Two more “must have” boing-boing links

Boy, skip reading the boing-boing feed for a couple of days and you miss out on some gems:

First, there’s this, BB on GOOD: The “Twitter Revolution” – Social media meets social unrest in Guatemala.” In more evidence that I am both out of the loop and big media does not give a rat’s ass about little countries to the south of US, I was unaware of the upheaval in Guatemala that is apparently underway, nor was I ware of the role of technologies like Twitter and blogging in both getting the word out and causing problems. Definitely something for 516 in the winter 2010 term.

Second, from Michael “Orange Crate Art” Leddy comes “What Plagiarism Looks Like.” Here’s a quote that kind of sums it up:

Some enterprising readers (faculty? student-journalists?) have gone through the dissertations of Carl Boening and William Meehan, highlighting every passage in Meehan’s that can be found, word for word, in Boening’s. Neither the University of Alabama (which granted Boening and Meehan their doctorates) nor Jacksonville State University, where Meehan is president, has chosen to take up the obvious questions about plagiarism that Meehan’s dissertation presents.

Plagiarism– it’s not just something students do poorly….

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2 Responses to Two more “must have” boing-boing links

  1. biscodo says:

    You consider any of this (‘plagarism expose’/issue/blog post) scholarship? Surely you’re kidding…

    Look at the sensationally highlighted image with all the yellow on it, and then look at the actual highlighted dissertation (PDF)here: http://sites.google.com/site/whatplagiarismlookslike/

    While I personally believe academic plagarism is an ethical violation of the highest order (an Academic Felony, if you will), this “expose” is misleading to say the least. Read the PDF, look at what is actually highlighted… when single words and words of standard-form dissertation language are removed, there is *significantly* less highlighting. Also, some sentences are highlighted as single words (as compared to complete sentences highlighted with spaces) which suggests that the automated algorithm ‘detecting plagarism’ did not make a distinction between matching
    “aspects” “of” “a” “faculty” “member’s” “job”
    with
    “aspects of a faculty member’s job”
    (and if you don’t understand the difference between this, you should give back your PhD and quit teaching)

    The remaining language is significantly bland, general, and there is enough non-match (i.e. ‘authentic’) text intervening that it completely changes the argument presented by the image of all the pages with yellow on them.

    For example, below are some of the things highlighted in yellow in the PDF. (in quotes are the highlighted parts, the pg numbers are from the dissertation and the page numbers in parentheses are from the PDF. Ellipsis (…) indicates text that was not highlighted (er… ‘plagarized’))

    pg vi (9) Table of Contents
    “DEDICATION”
    “ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS”
    “LIST OF TABLES”
    “ABSTRACT”
    “CHAPTER
    I. INTRODUCTION
    Statement of Purpose”
    … etc.

    pg 4 (18) The study examined faculty leave efforts at… ”

    pg 8(22) “_Assumptions_
    The assumptions underlying the current study included”

    pg 9(23) “_Significance of the Study_” … “study”

    I’m calling bullshit on the exposers. They have no more claim to academic purity than the dissertation authors. They haven’t done their homework, didn’t analyze what they got, and have presented a sensationalist argument that doesn’t withstand the scrutiny commensurate with the level of scandal they are trying to promote.

    They should really be ashamed if they think they are the bastions of righteousness. Their rigor is not rigorous, it’s crap.

  2. Steve Krause says:

    I don’t know– and I mean that literally because I haven’t spent enough time one way or the other looking into this. But here’s what Michael Leddy says:

    With Meehan’s dissertation, things are even worse than the highlighting would suggest: what’s yellow is what’s word for word. There are further instances of plagiarism in Meehan’s work that involve less than word-for-word correspondence.

    There’s a pretty lively discussion over on that blog, too.

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