I have been accused of plagiarism - need help

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by ShawnTRods, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. ShawnTRods
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    ShawnTRods GBAtemp Psycho!

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    For those of you who don't know. . Plagiarism is copying someone else's work and presenting it as your own.

    Now let me tell you what happened:
    I am studying biomedical science and I have a lot of coursework involving lab reports and such things. But the thing is, you can't really copy or use someone else's data when you done the experiment yourself and worked out your lab report from the result you obtained.

    Now.. today my results were meant to be published, however nothing showed up when I logged into my university website. I call them up, only to find out that one of my coursework is being reviewed for plagiarism. The coursework in question is the practical exercise booklet where I have all my practical data, results(Basically all the lab reports).

    At first I thought it might have been my personal portfolio as I had help from my friend to complete it, but the piece of work in question is really my lab booklet.

    I have been emailing back and forth with the teachers and different departments of my university with no help at all.

    Then I received an email, telling me I have 10 working days to appeal against them with proof to show that the piece of work submitted is indeed mine.

    I am really confused. What I am supposed to prove to them? It just contains data I have obtained from the practicals I have done and everything in the booklet is written by me with my own knowledge.
    One of the penalty could be failure of the module and or just failure of the specific piece of work.
    I am shaking literally :( I don't know what to do.
     
  2. paulie

    paulie Advanced Member

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    First try to contact the professor/head of department responsible of the course/module. (or the UK variant of the person in charge of the module; in Holland its usually a professor/principle investigator [PI])
    Explain to him what you think is the situation and discuss what should be done by you to prevent failing the module.
    As for legal things you could do, I cannot help.
    But my experience with professors/PI's is that they are generally willing to help you with most study related issues.

    Good luck from a fellow (ex) biomedical science student
     
  3. ShawnTRods
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    ShawnTRods GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I have spoken to the module leader and she told me she is completely unaware of the situation. Not very helpful.
    Also spoke to a few other lecturers from the module to see what they say and none of them were any help.
    My academic advisor told me to wait and receive a copy of the work in question by post to see what exactly they are questioning.
    Lastly, my group tutor for that module is on holidays and isnt going to respond till mid July unless he checks his mails out of office hours.

    I just don't understand what I have to prove? It's just data's obtained during practicals...

    Like I said, if any other coursework was in question than ya I would have understood because the Internet is huge help with anything and I might have forgotten to reference something. But the questioned work is purely practical based :/
     
  4. Kayot

    Kayot GBAtemp Fan

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    I'll be honest, I never got into the science field. Bad loan handling and a for-profit school my counselor put me in. That said, basically you're being accused of generating data on a set experiment and proving existing data correct?

    Like in Chemistry, coming up with the correct results?

    In my personal opinion the whole academia circle is crazy. It's like the patent system, completely broken.

    Now about plagiarism charges. I know why your messed up. To any one who doesn't know, Scientists are real dickheads and think that coping a single word from their work constitutes outright theft. They believe whole heartily that they own every word ever uttered. Because of this, if you so much as copy a single line in one of their vastly overwritten and usually incorrect documents, you're a thief and after getting outed you'll never be taken seriously again. For me this is a non-isue. For ShawnTRods this is a huge deal. It means he/she will be locked into industry only and won't be able to pursue practical self research. It can also get him/her kicked from college, and under these charges he/she will be unlikely to get enrollment elsewhere.

    All I can suggest is get the infringed document, compare, contrast, debate, and if you believe that you're innocent and they refuse to budge, buy a bag of Florida oranges and find the egotistical jerk in a parking lot. Then once the problematic person is out of the way, appeal the decision. It may seem extreme, but this is your entire future on the line. This could be a case of someones ego conflicting with your future.

    You'll likely be found innocent anyway.

    Steps:
    1. Get a copy of the infringed document.
    2. Find infringed content. See how it is different!
    3. Make a case of how different it is. Focus on differences, and don't budge. Admitting it's even a little similar is good enough evidence for some @$sh0les.
    - If your appeal fails -
    4. Attempt to negotiate a redo of the assigment from scratch (use the infringed document to make sure new results don't match)
    - If 4 fails -
    5. Become an Evil Biochemist, apply to work for the Collective.

    I wish you luck.
     
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  5. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

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    You could always pull a Shia LaBeouf and plagiarize your apology.
     
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  6. ShawnTRods
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    ShawnTRods GBAtemp Psycho!

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    My future does depend on it. Which is why I am so nervous about this. I was going to apply for post graduate medicine or do PGCE and get into teaching after this coming year.

    No teacher, tutor or lecturer is able to help me out with anything as they don't seem to know what's going on, so all I can do is wait for the letter to come (if it ever comes).
    I say if it ever comes because the suspected work was submitted mid - April. I would assume they would have taken an action against me earlier than this?

    The booklet contained data/results of various microbiology practicals. I did 11 practicals for that specific coursework and the nature of data was based purely on what I see/smell etc. (Size, colour, shape, smell, etc.)

    I am gonna have to go through the appeal process but no one has yet told me clearly what's exactly going on. My other class mates and friends are just as confused as me. What could I messed up in that coursework.

    Thanks for your sense of humour though lol
     
  7. rastsan

    rastsan 8 baller, Death Wizard,

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    Okay then its good I stopped by today...
    See did your tutor also hand in anything? If you both handed in the same thing then yes it is plagiarism. Especially if they handed it in first.
    As I have experience in this. I can tell you there are some lazy people out there. Was there anyone in the lab other than you and the tutor when you were doing your experiments? If so I have a feeling I know who may be giving you the trouble. What you can do to prove it is hand in any hand written notes made while doing said experiment. If you have it and the other person doesn't its them then not you who gets the trouble. If unfortunately you did everything on laptop/phone/ other device ... your recourse may to be to go to campus security and see if they have any video of the time frame in question and present that as well. (slip em 20 to 50 to ease it if you have to...)

    the problem here is that you may actually lose more than this credit. From this point on they will be looking at everything you do for possible trouble. If your school has the same policy of mine... in which once found to have plagiarized you don't graduate - period. Does not matter if you finish off the other course work... if you re-do the class you still won't get your degree/diploma...

    sounds like I am making more of this than I need to...
    back on topic if you have any other notes for those specific things make and keep a copy for yourself and hand the originals in now. Don't wait around - hound them every day until this gets cleared up. those ten days go fast. Hire a lawyer if you have to. The money you spent on school could be wasted... do you really want to waste that much money?
     
  8. ShawnTRods
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    ShawnTRods GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I still havent received the letter with a copy of what they are suspecting about my work.
    However, I got in touch with the module leader and she found out that I used "phrases" that matched their database.

    Gonna have to wait till monday or tuesday to find out more about it.
     
  9. ComeTurismO

    ComeTurismO CTO

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    What's so strange about your post is, that Shia just got arrested, lmfao oafml.
     
  10. VashTS

    VashTS Beat it, son

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    idk how this stuff works really but i would assume you cannot be accused with them showing you the documents to prove it.

    i would demand to see the documents side by side that they are saying are copied. if not, call a lawyer and see if you have the right to sue.
     
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  11. Madridi

    Madridi Card Collector

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    I second this. They can't say: we suspect that you copied this. Prove that it's yours.

    Either they make a case with complete evidence, in which consequently you can appeal or accept, or they don't have a case to begin with.

    I'm sorry you have to go through this. I have gone through a similar issue in the past and it really scarred me and is one of the worst periods of my life.
     
  12. zeello

    zeello The reason we can't have nice things.

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    in science, everyone must be original!
     
  13. Schizoanalysis

    Schizoanalysis From somewhere inside the rabbit hole...

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    When you wrote your lab report did you do something like copy text directly, word for word, from Wikipedia, or a journal article (or some such) and not attribute it to the source?

    If so, then you plagiarised.

    Not much you can do if you did that.
     
  14. assassinz

    assassinz Visoly 512 Flash Advance Linker Xtreme Master!

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    Phrases that matched their database? Isn't that a broad statement they are making? I'm sure there are many common phrases and terminology used in your field of study. Sounds like they are using some kind of computer program to analyze your work and it's not doing a very good job.
     
  15. Schizoanalysis

    Schizoanalysis From somewhere inside the rabbit hole...

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    By phrases, they usually mean that there are strings of words in the document that also appear in another document.
    If there are enough of these copied strings, the document is highlighted for plagiarism.

    If the OP actually copied strings of words from somewhere else, and did not cite them, then there is not much he can do.
     
  16. Clydefrosch

    Clydefrosch GBAtemp Psycho!

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    as people said, unless you actually know what their software detected, you can't really take any meaningful action, it might as well be that some of your word strings can be found in a document of a completely different field of study.
    if your wording happens to match something that is entirely unrelated to your task or field of study, they basically have a false positive. nothing to worry about, if they have any sense left, they will agree with you, that you didnt plagiarize from an author who solely writes articles about ancient history.

    did you find out who or what department in your university handles cases of plagiarism? thats where you should go first. preferably with any types of evidence you have that support you did all your work on your own. notes, lists of lab attendance, drafts, etc. and ask them what they expect of you.
    other than that, it might also be wise to consult with an actual lawyer maybe. you might want to hand in some type of general letter of appeal to make sure they're aware of you appealing. and he might also know if this 10 day thing is actually legal. it seems extremely vague to be told 'you plagiarized. you have 10 days to prove you didnt' when they dont tell you what you supposedly plagiarized from.

    I mean, I've been in psychology classes and like, 50% of all texts and articles we ever read were basically identical. because theres a lot of steamlined sentences to initiate different parts of the text, like the hypothesis, methods and results. if the plagiarism detector marked your work because of something like that, once you know its the case, you might get of the hook simply by presenting evidence that those are simply overused sentences that you naturally used as part of your scientific vocabulary

    on the other hand, plagiarism doesnt necessarily mean you copied a sentence from somewhere. it can, potentially, also apply to an idea. like whatever idea/hypothesis stands behind your labwork.
    I've had a friend who was terrible at coming up with topics for his essays and reports in psychology, so what he'd do is usually pic up some old psychology magazine and derive his topics from a random articles title and first 2-3 sentences.
    afterwards, he'd ignore the original article completely and do his work just normal, reviewing literature about the variables of interest, make up some reasoning etc etc. which worked out until one day, he just happened to pick an article our professor actually coauthored (or peer reviewed or something like that). he recognized the basic idea and called him out on it. he failed the course, but the professor was nice enough to keep the plagiarism to himself, so he could retake the course a year later.

    if you did that without mentioning it (like as an attempt to replicate the findings) then you might be out of luck. if it happened by coincidence, go through your notes/brainstormings/etc that lead to the conception of the idea and present those
     
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  17. Snailface

    Snailface My frothing demand for 3ds homebrew is increasing

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    Maybe something like this might turn up what their database flagged.
    http://www.paperrater.com/plagiarism_checker
     
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  18. ShawnTRods
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    ShawnTRods GBAtemp Psycho!

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    As I have mentioned, most of the lab works was done in the labs. The reports and calculations was done after and I don't see how I can copy from anywhere as I have to relate the report to my results obtained during the practical.

    I know there's sites like the one mentioned above. They also have a software specifically made for them. It's Sunday so obviously I haven't received the letter yet. It seems like a long and tedious process to appeal or do anything about it.
     
  19. Madridi

    Madridi Card Collector

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    Kinda curious.. Any update? Hopefully it's just a misunderstanding?
     
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  20. ShawnTRods
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    ShawnTRods GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Thanks for asking man :D
    Yes, I got a reply this morning.
    I wrote an email to the case department stating the following:
    "
    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I have gotten all my results for this year except for BSXXXX.
    I am continously being told that my practical exercises is being investigated for academic misconduct by the UG office. However, I have not received an update on that.

    I am in need of all my transcripts as soon as possible, as I wish to transfer to another course.

    I have read the university academic misconduct guidelines. I can assure you, nothing was done wrong on my part. Neither have I worked with any other students, nor my data was falsified. Nothing was copied from any book without the use of quotation marks.
    It's simply a practical booklet with all the data recorded during practicals and questions answered using the data and/or the lecture notes to help myself understand the details. If for any reason my transfer to another course is unsuccessful and the allegations turn out to be false, I Hope the university is able to take the responsibility. I will hold the university responsible for not being able to carry on in my studies and take all required actions against the university if necessary. As I have stated above, the allegations made against me does not match at all.

    I hope and pray this gets processed quickly and my results to be released as soon as possible.


    King Regards,

    ST"

    Edited out certain part of that email lol.

    They replied to me saying that the results are available now and apologised for any inconvience caused.
     
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