The Unemployed Professors Blog

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Can you get away with Plagiarism

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Plagiarism: Just the word has ended careers. Yet some of the most successful people in the world have plagiarized. They managed to beat TurnItIn – so maybe your professor’s dire warnings are overblown. Maybe the whole issue is more complicated than it sounds. Here are some of the top five plagiarizers and accused plagiarists – you’ll be shocked.

5. Malcolm Gladwell. His plagiarism is the sneakiest kind. He wouldn’t have been caught: Instead of rephrasing information, he just took anecdotes and stories and retold them, sans attribution, in his writing. Some would argue that this is not a serious issue, but since his entire brand is about making big claims about society and how the world works, it seems incredibly sloppy. Did he beat TurnItIn, or did he just think his readers would never notice? Maybe the world will never know.

4. J.K. Rowling. Yeah, you read that correctly. Although the case was thrown out of court in 2011, Rowling has repeatedly been accused of plagiarizing Adrian Jacobs’ 1987 novel Willy the Wizard. Whether she plagiarized or not, the case goes to show you that even if you are accused of plagiarism, you can still go on to be wealthier than the Queen of England.

3. Vaughn Ward. The rising Republican star was already well known for publicly stating that Puerto Rico is an independent country, and stated that he didn’t care what it was when people called him out. This was embarrassing, but what he did next will shock you. OK, maybe not: Half of his campaign website’s platform was copy-pasted from other Republicans’. That might not be so bad, but his next move was a real head-scratcher: He plagiarized lines, almost verbatim, from a 2004 speech by this guy named Barack Obama. Ward threw his campaign manager under the bus for the website statements, and never really addressed the Obama statement. While this plagiarism may have been a reason for his resounding political defeat, it has not held him back from a career at a corporation related to health care.

2. Jane Goodall: Goodall has done a great deal of, well, good over the years. She has brought attention to extinction and has provided insight into chimpanzees and their relationship to humans. Yet no one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately Goodall’s were somewhat serious. Her 2013 book Seeds of Hope featured many passages that were plagiarized not just from the Internet, but from Wikipedia, for goodness’ sake. This was discovered only when the advance review copies were sent for evaluation. Although this would never have passed TurnItIn, it somehow managed to get through the numerous editors at the publisher, Grand Central. Goodall blamed the plagiarism on bad note-taking procedures.

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr. They say that good writers borrow, and great writers steal. Yet in the pre-TurnItIn free for all that was Boston University in the 1950s, MLK failed to attribute scholarly material: He represented the ideas of another PhD student, Jack Boozer, as his own. In 1991, a panel comprised of professors from Boston University confirmed this finding, chose not to revoke his degree, and attached a letter outlining their findings to the copy of the dissertation in the library. Some have suggested that King got away with it because his professors held him to a low standard anyway due to his race. But think of it this way: Most people think King is a hero, and even though he has been proven to be a plagiarist, he still has a holiday named after him.

So as you see, plagiarism doesn’t necessarily ruin your life. And this list is just the people who got caught. It’s obviously better to pass TurnItIn and fly under the radar. With Unemployed Professors, that’s easy.

Gary Ostrower – 3/26/2002

Yet in the pre-TurnItIn free for all that was Boston University in the 1950s, MLK failed to attribute scholarly material He represented the ideas of another PhD student, Jack Boozer, as his own. They must report the offender to Student Services regardless of intent, and may fail the student for the assignment, lower the course grade, or fail the student for the course.

I agree with Edwin Moise. At Cal State Fullerton we impose similar punitive measures, depending on the gravity of the students’ offense. Typically, a student will receive an F for the assignment and that usually results in a failing grade for the course. Then the instructor writes a letter to the judicial officer who sends a letter of reprimand to the student and keeps the case on file for seven years. If the same student is caught again, suspension and/or expulsion are considered. I like to assign essays on the topic of "Why Plagiarism Is Wrong" to the culprits. In my business communication course we go over proper documentation and acknowledgment of sources, so students really have no excuse. I must say, though, that I was overruled once by a university committee after a student’s appeal. This committee ruled that my punishment had been too harsh. I was outraged! When it comes to plagiarism (and other values, really), the standards of ethics just aren’t universally shared.


Can you get away with Plagiarism

M. A. Thesis: What is it and what does it need to do

Now that you know what a thesis is, you can decide whether it s a good option for your career or whether a comprehensive exam would be better.

A Master’s thesis is the last paper you need to submit before you get your degree.

What Is a Master’s Thesis?

Before enrolling in a master’s degree program, it’s important that you know what a thesis is and whether you’ll need to write one. Your thesis is the sum of all of your learned knowledge from your master’s program and gives you a chance to prove your capabilities in your chosen field.

A thesis also involves a significant amount of research, and depending on the subject, may require you to conduct interviews, surveys and gather primary and secondary resources. Most graduate programs will expect you to dedicate enough time to developing and writing your thesis, so make sure to learn more about the department’s requirements before enrolling in your master’s program.

What is a Master’s Thesis?

Unlike thesis projects for undergraduates, which are shorter in length and scope, a master’s thesis is an extensive scholarly paper that allows you to dig into a topic, expand on it and demonstrate how you’ve grown as a graduate student throughout the program. Graduate schools often require a thesis for students in research-oriented degrees to apply their practical skills before culmination.

For instance, a psychology major may investigate how colors affect mood, or an education major might write about a new teaching strategy. Depending on your program, the faculty might weigh the bulk of your research differently.

Regardless of the topic or field of study, your thesis statement should allow you to:

Once the thesis is completed, students usually must defend their work for a panel of two or more department faculty members.

What is the Difference Between a Thesis and a Non-Thesis Master’s Program?

A thesis is a common requirement in many research-focused fields, but not every master’s program will require you to complete one. Additionally, some fields allow you to choose between a thesis and a non-thesis track. In the case of a non-thesis program, you won’t have to write a lengthy paper, but you will have to take more classes to meet your graduation requirement.

Whether you choose a thesis or non-thesis program, you’ll still be required to complete a final project to prove your critical thinking skills. If you favor a non-thesis program, your project may be a capstone project or field experience.

Thesis vs. Dissertation

It’s common for graduate students to mistakenly use the words “thesis” and “dissertation” interchangeably, but they are generally two different types of academic papers. As stated above, a thesis is the final project required in the completion of many master’s degrees. The thesis is a research paper, but it only involves using research from others and crafting your own analytical points. On the other hand, the dissertation is a more in-depth scholarly research paper completed mostly by doctoral students. Dissertations require candidates create their own research, predict a hypothesis, and carry out the study. Whereas a master’s thesis is usually around 100 pages, the doctoral dissertation is at least double that length.

Benefits of Writing a Thesis

There are several advantages that you can reap from choosing a master’s program that requires the completion of a thesis project, according to Professor John Stackhouse. A thesis gives you the valuable opportunity to delve into interesting research for greater depth of learning in your career area. Employers often prefer students with a thesis paper in their portfolio, because it showcases their gained writing skills, authoritative awareness of the field, and ambition to learn. Defending your thesis will also fine-tune critical communication and public speaking skills, which can be applied in any career. In fact, many graduates eventually publish their thesis work in academic journals to gain a higher level of credibility for leadership positions too.

Tips for Your Master’s Thesis

Writing your thesis paper will be a long process, so the first step is to make certain you have a close faculty advisor to guide you along the way. Before starting, consult with other scholarly texts to see exactly how a master’s thesis should be structured with an introduction, literary review, main body, conclusion, and bibliography. Finding a thesis topic may be the simplest or hardest part for you, but choose one that interests you and gives you room to explore, according to Ta Da! Creating a detailed outline will prompt an easier flow of ideas for a well-written thesis. It’s advised that you stay aware of your thesis defense date to allow enough time for proofreading and possibly sending your work to an editor.

Overall, a master’s thesis is designed to support a graduate student’s academic and professional qualifications for a degree by presenting research findings. While it’s important to note that some graduate programs offer non-thesis tracks for master’s degrees, the thesis is the main capstone staple for many others. Now that you know what a thesis is, you can decide whether it’s a good option for your career or whether a comprehensive exam would be better.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a thesis for a master’s?

A master’s thesis typically ranges from 100 to 300 pages, not including the bibliography. The length will depend on various factors, including the subject matter and method of your research. There’s no ‘correct’ page length you should aim for. Instead, your thesis should be long enough to properly convey all necessary information in a clear and concise manner.

Can you fail a master’s thesis?

When you defend your thesis, the committee evaluates whether you understand your field and focus area. In most cases, the advisor you’re working with might help you go over your defense beforehand and address any questions that might come up during the final presentation. If you can’t correctly answer crucial questions from the committee, you will likely be given a chance to resubmit your thesis after making corrections.

Are there specific subjects that don’t require a thesis versus those that do?

Not all subjects will require a thesis at the end of your studies. Applied graduate school programs that focus on hands-on experience over theoretical work will mostly favor evaluating you through applied research projects. For example, nursing, education, and business programs prepare graduates for specific career placements and require them to complete internships or supervised fieldwork.

Master’s Thesis Title: Bad & Better Examples

In consultation with the instructor of record and the History or Public History general advisors, they will select a paper advisor for the course, knowledgeable in the student s field, who will very likely fulfill the role of thesis director and committee chair for the student after the GRS. Your thesis is the sum of all of your learned knowledge from your master s program and gives you a chance to prove your capabilities in your chosen field.

Here are four useful tips on thesis writing that will prepare you for the process.


Is homework useful for kids? If so, what age should it start

The answer to the question of whether homework is useful and necessary depends on who is given it and for what purpose.

Is homework useful for kids? If so, what age should it start?

Is Homework Good for Kids? Here’s What the Research Says

A s kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day.

The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week, earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.

But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

For decades, the homework standard has been a “10-minute rule,” which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. The National PTA and the National Education Association both support that guideline.

But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. “We really want kids to go home at 4 o’clock, tired. We want their brain to be tired,” Kelly Elementary School Principal Jackie Glasheen said in an interview with a local TV station. “We want them to enjoy their families. We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. And that’s it.”

A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.

New solutions and approaches to homework differ by community, and these local debates are complicated by the fact that even education experts disagree about what’s best for kids.

The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.

Despite the weak correlation between homework and performance for young children, Cooper argues that a small amount of homework is useful for all students. Second-graders should not be doing two hours of homework each night, he said, but they also shouldn’t be doing no homework.

Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supports the “10-minute rule” as a maximum, but she thinks there is not sufficient proof that homework is helpful for students in elementary school.

“Correlation is not causation,” she said. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”

Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs, thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.

“I have no concerns about students not starting homework until fourth grade or fifth grade,” she said, noting that while the debate over homework will undoubtedly continue, she has noticed a trend toward limiting, if not eliminating, homework in elementary school.

The issue has been debated for decades. A TIME cover in 1999 read: “Too much homework! How it’s hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.” The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push for better math and science education in the U.S. The ensuing pressure to be competitive on a global scale, plus the increasingly demanding college admissions process, fueled the practice of assigning homework.

“The complaints are cyclical, and we’re in the part of the cycle now where the concern is for too much,” Cooper said. “You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness.”

Cooper acknowledged that some students really are bringing home too much homework, and their parents are right to be concerned.

“A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” he said. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”

Responses scattered

The Norwegian Ministry of Education believes that the new Education Act should specify that an individual school can require students to do assignments and homework outside of school hours. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.

The parent of a child in a homework-free school with no timetable changes said: “There was less arguing about homework and when it had to be done. But I also think that the school hours should be extended if the no-homework policy continues next year."