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The Psychology of Plagiarism
Unformatted Document Text:  average of about seven cases a year are publicly identified 18 – and because few plagiarism studies examine professionals in any field, students must be used as research subjects to obtain a sufficiently large sample to conduct statistical significance tests. Examining student attitudes also allows for comparisons between journalism majors and their peers elsewhere on campus to search for variance between academic disciplines. Literature Review Plagiarism is passing off another’s work as one’s own. 19 However, “no single, standard definition” emerged in an examination of nearly 70 writing instruction textbooks, 20 and journalism educators and professors disagree on what constitutes plagiarism. 21 Amplifying the definitional ambiguity is that journalistic plagiarism is often conflated with fabrication 22 even though omitting attribution is profoundly different from creating fiction. Still, plagiarism is considered a serious ethical infraction for both students and professionals, 23 worthy of expulsion 24 or dismissal. 25 Perhaps because the offense is universally condemned – or as a journalism professor wrote in 1987, “nearly inevitable” 26 – few studies have been done on journalism and mass communication student plagiarism. A majority of journalism students at a Midwestern university saw the offense as seldom occurring in their college, yet only 13% said it never occurred. 27 Student attitudes toward penalties for plagiarism and fabrication combined differ according to whether their major is journalism or advertising/public relations, with the former more likely to impose harsher sanctions. 28 But studies have differed in whether years spent in college affect student perspectives regarding the severity of plagiarism. Reinardy and Moore found that graduating print journalism

Authors: Lewis, Norman. and Zhong, Bu.
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average of about seven cases a year are publicly identified
 – and because few plagiarism 
studies examine professionals in any field, students must be used as research subjects to 
obtain a sufficiently large sample to conduct statistical significance tests. Examining 
student attitudes also allows for comparisons between journalism majors and their peers 
elsewhere on campus to search for variance between academic disciplines.
Literature Review
Plagiarism is passing off another’s work as one’s own.
 However, “no single, 
standard definition” emerged in an examination of nearly 70 writing instruction 
textbooks,
 and journalism educators and professors disagree on what constitutes 
plagiarism.
 Amplifying the definitional ambiguity is that journalistic plagiarism is often 
conflated with fabrication
 even though omitting attribution is profoundly different from 
creating fiction. Still, plagiarism is considered a serious ethical infraction for both 
students and professionals,
 worthy of expulsion
 or dismissal.
Perhaps because the offense is universally condemned – or as a journalism 
professor wrote in 1987, “nearly inevitable
 – few studies have been done on journalism 
and mass communication student plagiarism. A majority of journalism students at a 
Midwestern university saw the offense as seldom occurring in their college, yet only 13% 
said it never occurred.
 Student attitudes toward penalties for plagiarism and fabrication 
combined differ according to whether their major is journalism or advertising/public 
relations, with the former more likely to impose harsher sanctions.
 But studies have 
differed in whether years spent in college affect student perspectives regarding the 
severity of plagiarism. Reinardy and Moore found that graduating print journalism 


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