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VOL. 2 NO. 2, SPRING 2010

from plagiarism detection—-in fact, one chapter is titled “Tools for Detecting Plagiarism”—she promotes the cooperative strategies of designing assignments that are more difficult to plagiarize and of teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. All of the sugges- tions stated above can be used within the framework of stasis theory: determining what occurred and to what degree, and then determining a reaction. Stasis theory

would serve to remind instructors to feature instruction in accepted definitions of plagiarism in academic set- tings and in well-designed assignments and lessons on proper attribution.


Stasis theory, then, provides a means of featuring the teaching of rules of intellectual property, thereby front- loading the writing process with instruction rather than making detection and punishment the primary activities. As the students read about cases of potential plagiarism, they would be asked to consider if, indeed, something suspicious or at least unconventional had occurred in the preparation of a written artifact. e students might be assigned to read papers intentionally written for such an examination, or that might read published articles detailing suspected acts of plagiarism such as the accounts describing Jessica Seinfeld or Ian McKewan (Nivens, 2009).

Most teachers will probably find a combination of instruction and detection that suits their teaching philosophy. Although I spend a considerable amount of time on instruction in intellectual property and academic attribution in both first-year and advanced classes, I will also continue to check those papers with suspicious passages, just as I will continue to monitor the room when students are taking an exam.

Whatever policy we choose, stasis theory permits a logical and helpful sequence of actions to take and decisions to make, and it allows us to include students in every step, thereby offering a number of teachable


Bolin – Addressing Plagiarism

moments. Because definitions of plagiarism are so unclear and dependent on circumstances, the move from the particular to the general encouraged by stasis theory allows us some structure in evaluating student writing and then taking appropriate action. Teachers of rhetoric flourished in Ancient Greece and then in Ancient Rome for several reasons. Many profited finan- cially from their skills in teaching oratory in a society that required the accused to defend themselves in the courts. However, many rhetoricians wanted to teach young boys to become good citizens. We can follow that example, too, when we make our procedure one that values heading off potential plagiarism rather than investigating it.


Aristotle. (1991). On rhetoric. Trans., George A. Kennedy. New York: Oxford UP. Auer, N., & Krupar, E. (2001). Mouse click plagiarism: The role of technology in plagiarism and the librarian’s role in combating it. Library Trends, 49(3), 415. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database. Blum, S. (2009). My word! Plagiarism and college culture. Ithaca: Cornell UP. B o w d e n , D . ( 1 9 9 6 ) . C o m i n g t o t e r m s : P l a g i a r i s m . English Journal 85(4), 82-84.

Corbett, E.P.J. (1963). e usefulness of classical rhetoric. College Composition and Communication, 14(3), 162-164. Retrieved from JSTOR. Corbett, E.P.J. (1965). Classical rhetoric for the modern student. New York: Oxford UP. Corbett, E.P.J., & Connors, R. (4th ed.). (1998). Classical rhetoric for the modern student. New York: Oxford UP. Crowley, S. (1994). Ancient rhetorics for contemporary students. New York: Macmillan.



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