drawn from a source I was allowed to use, but at the same time I think I expressed it differently from both sources, though I did borrow the idea of "pseudo-monasticism" from the book I wasn't allowed to cite. However, I don't think I used the author's words or constructions that I could have only gotten from him. Does this seem like plagiarism? Thanks!
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    First, you need to understand what plagiarism is. A good discussion of the subject (US law) can be found here: http://definitions.uslegal.com/p/plagiarism/

    Second, why were you not "allowed" to cite a particular book? Seems rather odd. But if I couldn't cite the book I'd cite the author, at any rate.
     
  3. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    Same question.

    I got a little bit lost reading your post, but by the sounds of it; no.
     
  4. The Byzantine Bandit
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    The Byzantine Bandit Member

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    The prof only wanted us to use Christifideles Laici and the Bible. I don't know why and the rule got a little irritating when I really wanted to quote Chesterton and couldn't. I had been reading another book which touched on the subject and may have had a certain phrase in mind while writing the paper, but now that I think about it the author of that book was sort of commenting on something different from but related to what I was writing on. I think my argument was mainly from Christifideles though.
     
  5. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would imagine that it would be okay to do something like, "Similar to the ideas expressed by [author] in [work], this [specific scene] in Christifideles can be interpreted as..." You aren't making a full citation, and your essay would only be built upon the approved texts, but you are still giving credit for the idea to the correct person.

    However, when in doubt, talk it out. I'd ask the prof if such a strategy was acceptable.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that!
     
  7. The Byzantine Bandit
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    The Byzantine Bandit Member

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    Perhaps I should mention that I turned this paper in at the beginning of last semester. Does that change anything?
     
  8. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    "To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism.
    To steal from many is research."

    -Steven Wright
     
  9. Sved
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    Sved Senior Member

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    In academic context plagiarism includes someone else's ideas or conclusions, but I'm not familiar with the field. If the idea conclusion is generally known it's not plagiarism.
     
  10. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Absolutely, you don't have to follow the teacher's obscure requirements and, therefore, you can properly cite the idea.
     
  11. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    I second that.

    Is the idea of "pseudo-monasticism" used only by this one author or is it used by others in the field of study? If the latter, then there should be no worries with you utilizing it. If it's unique to that one author and/or that one book, there may be a problem. Also, I think it's fine if you drew a conclusion based on other knowledge you gained (whether from the prohibited book or otherwise) as long as you back up your argument with supported material.

    If you'd like I can pass this question on to one of my former college instructors, a professional academic editor.

    Also, if it's possible, you might want to ask that professor why s/he had such strict source requirements. If they're not good reasons (personal preference rather than academic purposes), it might be worth submitting a complaint to the school. I can't even imagine what purpose this sort of restriction could serve.
     
  12. The Byzantine Bandit
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    The Byzantine Bandit Member

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    Coniaris is the only one I've read who's said the word "pseudo-monastic" (Philokalia: The Bible of Orthodox Spirituality) in describing a way of living that doesn't work, but my line was "It is imprudent, generally speaking, for laymen to take on a monastic rule of asceticism; however, it is altogether unacceptable for laymen not to pray at all." So now that I think about it, it looks like my thing should've been okay.

    I think the restriction might have been to make sure that we were actually paying attention to the document (Christifideles is a pretty unique work, if I remember correctly) and not pulling ideas from some random weird source. All in all, it makes sense in retrospect. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on and can think for myself on the material instead of just going around quoting fifteen sources like I would have preferred to.
     
  13. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    That sounds perfectly fine to me. It seems like a simple enough concept that it can't have just come from one person. :)

    That's actually a good tactic, now that you point it out, and I'm sure it would make even more sense to me if I knew the text. It certainly seems to have served a good purpose since you feel like you know the material better now!
     

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