Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Perils Of Plagiarism

People have been asking me about Barack Obama's use of the same words and phrases as Massachusett's Governor Deval Patrick.
As a lecturer in coporate communications and as someone who teaches public speaking I can answer by telling you what the text says. The text that I use (A Pocket Guide To Public Speaking by O'Hair, Rubenstein and Stewart) says this:
Plagiarism - the passing off of another person's information as one's own - is unethical. To plagiarize is to use other people's ideas or words without acknowledging the source. Whether it's done intentionally or not, plagiarism is stealing.
The rule for avoiding plagiarism as a public speaker is straightforward: Any source that requires credit in written form should be acknowledged in oral form . . . Direct quotations are statements made verbatim, or word for word, by someone else. Direct quotes should always be acknowledged in a speech . . . A paraphrase is a restatement of someone else's ideas, opinions, or theories in the speaker's own words. Because paraphrases alter the form but not the substance of another person's ideas, the speaker must acknowledge the orginal source.
These words are taken from pages 10 and 11 of the text.
Plgiarism is one of the first things we address in our course of study - it's that important. And, the definition of it is quite clear to anyone who wants to read it, understand it and follow it.

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