Tuesday, November 02, 2004

SideLines, November 2004

Training needed for PhD supervisors?

How is it possible for PhD students to submit entire pages of text that is obviously not their own, that is from no acknowledged source, and that can be easily located on the internet? How can PhD supervisors let their students devalue their own work, and make this kind of mistake? There is not just a knowledge divide in the world, but also a divide in how to report knowledge, in basic writing skills, and in attitudes towards previous texts and their authors. Perhaps, for some writers, it is an honour to be quoted at all, even without acknowledgement, and perhaps some people believe it is a right to bestow such an honour on others. Or is it no honour at all, and no right at all, from any perspective, no matter how philosophical or relativist one tries to be?
These are questions I direct to any students, teachers, and research writers who may be reading this column. If you have an opinion on the matter, or experience to report, please contact me. In my role as an occasional PhD examiner, I need moral support. I would also like to report back to this Cooperative on what I learn from this call for the Defense of Good Writing and Self Respect.

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