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Plagiarism Survey

Dear Student,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to this survey, which should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.

We are conducting research into "plagiarism" in the context of writing computer programs, and we wish to discover what current students perceive the issues to be.

The results of this survey will be completely confidential, and will be used for statistical purposes only. No data will be revealed to anyone except the research team.

If you have any questions about this survey, or if you wish to be sent a copy of the research findings, please email me, or phone me on 024 7652 3368.

Dr Mike Joy


Before we begin, we need to know a small amount of information about you. This is to enable us to identify if there are significantly different responses depending on your institution, course or cultural background.

What is your degree course (select the description which most accurately describes it)?
Which of the following describes most accurately your background?

Next, we need to know if you understand what "plagiarism" is.

Plagiarism is defined by Wikipedia as: "... the practice of claiming or implying original authorship of (or incorporating material from) someone else's written or creative work, in whole or in part, into one's own without adequate acknowledgement."

Have you, during your current degree course, been informed about what plagiarism is?
Do you think you understand what plagiarism is?
Have you been informed, during your current degree, what the penalties might be if you were found to have plagiarised?

We now have fifteen scenarios, each of which may, or may not, describe an instance of plagiarism taking place. Some of these are “clear cut”, some are “grey areas” — we are interested in your point of view.

If you think that the answer is “Yes, but it depends on ...” then please answer “I think it is, but I'm not completely sure.”

Last term, John was rewarded high marks for a C++ programming assignment he authored and submitted. This term, as part of his final year project, he wants to use exactly one of the functions he already created for his C++ assignment. He finds the function, takes it and incorporates it into his completed final year project and submits it. Is this plagiarism?
Andy is required to submit a Java applet program for his assignment. He remembers reading about a similar applet program from a textbook he’s been using. He goes to find this, and uses this code and then submits it as his own program without noting that he obtained the code somewhere else. Is this plagiarism?
Nick and Paul are working on the same Prolog assignment in the computer lab, and are sitting next to each other. Paul briefly leaves his seat without locking his computer. Nick glanced over and saw on Paul’s computer some completed code for the assignment, and copies it before Paul comes back. Nick then makes minor adaptations of this to his program, and submits it as his own work. Is this plagiarism?
Whilst writing some source-code on a particular class for her C++ program, Sarah remembers the particular class being in a Java textbook that she was reading. She goes to obtain this Java textbook and converts the Java class from the textbook into C++ and adapts it to her program, and then submits it as her own work without referencing that textbook. Is this plagiarism?
Samantha is writing some source-code on a particular class for her C++ program. In order to help her gain some inspirations on the code she wants to write, she uses both a C++ and a Java textbook to read for ideas. She then authors and completes her program, and submits it as her own work without referencing the textbooks. Is this plagiarism?
Fred knows James who is in the year above him, and offers to pay him a small amount of money for creating a part of his program for him. James agrees and authors part of the program for him. Fred then completes the program, and submits it as his own work. Is this plagiarism?
Whilst collecting a printout from the printer, David sees a printed program which has been left uncollected for a long time. He takes the uncollected printout along with his own printout, and copies the work from the uncollected printout to his program, and submits this. Is this plagiarism?
Robin and his project group have finished their final year group project dissertation and are ensuring that
• all their names are included on the project cover,
• code authored by each individual member is commented,
• any other type of reuse in their program is commented, and
• all references are complete.
They then submit their dissertation. Is this plagiarism?
Steve decides that it would be more efficient to work on his Java applet programming assignment together with his friend on the same module. The assignment requires that they work alone. They then submit very similar Java applets. Is this plagiarism?
Russell and Antony are both required to work on their software engineering group projects, however they have been assigned different groups to work in. They decide to help each other out anyway by exchanging some parts of the assignment which they have problems with and are unsure about. They both then include the exchanged work in their group projects and submit them. Is this plagiarism?
Whilst writing a large Java program required for his third year project, Tom decides to reuse some source-code which he had authored previously. He acknowledges this in his program in the form of a comment, and submits it as his own work. Is this plagiarism?
Amy writes down some source-code from a text-book in the library which she wants to reuse as part of her C++ program, with the intention of making an acknowledgement of it in her program. She then returns to the computer lab but has forgotten to write down the name of the book. She then searches on the library website and writes down the name of one of the Java books that it could have been from, but she isn’t entirely sure, and makes a reference to this book in her program, and then submits it. Is this plagiarism?
Eric is working on his Java program and manages to make it compile and run, however it does not produce the wanted outputs that are required for this week’s assignment. He doesn’t understand why it’s not producing the wanted outputs and he decides that in order to solve this problem, he would just modify the program output to make it produce the wanted output, whilst the rest of the program was not functioning as the assignment requires it to. He then submits this work. Is this plagiarism?
Sophie has previously written a Visual Basic program for her A-level project, and wants to incorporate a function from there to her first year Java program. She first converts the function to Java, and then incorporates it, and notes this fact in her program in the form of a comment. Is this plagiarism?
Charlie and his group have completed their software engineering group project and just need to make references to the program code and their design of classes where they have reused others’ material. They then note in the program in the form of comments the reuse of code, and in their documentation the reuse of classes. Is this plagiarism?

Thank you! This is the end of the survey. Please click on "Answer" to submit your responses.

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