am I SUPER screwed?

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by twistor » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:29 pm

zxcv wrote:
asouljahman wrote:My point is that the overwhelming majority of graduate physics students will not, and do not think twice about submitting these solution sets as their own, and the fact of the matter is that when it is crunch time and you have back to back assignments and sweating bullets worrying about your graduate GPA, you wouldn't think twice about it either. What's more is that professors know this to be the case! They simply look past it and award this dishonesty with an A at the end of the semester.
I disagree -- I think this is wrong.

There may be nothing wrong with looking at a solution set for inspiration -- that's what we do when we talk over problems with our classmates all the time. But cite it properly and at the least demonstrate that you understand what you're writing by doing the work yourself! Copying someone else's words as your own is wrong and should not be tolerated.
Do you honestly expect us to believe that you have cited the answer key and your fellow classmates as references on your homework assignments?

What kind of fools do you take us for?

sterculus
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by sterculus » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:20 pm

In a course I'm currently enrolled in we are required to list classmates that we collaborate with on the problem sets, and this has not been uncommon throughout my undergrad career here. Looking up solutions is generally explicitly forbidden and I've never heard of anyone doing so, although I suppose it's possible.

NB: This all applies to a liberal arts undergrad-only institution, so may not be applicable to other environments i.e. grad school. I just wanted to throw in my two cents.

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zxcv
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by zxcv » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:25 pm

twistor wrote:Do you honestly expect us to believe that you have cited the answer key and your fellow classmates as references on your homework assignments?
You're right, I generally don't do this. But this is because:
1) I very rarely look at answer keys. (I did a few times for Jackson problems last semester, but in neither case liked the approaches I found so I solved them my own way.)
2) I don't copy work. This is really the important point. There is a very significant difference between using the structure of somebody else's proof and copying down their exact words.

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by twistor » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:47 pm

It doesn't matter that you chose to solve the problems a different way if you looked at the answer key. The point was that you knew the answers and then figured out the technique to derive them. By your own rules you should have cited this on your paper. Not doing so is academic dishonesty.

I have the tar, but where the hell did I put those feathers...

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zxcv
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by zxcv » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:24 pm

twistor wrote:The point was that you knew the answers and then figured out the technique to derive them.
In fact, this is not true. Don't be the jerk who makes assumptions.

It is also still not like the case I brought up originally.

cato88
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by cato88 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:29 pm

zxcv wrote: 1) I very rarely look at answer keys. (I did a few times for Jackson problems last semester, but in neither case liked the approaches I found so I solved them my own way.)
In a black and white world this is ground to be reprimanded because youre receiving a benefit that other students are not even if you decide not to use it (Like peeking at someone elses cards in a game and deciding not to screw them over) because if the professor meant for you to look at the answers he would of provided or suggested you purchase the answer key.

If youre going to be on a high horse you better be pure.

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by twistor » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:09 pm

zxcv wrote:
twistor wrote:The point was that you knew the answers and then figured out the technique to derive them.
In fact, this is not true. Don't be the jerk who makes assumptions.

It is also still not like the case I brought up originally.
I'm not making assumptions. You said you looked at the answer key.

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dlenmn
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Enough with the horses

Post by dlenmn » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:31 pm

There's no need to bring horses -- high or otherwise -- in to this (especially from users named bronco). I don't see much evidence for zxcv being contemptuous, arrogant, or condescending.

We all agree that plagiarism is bad, but we disagree on the appropriate punishment(s). Absolute moral purity is not needed to advocate a particular punishment for a particular offense.

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zxcv
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by zxcv » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:36 pm

twistor wrote:I'm not making assumptions. You said you looked at the answer key.
Yes, I did say that, but I did not work backwards from final answers, or even really take note of them. I was curious about the approach taken in the solutions manual I found online, not the particular work.

You guys can argue about this all you want, but we were not told that any resources were off limits to look at. I think actually using them (as would be appropriate to reference) or copying them is significantly different matter.

cato88
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by cato88 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:08 am

dlenmn wrote: We all agree that plagiarism is bad, but we disagree on the appropriate punishment(s). Absolute moral purity is not needed to advocate a particular punishment for a particular offense.
True but with that logic the word hypocrite should not have a negative connotation yet society has implicitly agreed on hypocrite a negative connotation.
zxcv wrote: You guys can argue about this all you want, but we were not told that any resources were off limits to look at.
That the same excuse people always use.
"Nobody ever told me explicitly I could never cork the bat."
"I thought they were vitamin supplements"
"You did not say I could not do that".

excel
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by excel » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:40 am

This conversation keeps degenerating into one of trying to prove some particular person is "bad": first, quizi and now zxcv. Would it not be better if the focus remained on answering the question that is the topic of this thread? That is, if there is anything more to say on that topic!

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zxcv
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by zxcv » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:43 am

By my own standard of "cite solutions you use" I did nothing wrong. I'm done arguing about this.

I'm not claiming I haven't made mistakes -- with rare exceptions, nobody is 100% pure.

But I still think legitimate distinctions can be made between borderline and definitely not okay behavior. (Not citing a source on a problem set may actually be a broader-line case, as you guys point out.) Some behavior is definitely NOT okay, and to me would indicate a breech of ethics. Copying someone else's work directly and without citation is one of those, and we all know that.

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Helio
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by Helio » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:10 am

1. Be honesty... It will show you learned something...might even impress someone to overlook it
2. As long as you get in you should be happy. You might even be able to transfer later without a undergrad transcript
3. It would be nice if you would answer and give your opinion to the ideas that were brought forth here. It is a bit odd that the OP has not yet responded

YF17A
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by YF17A » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:34 am

It is a bit odd that the OP has not yet responded
Has anyone considered that the OP was just trying to provoke an angry discussion of a contentious topic?

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Helio
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by Helio » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:45 am

YF17A wrote:
It is a bit odd that the OP has not yet responded
Has anyone considered that the OP was just trying to provoke an angry discussion of a contentious topic?
maybe the OP is garden

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WontonBurritoMeals
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by WontonBurritoMeals » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:02 am

Since this topic has fallen off of the edge, I may as well throw my own lot in.

The weakest part of my application will almost certainly be my GPA (major/non-major): 3.6/3.8 at a random state school. Part of the reason for this is that I have never cheated. The worst I ever did was write down some equations in my calculator after I got the professor to specifically enumerate allowing "anything" in the calculator. I've never even used the solution to a problem if it was located in a reference book that I've known about. Hell, even when a professor explains a problem durring study hours, I make sure not to copy anything down.

Do I hold everyone to this standerd? Of course not! But what DOES bother me is that people have often asked for MY help. When I tutored, people would get my help on take-home tests, and in other cases expect me to do their homework for them. Some people have expected me to hand over my source code so that they can get hints from it...

If I ever got caught for something like that, *I* could be liable for plagarism and kicked out. I've graded assignments where every answer was wrong and the next three people copied them. I've heard that people will write papers for each other if they're bf/gf, or even copy them from online...

A part of me wants to shout in my SOP: "My GPA sucks, yeah. But I am part of the estimated 10% that never cheated!" I don't know how much cheating helps your GPA (it has to a little bit, or else people wouldn't take that risk obviously), but it doesn't hurt. Insinuating that everyone succumbs to it can come off as somewhat insulting.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Wonton Burrito Meals

cato88
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by cato88 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:48 am

That sucks WontonBurritoMeals everyone's undergrad experience will vary and their grades will reflect different amounts of work. Some students work on problem sets as a group and others dont the latter obviously is going to work harder but their GPA is not necessary going to reflect that and I guess that another reason why GPA may not be the end all means of comparing students even in the same university. I read about student athletes at top athletic schools receiving personal tutors to help them match NCAA standards. Students whose parents with the means also receive the same aid when needed. You cant mention any of this in SOP. The best you can hope for is, honestly I dont know other than your PGRE reflects your growth otherwise I dont know.

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quizivex
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by quizivex » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:03 am

Helio wrote:maybe the OP is garden
YES!!! garden constructed that holy post through his disciple ghana in order to provoke responses from us that would reveal our ethical beliefs. It was all a test to see if our values follow garden's teachings.

What kind of response did garden want from us about the plagiarism chronicle? We can get an idea from his epic posts:
garden wrote:I keep three offers, and I will not turn any offer down untill the enrollment day! To be fair, they shopped students, and it is my turn, I am shopping a school.
RG wrote:^^ LMAO
are you feeling good about 'shopping' shcools?
garden wrote:So far so f*king good, RG! Visited schools, having lunches w/ working groups, hanging out w/ graduate students at the bars .... ha ha ha, and turning down some f*cking damn Profs!
By interpreting these scrolls, it seems what garden would want is for the student to screw over the evil profs. He must get himself admitted to as many schools as possible so he can sit on his offers until April 15th... This requires hiding the plagiarism incident. Even if the profs decide to investigate what happened, they will have wasted valuable time on his application, which is what garden would want. garden is undoubtedly disappointed at some of the responses on this thread. they should delete their posts ASAP if they want to be saved.

astrofan
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by astrofan » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:49 pm

zxcv wrote:By my own standard of "cite solutions you use" I did nothing wrong. I'm done arguing about this.

I'm not claiming I haven't made mistakes -- with rare exceptions, nobody is 100% pure.

But I still think legitimate distinctions can be made between borderline and definitely not okay behavior. (Not citing a source on a problem set may actually be a broader-line case, as you guys point out.) Some behavior is definitely NOT okay, and to me would indicate a breech of ethics. Copying someone else's work directly and without citation is one of those, and we all know that.
Sorry to continue this conversation, but I think you are missing the point. The only REAL litmus test for something being cheating is what the Professor teaching the class THINKS. So, you should have asked the professor if your actions were acceptable; if he said yes, then I don't see a problem. If he said no, then regardless of what I think or you think, it is not okay. Maybe other people disagree with me, but I think anything should be fair game as long as the teacher agrees to it. zxcv, do you think the professor would approve of your actions? I am not judging; I know I have done things in a few classes that the professor would not approve of.

With this in mind, several posts back I asked for more details about what happened in the case of the OP. I think it matters, as I still don't understand what the OP did. Let me give you an example; a friend of mine pulled an all nighter on a paper and made a couple citation errors. Although he did try to cite the source material, he did not use proper MLA citation format (it was a humanities class). The professor wanted to fail the guy for the paper, which was 50% of class grade so he would have failed the class (for what I consider to be an offense that can be overlooked or simply deduct points for). If you disagree with my assessment, I guess my example means nothing to you. However, I point out that I did the same thing with a different humanities professor, and my professor simply ignored the transgression; he did not even deduct points, but pointed out the correct MLA citation format.

Now, it all worked out. My friend explained that he was a science major and had not written a humanities paper in years so he forgot the proper citation method. However, lets say it hadn't. Several posts back, admissionprof said that any F would set off red flags and require a call to the professor. I strongly believe that the professor would have (or at least could have) found a way to convince admissionprof that some serious plagiarism had taken place. Furthermore, I think the situation would be worse at a top ten school who have too many good applicants to take the chance. All it takes is one jackass who has it out for you.

cato88
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by cato88 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:00 pm

astrofan wrote: Sorry to continue this conversation, but I think you are missing the point. The only REAL litmus test for something being cheating is what the Professor teaching the class THINKS. So, you should have asked the professor if your actions were acceptable; if he said yes, then I don't see a problem. If he said no, then regardless of what I think or you think, it is not okay.
I agree with that test with the addition that if you don't feel comfortable enough with what you're doing to ask your professor you're most likely doing something wrong.

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zxcv
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by zxcv » Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:50 am

astrofan wrote:Sorry to continue this conversation, but I think you are missing the point. The only REAL litmus test for something being cheating is what the Professor teaching the class THINKS. So, you should have asked the professor if your actions were acceptable; if he said yes, then I don't see a problem. If he said no, then regardless of what I think or you think, it is not okay. Maybe other people disagree with me, but I think anything should be fair game as long as the teacher agrees to it. zxcv, do you think the professor would approve of your actions? I am not judging; I know I have done things in a few classes that the professor would not approve of.
No, that's cool -- you're not being a jerk about it like certain posters (ahem).

Yes, I think you are right about the standards for any particular course, but ultimately in science we have to set our own standards. In my case, I did not ask the professor because he wasn't around (9pm-ish) and I felt what I was doing was so incidental as to not be of consequence. Actually, if they were around I would have assuredly bugged him or the TA instead, but I would have felt okay asking if looking at solutions was okay, too. I do not know how he would have responded.

EDIT: quote tag fixed
Last edited by zxcv on Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by twistor » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:22 am

zxcv wrote:
astrofan wrote:Sorry to continue this conversation, but I think you are missing the point. The only REAL litmus test for something being cheating is what the Professor teaching the class THINKS. So, you should have asked the professor if your actions were acceptable; if he said yes, then I don't see a problem. If he said no, then regardless of what I think or you think, it is not okay. Maybe other people disagree with me, but I think anything should be fair game as long as the teacher agrees to it. zxcv, do you think the professor would approve of your actions? I am not judging; I know I have done things in a few classes that the professor would not approve of.
No, that's cool -- you're not being a jerk about it like certain posters (ahem).

Yes, I think you are right about the standards for any particular course, but ultimately in science we have to set our own standards. In my case, I did not ask the professor because he wasn't around (9pm-ish) and I felt what I was doing was so incidental as to not be of consequence. Actually, if they were around I would have assuredly bugged him or the TA instead, but I would have felt okay asking if looking at solutions was okay, too. I do not know how he would have responded.
You wouldn't have asked anyway. I don't have to be Eckman to know bullshit when I hear it.

rohit
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by rohit » Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:40 am

The sanctimony and absolutism gets to me :o but i wanna stay quiet

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Julius_Sumner_Miller
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by Julius_Sumner_Miller » Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:31 am

zxcv is right, we need to adhere to the ethical and moral standards that make scientific research in America great, just look at this fine example:
http://www.sciam.com/blog/60-second-sci ... 2009-01-29
Last edited by Julius_Sumner_Miller on Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mhazelm
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by mhazelm » Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:56 am

all this talk of cheating on homework seems completely ridiculous to me.

If so many graduate students are cheating on homework with solutions manuals, then how do they pass the classes? Obviously solutions are abundant on the internet, but I would think most of us know that learning physics means doing a bit of struggling on homework. Those who copy solutions verbatim will not learn the physics; it's that simple. It seems like common sense to me that if you cheat to pass your classes, eventually the cheating will catch up to you (in exams, qualifiers, etc.).

However, I don't see a problem with using solutions manuals to check answers. When I did advanced E&M, my method of studying for the tests was to do as many of the unassigned problems in the book as possible. Had the solutions not been available, I wouldn't have been able to evaluate my weak areas and determine what problems I missed. So, they can be a nice tool to check your work, so long as they are not abused.

moleculeboy
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by moleculeboy » Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:22 pm

Just a couple of thoughts:

1.) I don't really think that the original poster not being able to get into top ten schools is "ending his academic career." Maybe he will have to go to a graduate school that doesn't satisfy his ambition. Seeing as it was his tremendous ambition that motivated him to cheat in the first place, I think that him being "humbled" to only go to a top 15-20 school might be good for him anyway. In my mind, that is an appropriate punishment.

2.) If you are caught cheating my feeling is that it wasn't your first time.

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grae313
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by grae313 » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:52 pm

moleculeboy wrote:2.) If you are caught cheating my feeling is that it wasn't your first time.
Careful with that one. I tried cheating twice, both in the sixth grade, and both times I got caught. :P :oops: :roll:

cato88
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by cato88 » Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:38 pm

I have seen enough court TV to see dumb criminals do stupid things the first time they commit a crime.
I think the probability of being caught is more like planck distribution over time, most people get better things as time progresses.

cato88
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by cato88 » Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:44 pm

mhazelm wrote:all this talk of cheating on homework seems completely ridiculous to me.

If so many graduate students are cheating on homework with solutions manuals, then how do they pass the classes? Obviously solutions are abundant on the internet, but I would think most of us know that learning physics means doing a bit of struggling on homework. Those who copy solutions verbatim will not learn the physics; it's that simple. It seems like common sense to me that if you cheat to pass your classes, eventually the cheating will catch up to you (in exams, qualifiers, etc.).
I could believe its possible since there are a not nearly the amount of exams for graduate other than qualifiers and there is also more grade inflation in grad classes(it might just seem like it because so much weight in HW which people can work together on).

astrofan
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by astrofan » Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:22 am

I give grad and even undergrad physicists more credit than that. It’s not about learning or not learning the physics; good physicists will attempt, struggle, and try to learn from hw on any level. Whether out of love for the subject matter or knowledge that they need to learn the material for the exam, good students will put in the hours on problem sets.

At my school, most good students, if presented with the solutions to a problem (in the form of a solution manual or a friend in the class who figured out how to solve the problem) would submit the correct answer. They attempted the problem to the best of their own ability, but are not honest enough to turn in the wrong answer. There are subtle ways that you can adjust the solution to make it very hard to tell that you used an aid or had someone else explain to you how to do it; this is especially easy if you were close to the right answer on your own.

The appropriate question is whether even looking at the solution manual crosses the line (or, for that matter, someone else uses the solution manual and then explains “his solution” to you).

Take it a step further, does having a friend explain how to solve a problem cross the line? That is, two students independently work on the problem set, and then come together to talk about how they solved each problem. If one student has the answer, and then explains the solution to the other, is it okay to use it? Even reporting that the collaboration took place does not fully explain the fact that only one person came up with the answer on his/her own.

mhazelm
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by mhazelm » Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:00 am

it's a good question. I don't know. However, homework sets to me are at least somewhat different from, say, research. In the former, you are typically solving problems of a "canned" nature - i.e. standard problems that have been solved by many, many people. At some point, certain things are publicly known enough to not elicit credit - i.e. 2+2 = 4 and the Happy Birthday song. In the latter, you are doing new work. For one, a published solution exists in several printed forms, and is, relatively speaking, common knowledge. It seems to me that there is an obvious difference.

Personally, I think that it would be absurd to write little citations into every HW problem just to indicate that my answer was verified with a specific book. However, I don't actually copy the answers, either - if I did, I suppose citation would be in order. And if it were a problem that was not well known (i.e. not a standard textbook problem), a citation should be in order even if just the method used (and not verbatim copying) was utilized. So, it's a subjective issue and depends on the situation.

I was under the impression from the OP that the original issue was copying someone else's work, verbatim, into a paper of some sort. Obviously this crosses the line. But for standard textbook problems, sorry, I don't think that citation is needed unless you want to copy the solution verbatim (and it is okay to ask a friend, professor, or tutor for help getting unstuck on a problem without citing them).

Theoretischer
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by Theoretischer » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:56 pm

.
Last edited by Theoretischer on Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by twistor » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:03 pm

Professor's that give you poor grades care much more about your development than those that let you slip by
This argument is of the same type as "I only beat you because I love you."

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by coreycwgriffin » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:53 am

twistor wrote:
Professor's that give you poor grades care much more about your development than those that let you slip by
This argument is of the same type as "I only beat you because I love you."
Hahaha

chishon
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by chishon » Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:48 pm

I don't know, for the most part, I don't find that looking at solutions for homework is a problem. However, my school might be much different than any of yours (I'm in Canada).

I've always found that my assignments either involve weird tricks, or information that isn't even discussed remotely in class or in the textbook. So often, random little facts that are essential to solving the problem are missing...unfortunately, I don't generally have years to spend on a problem set, and I don't think learning how to google is why I pay to go to school.

Anyway, I've been fortunate enough to form some fairly personal relationships with professors over the years. For the most part, they agree that for those who actually try, it doesn't matter too much if you look at the solutions. I think the key to homework sets is _learning_, not so much getting the right answer. A lot of my problem sets are worth practically nothing, which I think is the most fair, because I think they should be used more as instructional tools rather than forms of assessment. You really only cheat yourself if you read (and directly) copy the solutions; if you actually UNDERSTAND them, you should be able to re-word it in a way that makes most sense to you, and that's the whole point! After all, that's really what happens when you share ideas with friends...which profs often promote...

In any case, the people who are really going to succeed are the ones who are interested by the "interesting" problems, and truly try to understand the physics behind it. Plagarism is a bad habit to get into, so it's best to never start. But, in the same breath, I think we can all distinguish between trying to find the answer to a homework problem and trying to find the answer to a new problem.

cato88
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by cato88 » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:10 pm

oh this thread wont die

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Helio
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by Helio » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:32 pm

cato88 wrote:oh this thread wont die
somebody please lock it, The OP never came back and it is pointless to keep arguing if the OP does not seem to appreciate it. The ghost of garden i guess

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twistor
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by twistor » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:19 am

It's not pointless to keep arguing.

Everyone should have a chance to put in their opinion.

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grae313
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by grae313 » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:03 pm

twistor wrote:It's not pointless to keep arguing.

Everyone should have a chance to put in their opinion.
Chocolate ice cream is better than vanilla ice cream.

YF17A
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by YF17A » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:05 pm

grae, I think that the fact that you have time to still post on this forum while in graduate school is another plus for Cornell :)

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grae313
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by grae313 » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:06 pm

YF17A wrote:grae, I think that the fact that you have time to still post on this forum while in graduate school is another plus for Cornell :)
Well actually I don't, but I'm afraid of my stat mech homework so I'm wasting valuable time instead :shock:

CarlBrannen
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 11:34 pm

Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by CarlBrannen » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:54 pm

asouljahman wrote:My point is that the overwhelming majority of graduate physics students will not, and do not think twice about submitting these solution sets as their own, and the fact of the matter is that when it is crunch time and you have back to back assignments and sweating bullets worrying about your graduate GPA, you wouldn't think twice about it either. What's more is that professors know this to be the case! They simply look past it and award this dishonesty with an A at the end of the semester.
Having been in physics and math grad school, I can attest that this is simply not the truth. There is a necessity to work extremely hard but there is no necessity to look up answers.

I remember a horrible calculation I did in a QFT class for the lifetime of the neutron, if I recall. It went on for pages and pages and pages. I did it over and over and over but could never quite get (a) the correct answer, or (b) the same answer twice in a row.

Finally I turned in what I had, expecting a bad grade. The professor (who was actually a postdoc if I recall) gave it an "A". I asked him about the errors. He told me that on calculations like that, it was normal to end up wrong by a few factors of 2 or pi. He said that the first papers usually were published with errors that were corrected by later authors.

I remember other examples. Every now and then they will assign you a problem that is impossible to work in the time and skills you have available. The professors know this. They don't expect you to always get all the answers. Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.

kroner
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:58 am

Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by kroner » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:56 pm

Wow, this is a crazy thread. I totally agree with CarlBrannen though. The idea that it's necessary or expected that you cheat in order to get by in grad school is a ridiculous crock of ***.

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HappyQuark
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by HappyQuark » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:43 pm

Julius_Sumner_Miller wrote:zxcv is right, we need to adhere to the ethical and moral standards that make scientific research in America great, just look at this fine example:
http://www.sciam.com/blog/60-second-sci ... 2009-01-29
Where did they find a keyboard with the 'S', 'E' and 'X' keys next to one another. Also, shouldn't that read the 'NSFW annual report', rather than NSF?

Image

kroner
Posts: 218
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Re: am I SUPER screwed?

Post by kroner » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:37 am

There was a poster up at school a few weeks ago for an "N S F Workshop" written exactly like that and I was super intrigued.



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