PhD peeps- motivation and the like

Discussion in 'education & employment' started by Kuso, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Sunset Tree

    Sunset Tree Well-Known Member

    No I don't mean not sharing my research at conferences. I mean not letting other students see my graded coursework, giving the potential to copy it.

    Presenting at conferences is an obligation I have to fulfill, I wouldn't be able to dodge that if I wanted to.

    Because I have the 1+3 funding I'm currently doing a taught masters before officially starting my PhD. It's in this taught course that I've shared a piece of coursework and been plagiarised. In my PhD I won't have classes or coursework, just my independent research, which I'll be happy to discuss and share the findings. For the rest of this masters nobody is getting to see my coursework!

    I've just spoken to the student who I suspected. Turns out I was correct. He is claiming he only asked to see it for structure/layout and didn't even read it. He said he can't see any clear similarities. Thinks it might just be because they are structured very similarly. Apparently we also use all the same references too, which raises an eyebrow. He understands that I've already told faculty that I sent him a copy of my work. He thought that was totally fair as I need to protect myself. He's a bit worried that it looks bad for him but is resolute that our answers are quite different. I'm not sure what to make of that but feel the pressure is off me somewhat.
  2. Sunset Tree

    Sunset Tree Well-Known Member

    I realise I wrote 'ever again' in my previous post but I was emotional about this so that was hyperbole. There is a large cohort of PhD students in my department and people regularly share work for feedback, seek advice on methodological issues, etc. I think that is healthy and something I'm keen to be a part of.
  3. mango5

    mango5 Endeavour era

    Fair enough, just be prepared for your ideas to sometimes be recycled or repurposed by other people just as you may well incorporate lines of thinking from others into your own work. The protection around assessed work is strong while the protections around use of ideas (structures, methods etc) from ungraded work is quite weak, often little more than convention.

    I'm presenting at a conference in a few months and they want the written papers a month ahead. They've not said anything but I think they intend to publish the material online, which does make me nervous just a few months short of my intention to submit. I've avoided having my papers published in conference materials in the past, but the flip side of that is less visibility in the field. I don't think anyone cares if it's just your abstract that is listed - full papers attract both attention and risk.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
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  4. purenarcotic

    purenarcotic Conveniently Pocket Sized

    Similar thing happened to a mate of mine - she sent her essay to a pal who had been given an extension due to home stuff going on. I had also been asked but had sent over some ideas and articles instead of the whole shebang. My mate got massively plagiarised, like huge chunks copied and pasted almost word for word.

    She had to go for a meeting but nothing happened, she said she wasn’t told off or anything because it wasn’t her fault for basically trying to be helpful. The pal did not too bad too - she was allowed to resubmit but could only get the minimum pass mark. Didn’t get kicked off the course or anything.

    Thing I found most sad was it ruined their friendship- they had been getting quite close really but haven’t spoken since this all happened (years ago).
    Sunset Tree likes this.
  5. aqua

    aqua made of cheese and gin

    6 weeks to go here. In fact 5 weeks 5 days I think, but fucking hell, whatever it is isn't enough :(
  6. aqua

    aqua made of cheese and gin

    I'm really hoping the full strike goes ahead so I can use the extra days :oops: :D
    equationgirl, Sunset Tree and mango5 like this.
  7. Sunset Tree

    Sunset Tree Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a total minefield. Seems like this is where good supervision is essential, as they can ideally help navigate all these academic pitfalls.

    Re: friendship, yeah I was planning to distance myself as much as possible after this. We'd become friends but this made me see him in a new light.

    It is reassuring that nothing happened to your mate. I think that will be the case for me too.

    Some other slightly dodgy points from our chat. Although he first claimed not to have even read mine, he's now looked over both papers and said that the final two questions were quite similar. Along with using all the same references it seems unlikely he literally didn't read mine. He also said that the plagiarism check (urkund) picked up similarities when he first uploaded it, so he changed the wording of some stuff then resubmitted. Very dodgy.

    He's saying we should get our story straight so neither of us get in bother. Well, I don't have anything to worry about so why should I need to have a story. He's also asking if I can say I only sent him a copy the day before submission. This is so he can prove he'd done most of it before he saw mine. In fact, I sent him it a full month before the submission date, and he asked a second time the day before it was due. So it would be a half truth at best. I'm thinking from my POV just be totally honest about it as there's no benefit to me in withholding information to protect him.
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  8. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    Sunset Tree just be honest about what you did. Lies will catch up with you, he is the one that plagiarised, not you.
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  9. Sunset Tree

    Sunset Tree Well-Known Member

    Exactly yes! I did him one favour by sending my work and look where that got me. Now he wants more favours to protect him from punishment.

    He's now said he's found a document where he planned out the answers. Dates back to November apparently. He's going to present this as evidence he'd started working on it before he saw my version.

    He's gone from saying he didn't read mine, to saying there are some similarities in structure, to saying the last two questions are 'quite similar'. I don't see how his answer plan will explain how he's written it up with all these similarities.

    He offered to send me his version so I can see for myself how the similarities aren't that bad. I said I don't want anything to do with that. It isn't my concern.
  10. Hollis

    Hollis Bloody furious

    Referencing software - does anyone use it? I've been playing around with Mendeley for my dissertation... seems okay, but not sure it is worth it.. :confused:
  11. aqua

    aqua made of cheese and gin

    I use endnote, it's a fucking pain in the arse at best :mad:
  12. Looby

    Looby Well-Known Member

    I’ve just been introduced to endnote and I feel like it could change my life. The library bloke said I was being a little optimistic.
  13. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    First, what do you mean by reference software? Something that organises your journal articles or something that handles the referencing for you within a document?

    Personally I use software for both - Papers for organising my articles, and bibtex for sorting our references in a manuscript. You can do the former by hand (though I think it's better to use something Mendeley, Papers, EndNote if you have to), but I cannot stress enough how you should get some software to do the second. I don't know how anyone can write papers, let alone a thesis, without some sort of reference software.

    Recommendations depend on what you use to write, Word, LaTeX or something else?

    If you're still only beginning to write I'd strongly recommend becoming familiar (if you aren't already) with LaTeX. There is a bit of a learning curve but once you've got the hang go it LaTeX is about a billion times better than Word. It handles figures, tables, references, equations all miles better than Word, it doesn't have a problem with large files, and there are templates for many journals already out there. Referencing in LaTeX is so easy, you just select the papers you want to reference in Mendeley then export a bibtex file and link it to your .tex file. All the rest will be handled for you.

    EDIT: aqua are you a mac user? For Mac people I suggest looking at Papers instead of EndNote or Mendeley. Unlike Mendeley it isn't free but it's not very expensive and even if you can't get your institution to pay for it there's a 30 day free trial. Personally I think its much better than Mendeley, and blows EndNote completely out of the water (though I have to admit I've not used Mendeley for some time so I could be a bit out of date)
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
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  14. planetgeli

    planetgeli There's no future in England's dreaming

  15. Hollis

    Hollis Bloody furious

    I use Word - and just use the referencing function in that for documents. I'm more into something to organise the journal articles.. though with Mendeley you can highlight/note take articles online, which is also a good feature.
  16. aqua

    aqua made of cheese and gin

    I am a Mac user but only recently and my work pc isn't, so I started with endnote and I'll use it until submitted now. In the future I'd look for others...

    Looby it is good, better than my ug days of doing everything by hand, but you have to double check everything, it has a habit of fucking things up...
  17. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    Papers will export an EndNote library for you, which you can then import into EndNote, which is a bit roundabout task but Papers integrates with lots of databases so IME it does a lot better job of getting references correct than EndNote by itself.

    Though in your case you're probably so close to the end that it's not worth it.
  18. aqua

    aqua made of cheese and gin

    4 weeks. Yep close to the end (again :D)
  19. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    I used latex with a miktex front end so it worked like word but writes latex. Used bibtex for references, worked great.MMy these had a huge amount of equations so it latex was the way ahead, basically.

    I found word couldn't handle large files very easily but it may be better now.
  20. Sunset Tree

    Sunset Tree Well-Known Member

    One supervisor saying to do one thing in a group email, another replying saying don't do that it's a waste of time. Awkward. Going with the most senior supervisor (happily, the one who said do nothing, hence less work to do!).
    equationgirl likes this.
  21. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    Supervisors don't always get it right - mine thought I was being a massive slacker until I handed him the first draft of one of my thesis chapters then he agreed I had actually been working.

    The good ones are great. The bad ones are terrible or just never there. Most are in the middle.
  22. aqua

    aqua made of cheese and gin

    Mine just don't give a shit. Well 1 doesn't. The other tries but she's got a new job so leaves in the summer anyway.

    I've also come to the conclusion that I'm not going to pass this time either. I know what it should look like, and mine simply doesn't. And I have neither the time or the motivation to do anything about it.
  23. mango5

    mango5 Endeavour era

    Here for you.
  24. aqua

    aqua made of cheese and gin

    Thanks :) I'm pretty OK with it tbh. I did some proper thinking the other week about this, and the strike happening and everything else, I just don't think I want to stay in HE anyway. No idea what I do want to do mind. Anyway, the phd isn't important to me really, and what I'm currently sacrificing isn't worth it longer term than this. So I'm going to do what I can, give it what I can without making myself any more poorly, and come the next viva it just is what is it :)

    I've checked with the people that matter and they won't think any worse of me. And since I came to this conclusion I'm WAY happier in myself too :) I mean, I've enjoyed the challenge, but admitting defeat isn't so bad really, we can't all do everything right :)
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  25. Sunset Tree

    Sunset Tree Well-Known Member

    So on this plagiarism thing... just got an email from the senate inviting me to an investigation meeting. They've attached copies of both our work with the similarities highlighted and HOLY SHIT this guy has ripped off my work in the most obvious and blatant way. Half the text is highlighted. Whole sentences written out the same way. Ever answer making the same points and interpretations.

    It is actually ridiculous and I can't believe he's been trying to downplay it as coincidence. I feel sick reading it. It's obvious that he's just copied directly from my answers, occasionally making a half-hearted attempt at restructuring a sentence, but with key phrases kept exactly the same. I am fuming.

    Meeting is in 10 days, I'm actually looking forward to the chance to explain this.
  26. aqua

    aqua made of cheese and gin

    10 days. I'm still pretty sure it's going to fail (again, if you count R&R as a fail like it is) but I'm just past caring. I'm tired and I want my life back. I have re-written pretty much the whole fucking thing which is a bit mad when I think about it. If this ain't good enough, I'm done and I'm just not cut out for it. I have 2 young kids and I want to spend my time with them and not sat doing this fucking shit any longer :mad:

    10 days until I get as drunk as I've been in years too :oops: and I'm more excited about that than actually resubmitting :oops:
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  27. Sunset Tree

    Sunset Tree Well-Known Member

    The plagiarism nightmare is over! I've been given a minor penalty for sharing my work. They have accepted mine is the original and I didn't commit plagiarism. My work will be graded then deducted one secondary band e.g. if I got a B1 it will be made a B2. No record of this incident will show on my academic transcript.

    I believe the other student is going to get a 0. Basically means even if he did well in the exam he'll end up with an F or something due to this coursework.

    I had loads of evidence but he was still claiming that any similarities were coincidental. I could tell the senate found this laughable and I kind of bonded with them chatting about the ridiculous nature of the similarities.

    I feel vindicated and can move forward now.
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  28. mango5

    mango5 Endeavour era

    Glad the system worked for you.
    Sunset Tree likes this.
  29. Sunset Tree

    Sunset Tree Well-Known Member

    Thanks, it's such a relief. Was really awkward because his meeting was right before mine. I saw him outside and he was being all friendly. Saw him after his meeting and his face was thunder.

    Most annoying thing was he'd copied parts where I'd answered a question in a unique or creative manner. He'd copy the whole approach. Even if I was putting in material that wasn't prompted by the question. It is not a good feeling to see ideas you were proud of on someone else's paper.

    He messaged me afterwards saying they want to kick him off the course, asking if I can send him all the evidence I submitted, so he can work out how best to construct a defence. I don't think getting kicked off the course is even a potential outcome, I was told he'll probably just fail this assignment. I don't think I should send him anything.
  30. Sunset Tree

    Sunset Tree Well-Known Member

    Also, he was claiming similarities were just due to occasionally having to use the same language as the assignment paper. But there were parts where I'd clearly summarised the paper into my own words, and my paraphrasing had been replicated on his paper. His defence was so weak and nonsensical I assume he was hoping plausible deniability was his best chance. I think he'd have been better to come clean and thrown himself at their mercy.
    equationgirl likes this.

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