I wonder how to teach and instill the value of original work, and crediting others for their work when appropriate, to students who may not be interested in this issue. It’s an important concept to those of us who produce original work and feel we deserve credit for that work, but what about undergraduate students in introductory classes who may not have been in the position to produce original work or experience someone’s plagiarism of that, or who have no interest in participating in the types of activities or careers that require these things? I don’t think every profession places equal value on originality, so plagiarism may be less of a sensitive topic for some industries. In life in general, despite the career one chooses, I think the concepts embodied here are critical to developing an honest and moral character, but the connections may not be as evident to a student who thinks there are better ways to spend their time. So how do we teach something that may seem boring or irrelevant to people who don’t want to learn about it? To some students, an introductory to psychology class may be a requirement, or one they are not interested in pursuing as a degree or career. So putting in the effort of creating original work for assignments may seem like a waste of time or energy. Can we as educators change their minds, and change their perspective?
Posing hypothetical situations could be one way to approach this. Consider having worked on a project for months and months, and generating your own output based on that effort. What if someone else claimed it as theirs, and everyone believed them? I’m not sure if this would really resonate with people without a more concrete example, and I think it’s a pretty narrow and over simplified version of the truth. There must be a way to indicate the broader implications of plagiarizing.
Fabricating evidence is just as detrimental to scholarly discourse, and there’s an easy way to exemplify this. The illustration could be of Andrew Wakefield and his fabricated science “supporting” that the MMR vaccine contributes to or causes autism in children. There is absolutely no part of that argument that is accurate or evidence-based, and it was recanted by the entire scientific world, and he was dismissed and lost his credentials as a consequence of this. But people still reference it as a reason for not vaccinating their children, despite the scientifically-proven detrimental effect abstaining from vaccination has on the larger community. Providing this example could demonstrate that there are practical, important, and real-world implications that can result from unethical and dishonest science and more broadly, reporting of that science.