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Help with advice regarding possible plagiarism on essay- postgrad

Hello,

Reaching out for some advice here. Never thought I'd be here but here we are.. I am at my wit's end and catastrophizing like crazy. I have already scheduled a meeting on Monday with a Student Union Rep, and on Tuesday with my Academic Advisor. I acknowledge it is quite serious and I just need some advice on what I may do moving forward.

I had submitted an essay yesterday that was less than 10 minutes to the deadline. Somehow for this one and only essay in my postgrad I opted out of checking the draft in Turn it in because I didn't have much time and wanted to submit it on time. Who knew it would be such a costly mistake? The rating was low at 10% but there were SEVEN instances of plagiarism from four resources. Unfortunately, I did not manage to quote or paraphrase them so they are literally copy-pasted (save for a change in sentence structure) even though I did correctly referenced them to the source but that is still very much a case of plagiarism accidental or not. I do have reasonable adjustments and registered with Disability so it's in my records but I don't think it will carry much weight in this case. I did immediately inform my Disability Support for advice but they said I should refer to my School. I don't think I can avoid a plagiarism remark so I am already thinking ahead about what I may do one of which is to formally request to withdraw my essay so I will get a zero (and do a capped resit) but I will not have to face a panel scrutinizing my plagiarism and very likely risk not being able to graduate which would be the worst case scenario. I've read of cases of involving a lawyer but I don't think I have a strong case.

My plan is to speak to the Student Union Rep and Academic Advisor and go from there then possibly to my lecturer after I know what my options will be like. I'm not optimistic and I know my decision may seem quite drastic but it's the lesser evil in this awful scenario. Best case they penalize me (which they should!) in the grading but not accuse me of plagiarism but this leniency seem rather unlikely.

Any useful advice you could offer me? Thank you in advance.
Could you clarify on this part:

“Unfortunately, I did not manage to quote or paraphrase them so they are literally copy-pasted (save for a change in sentence structure) even though I did correctly referenced them to the source but that is still very much a case of plagiarism accidental or not.”

Do you mean that it was included in your references at the end, but within the body of work it wasn’t correctly quoted?
Reply 2
Original post by Admit-One
Could you clarify on this part:
“Unfortunately, I did not manage to quote or paraphrase them so they are literally copy-pasted (save for a change in sentence structure) even though I did correctly referenced them to the source but that is still very much a case of plagiarism accidental or not.”
Do you mean that it was included in your references at the end, but within the body of work it wasn’t correctly quoted?

Hello. Thank you for your reply. I'll give an example below and highlight the text that I unfortunately did not paraphrase.

Engås, Raja and Neufang (2023) found that engaging in framing can advance or preserve actors' technological frames in the digital divide.

So as you can see, it's a direct copy-paste (I know, it is absolutely BAD) but I was supposed to have quoted it and/or paraphrased but missed it since I didn't check with Turn In It first which I normally do for every essay I ever submitted throughout my postgrad. I have had positive remarks in my essay feedback before for my referencing and citation so I am deeply ashamed and disappointed in myself. But this is so blatant even if unusual that I don't have much of a defense. One of my defense I would like to bring up (not for the uni to exempt me from a penalty but to exempt me from an academic misconduct panel) is that I wouldn't have correctly attributed the reference if I had meant to plagiarize but I know that's still a weak excuse..
Reply 3
Original post by Admit-One
Could you clarify on this part:
“Unfortunately, I did not manage to quote or paraphrase them so they are literally copy-pasted (save for a change in sentence structure) even though I did correctly referenced them to the source but that is still very much a case of plagiarism accidental or not.”
Do you mean that it was included in your references at the end, but within the body of work it wasn’t correctly quoted?

I wanted to add that it's included in both the text and references so basically the oversight was not paraphrasing or quoting rather than not correctly attributing to the source.
I can only add that i am not an expert in plagiarism or misconduct.

For me this is more likely to get picked up as a formatting error. I can’t say what the outcome might be. But at masters level you shouldn’t be relying on turnitin to pick these things up.
Reply 5
Original post by Admit-One
I can only add that i am not an expert in plagiarism or misconduct.
For me this is more likely to get picked up as a formatting error. I can’t say what the outcome might be. But at masters level you shouldn’t be relying on turnitin to pick these things up.

You're right. I was just speaking to a friend who's a lecturer for tertiary education and she said as a lecturer, seeing 10% in Turn It In wouldn't prompt her to check since she has 100s of papers to go through but even if the rating is low, she is trained to spot plagiarism. I've gotten 18% before but the highlights from Turn It In were negligible in the end as they flagged mostly references and just fragmented words. In my case, my words are not fragmented enough. In terms of colour highlights, there are 3 colours being shown although again, all correctly sourced and acknowledged, just not properly formatted. After speaking to her, I think I will ask the opinions of other lecturers (not connected to this module) to have their take on it. My friend's personal opinion is that she wouldn't worry in my case (I showed her my essay) but she doesn't teach in the UK (although her institution is affiliated with a UK uni) and I think the standards here are so much higher and I myself take plagiarism extremely seriously hence why I'm so worried.
Reply 6
I just wanted to update in case anyone ends up in a similar position..

I felt the person from the Student Union wasn't particularly helpful or encouraging although practical. They couldn't quite be more reassuring for my particular case but they provided practical advice on what the next steps could be if plagiarism was found. My meeting with the Academic Advisor was much better and reassuring. Based on her experience, she told me there was absolutely nothing to worry about. She could pull up my exact essay through the system and judged it for herself. She was so sweet and nice, she actually followed up with me a few days later to inform me there was no issue at all in the end as it was marked and I received a good grade (Distinction). To think I was crazy anxious over this.. Overall, the Academic Advisor would be your best bet!

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