Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An Opportunity to Teach Students About Plagiarism and Paraphrasing

By now we are all familiar with the "similarities" between Melania Trump's speech (2016) and Michelle Obama's speech in 2008. Looking at them side by side, it is quite apparent that the speechwriter (I use that term loosely) took big chunks of the 2008 speech and pasted them into the speech given by Mrs. Trump at the Republican National Convention. Take a look:

Putting the words side by side:

When I taught my students about plagiarism, an important element was a discussion on paraphrasing. Most students are not aware exactly what paraphrasing is, and some are satisfied to replace a word here or there in a sentence, thinking they are making it their own. Even when paraphrasing, a citation MUST be written, because the original idea is not yours.

EasyBib has some excellent videos which talk about plagiarism and paraphrasing. I always show my students these two videos. (The female voice on the second one is a bit odd, but the information is great.) This recent event is the perfect opportunity to show students the right way to do research.


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