Plagiarism in Professional Writing Discussion Assignment
Contains unread posts
You will share your understanding of primary and secondary audiences with your classmates and how this understanding impacts your business report.
The purpose of this discussion topic is to allow you to reflect on your audience for your final research-based report and to see how your fellow students’ concept of audience may have impacted their reports.
Please respond to the following items. Post your responses to these items to this discussion topic.
Please conduct a search on the terms primary audience and secondary audience. List two sources you found and how they defined these two terms. List in APA reference format and provide a paragraph description with citations.
For your research-based report, who is the primary audience? Who is the secondary audience? Describe each and why one is primary and one is secondary. Cite sources in your response.
Does the secondary audience impact how you write the report? Please explain why or why not and cite sources in your paragraph response.
Please note that you will not be able to see other students’ responses to this discussion topic until you post your response.
Review the assigned reading, which looks at how complicated our understanding of plagiarism and its meaning really is.
Answer the two assigned questions about how this relates to your understanding of business writing practices. Post your answers as your response to this discussion topic.
Here is an excerpt from an article called “Plagiarism Doesn’t Bother Me” by Professor Gerald Nelms:
In some “real-world” contexts, plagiarism is not only acceptable but is expected. Brian Martin calls this “institutionalized plagiarism.”
Plagiarism is as tied to context as every other aspect of language use. In our everyday conversations—and lectures and classroom discussions—we frequently give information without citing its source(s). Moreover, there exist contexts where plagiarism is not only acceptable but is expected and encouraged. Audience expectations and intellectual property conventions of the community in which the language use occurs determines whether adopting source material and expression without citation is acceptable or not. “Institutional plagiarism” frequently occurs and is accepted without even the lifting of an eyebrow in most daily business communications and in other bureaucratic contexts. For example, if a company employee were to try to compose a quarterly report with original language and organization, her supervisor would probably take her aside and explain that to be more efficient, she should simply adopt the organization and language of past quarterly reports.
Some might argue that “institutionalized plagiarism” is acceptable because the language and forms being plagiarized are “common knowledge.” That may be the case in some instances of institutionalized plagiarism but not in every case. Too often, we de-contextualize common knowledge, thinking of it as facts every child learns in school or as information that exists in at least five (or whatever number of) credible sources, as some textbooks have defined it. In fact, content alone does not define knowledge as “common.” Common knowledge is that which is presumed to be ubiquitous or, at least, widespread within a specific community—that is, in context. Not all institutionalized plagiarism fits that bill.
Consider, for example, the annual reports that a company will publish and distribute to its investors and creditors and auditors and public officials and anyone else who might be interested. Annual reports are notorious for using the same templates year after year. They follow the same organizational structure every year. They almost invariably use a similar vocabulary, the same phrases, the same sentences in many instances. Yet, no one accuses the authors, often anonymous or named in the fine print, of plagiarism. No investors divest themselves of holdings in a company because its annual report is institutionally plagiarized.
This excerpt uses two common examples of business writing in discussing ways in which information is plagiarized – or not – depending, perhaps upon the view of those in a particular business setting.
There are two worthwhile questions to consider concerning what Nelms tells us about these seemingly plagiarizing practices of business/professional writing.
In a short paragraph FOR EACH, respond to the following questions. Post your paragraphs as your response to this discussion topic. Use correctly formatted and placed 7th Ed citations within the paragraphs and references at the end of the posting.
1) Based on your experience, give an example of such practices in your work. Why do you think this sort of plagiarizing is rather common in business/professional writing?
2) Where do you think the practice of using the same format, even the same language, for business documents might have come from? Give an example of when you have noticed the use of what is sometimes called “boilerplate” documents and language?