June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.1296.1 - 14.1296.18
Understanding Plagiarism using Boardman’s Soft Systems Methodology Abstract
This paper explores plagiarism through the system’s lens and takes you on a journey through the complex world of plagiarism using the tools of Boardman’s Soft Systems Methodology (BSSM) to bring deeper insights into how plagiarism has proliferated the academic landscape. In a recent survey of 11 universities across the United States, Donald McCabe of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, showed that plagiarism is a growing phenomenon on campuses that, with the evolution of technology, is continuing to grow at an exponential rate. By applying the methods of systems thinking, we plan to present a deeper insight into this growing epidemic. Using BSSM as our lens and Systemigrams (i.e. Systemic Diagrams) as our modeling approach, we will map the multiple perspectives that are involved in understanding plagiarism as a system. Systemigrams allow us to represent the dynamics of a complex system in a graphical form by focusing on the relationships of the system. In this paper we will briefly review a few forms of plagiarism followed by a detailed analysis of plagiarism in the academic environment. We will also look into the reasons why students plagiarize and briefly discuss the role of technology in the manifestation and growth of plagiarism. Finally, we will present and discuss our Systemigram model and conclude with recommendations for the future state of plagiarism within the engineering education environment.
Introduction: What is the real problem?
Plagiarism, as defined by Webster’s, is “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own: use (another's production) without crediting the source” and is derived from the Latin word plagium, or “a kidnapping”. From the copying of artwork in ancient China to more current examples such as copying music lyrics or cookie recipes, the inappropriate use of another’s intellectual property has a legacy of concerns.
As an example, in June 2006, the award winning Japanese painter Yoshihiko Wada was accused of plagiarism when a striking resemblance was noted in most of his paintings to an Italian artist, Alberto Sughi1. Yoshihiko initially denied accusations saying he had
Sivadasan, S., & Sauser, B. (2009, June), Understanding Plagiarism Using Boardman's Soft Systems Methodology Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5425
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