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Sociological concepts and perspectives from the media - Essay Example

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A sociological analysis of concepts and perspectives in four Internet based articles Four Internet based articles were analysed from a sociological perspective with respect to the central issue discussed and the concepts involved. The topics of the four articles are as follows: 1…
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Sociological concepts and perspectives from the media
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Download file to see previous pages Author and date: Jimmy Wales, 1 March 2011 Source: Guardian online newspaper at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/01/plagiarism-education-web-wiki-follies The central issue in this article is the problem of people using the web to find and copy material from and passing it off as their own in their academic works, in other words, the problem of plagiarism using web-based sources. It is shown that new online tools are now being used to detect such incidents. The Internet is blamed for fostering “a cut-and-paste culture of uncritical plagiarism”. The problem is particularly evident among school and university students who copy material directly from sites such as Wikipedia. Two such cases of plagiarism are mentioned involving prominent people. In the first, the German defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was found to have plagiarised parts of his PhD from the University of Bayreuth, and consequently resigned. In the second, Saif Gaddafi is mentioned as possibly also having plagiarised his PhD thesis at the London School of Economics. These cases were exposed using specially created wikis on a site named PlagiPedia to handle the large-scale collaborative effort. They used Google Docs earlier but it was found to be only suitable for small group collaboration. The first case took two weeks of effort led by the university “to identify the specific sections from this thesis that were lifted straight from other sources”. Over 40,000 comments and twelve hundred pages of details of the accusations were compiled. The media and computing professor at the university remarked how fast the revocation decision had been reached. Similar tools are also now available for exposing plagiarism in the media following the unveiling of a ‘churn engine’ called churnalism.com by Britain’s Media Standards Trust. Press releases can now be checked to find out “the extent to which they have been recycled, verbatim, in online news articles”. The possibilities brought about by the new online tools are likened to the revolutions currently taking place in the Middle East in which sites such as Twitter and Facebook are playing significant roles. Whereas previously there were typically small committees of experts checking for plagiarism, it is now possible to allow larger collaborative efforts, which are far more effective. However, as pointed out, while such sites can help to initiate activism, ultimately it is the network of people who really know each other face-to-face that bring about the change. This articles highlights two points. Firstly, the ease with which people can plagiarism using web-based sources and secondly, the newer collaboration tools that now make it possible to detect issues of plagiarism. The first shows a modern form of deviance whereby people can get easy access to information and also think they can easily get away with it. The second demonstrates the powerful potential of online collaboration, which is a form of social interaction. In both cases, the Internet plays the central role as the medium of global information and communication. The issue also highlights the need to rethink educational practices and mass media reporting processes. Either plagiarism should be detected more readily to stamp out the practice or the seriousness of the issue should be seen as lending support for completely replacing coursework with exams. Article 2: Youth Culture ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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