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LadyofArc 06-12-2018 09:52 AM

You went through uni already, surely you know how to reference?!
One of the departments I work in on occasion deals strictly with postgraduate coursework programs (that is, the students do a 1-2 year postgraduate degree sans a research component). Today I heard this lovely gem:

A student had submitted an essay on some particular subject, not sure what. When it was run through Turnitin however, it did pick up some flags and the tutor had a closer look at it. Now, within Turnitin, when it flags something, if you click on the flag, it'll say what the original source is.

This student had at least cited their sources for whatever it was that had been flagged, but the tutor then had a closer look and found that when they clicked on the flags, Wiki-fucking-pedia was coming up.

Turns out that the student had gone to Wikipedia and had copied individual sentences into their essay here and there, but only stuck to sentences which had citations already, then would cite the actual source that sentence in Wikipedia used.

(So for example, if a student copied the line "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," straight from Wikipedia, they'd then go and cite Charles Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities" as the source)

We aren't hard-asses about Wikipedia (especially since that department gets a lot of mature-age students) and see it as a good jumping-off point, but still!

And the student's efforts came to naught - they have to resubmit, will be counselled and their only option for this paper is a pass.

earl colby pottinger 06-12-2018 01:11 PM

Did he at-least get the spelling and grammar right?

TheWolfEmperor 06-12-2018 04:10 PM

Since Wikipedia can be so easily edited by anyone, university professors should try to sneak in a little bump code that says something along the lines of, "Thank You For Playing."

KuariKaydrith 06-12-2018 08:06 PM

When I was in university we were always told that wikipedia is not good source. But I found it very handy when doing research because I would use the references at the bottom of whatever wiki article I was reading - I'd find the actual source, read through it, and go from there. It was really handy when I was writing 4th and 5th year term papers when I was looking up some fairly obscure information.

In one of my classes we had to read out a short paper that we'd written on some historical topic, and one of my classmates literally copied and pasted the entire Wikipedia text for her topic. Not a single word she read was her own, and she only got caught because when she started reading her paper I googled her topic...and was able to read along word for word. I reported it to our prof at the end of class, after the classmate had handed in her paper. She failed the class and after a review she was tossed out of the university because it was discovered that this wasn't the first time she pulled such a stunt.

Pixelated 06-13-2018 01:08 AM

Interesting, because when I went through my two-year college program, one of our teachers said Wikipedia was a fine source.

Not a jumping-off point, but a fine source in itself. :rolleyes:

LadyofArc 06-13-2018 08:23 AM


Quoth Pixelated (Post 1367135)
Interesting, because when I went through my two-year college program, one of our teachers said Wikipedia was a fine source.

Not a jumping-off point, but a fine source in itself. :rolleyes:

Like I said, we aren't hard-asses about Wikipedia use and it's YMMV among the tutors AFAIK. This one just struck me as odd.

SailorMan 06-14-2018 09:23 AM

Just copying references. Hmmm. Sort of what I've been seeing, somewhere else.

I retired almost exactly two years ago - with a few days 'change' left over. I once had an Ancestry(dot)com account, and decided to do a little more with it, now that I had the time.

I would start with an ancestor I knew about, such as a great-grandfather, and then do a search on the site for people who had that same person in their own family tree. If they'd had that line of descent a little further back in time than I did, I used the 'copy to your own tree' function.

Eventually, I ran into ancestors, in various lines of descent, who'd been historical figures, though of various magnitudes. That meant that their biographies were available in such places as academic, university-created websites.

I sometimes found-out that other people on Ancestry had made this or that person their ancestor, and cited such and such documents as their proof. Except, the dates of birth or death might be wrong, and their spouse or children wouldn't be the same as those listed on the university website reference. Just a couple of days ago, one person had a picture of a person's headstone as 'proof' that this was the person in their tree - and both the dates of birth and death (and middle name) were totally different than that of the 'known' ancestor!

After having to go back and delete most, or half, of whole lines of descent, I'm much more cautious. As an example, one of my ancestors had a wife named 'Mary.' A lot of trees simply left-out a last name, because, apparently, it simply wasn't known. This was at the end of the 1600s. But, one of the first trees I'd found when I was filling-in this line, had listed her as "Mary Cole Claiborne,' which gave me a whole slue of ancestors who were notable first settlers at the Jamestown Colony. But then, after some research, I saw that she'd been married to someone other than my own many-greats grandfather.

Addition: I've just discovered that the ancestor's name was actually Mary Coleburn, which someone had separated into Cole Claiborne, because, I assume, the latter person's own ancestors were much more interesting, and famous!

I wish there were a way I could 'flunk' these Ancestry posters!

Silent-Hunter 07-09-2018 02:31 PM

I'm confused, if you quote something in an essay, aren't you supposed to do this? What difference does it make if they copied from Wikipedia itself, or the original source material? How would anyone even know which one they took it from?

Minflick 07-09-2018 06:15 PM

What my teachers at a junior college said about Wikipedia was that it was a fine start off point, but we then had to find other sources that backed it up. This was because Wiki isn't trustworthy as a source, due to the way information is added to a subject.

A back up source had to be a peer reviewed journal of some kind, which establishes credibility of some kind. (And is sometimes later proven false, but still, peer reviewed) On Wikipedia, that doesn't happen, and it's my understanding that anybody can go in and say anything...

EricKei 07-09-2018 07:13 PM


Quoth Minflick (Post 1368341)
This was because Wiki isn't trustworthy as a source, due to the way information is added to a subject.

Precisely -- Even the people at Wikipedia don't want people to use it as a source. They say to find basic info there (but don't actually quote it), then follow the cited external links and use those exclusively.

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