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We are in a disarray, when someone ask us to
paraphrase a single sentence. This, I observed in the
last so many workshops conducted for training faculty
members in literature review, research, and plagiarism.
Nowadays, the culture of using google for educational
purpose is prevalent, with more and more students and
researchers using it for retrieving study material and
articles. With this, there are more and more online and
subscription based plagiarism checkers available. With
the advent of these checkers, students have found ways
of avoiding plagiarism. However, we, the researchers
and faculty members are being trained in learning 600
muscle names, 206 bones names, 33 pathological
processes, 660 drug names, more than 300 diseases
names, but unfortunately, we have not been trained in
writing analytical and reflective writing.
Plagiarism was not considered to be a menace
until recently. People in academia have lost their jobs,
teaching responsibilities, and promotions in the last 2
decades exclusively or partly because of either stealing
other`s ideas or duplicating the research of others1.
These events have occurred either on purpose or in ignorance.
In response to these, the academic institutions
have developed plagiarism standing committees to deal
with these cases. Higher Education Commission (HEC)
has introduced its plagiarism policy that is applicable to
all academic institutions in the country2. The individual
research journals globally have developed policies
to avoid plagiarism by applying the “word similarity
checkers” or other web-based tools.
While retrieving articles from search engines and
databases is not a crime, but pasting the contents in
our own documents as such and without quoting the
original source is considered to be a fraud and hence
“plagiarism’3. Although, the available online and subscription
based, “so-called” plagiarism checkers are
thought to be solving the problem of plagiarism, but
actually, these are “word similarity checkers”. These
programs cannot check the duplication and stealing of
ideas and paraphrased statements but just a group of
similar words, statements, tables, figures or any other
art. For identifying ideas and paraphrased contents,
one needs to do a physical check of the document.
The answer to this problem is to collect other
people`s ideas, researches and literatures and present
it in a way that has an analytical touch of your own,
while citing the sources in the meantime4. Students and
faculty need to develop the skills of analytical academic
writing. These steps include; developing a question
before the start of a document, research paper, thesis
writing, collecting the relevant documents by doing a
literature search, skimming and reading the articles,
thereby, selecting the proper articles and sources for
review. A detailed study of final articles will develop
deep understanding in the mind of reader, that is the
first step towards academic and analytical writing.
This pre-writing stage is followed by 4 more steps
while writing your own document from skimmed, read
and studied documents; an introduction session, that
will set the scene for further writing and reading by the
others. The body, which consists of a few paragraphs,
that consists of clarifying the concept, analyzing it and
providing evidence for support of your ideas. Taking
care of writing style, grammar, punctuations and paraphrasing
is the third component of analytical writing.
At the end, be prepared for writing a summary or conclusion,
that consists of presenting your arguments
in a global context, providing explanations, solutions
and recommendations5. Don’t forget to read your assay
a few times, cross checking with your peers and
colleagues and present it in format that suits the site
where you want to present6.
Paraphrasing and analytical writing per se, is considered
to be a way of managing and avoiding plagiarism,
but still one needs to cite the original source. Even
the ideas have to be cited. Faculty and students who
160 J Med Sci July 2019, Vol. 27, No. 3
are pursuing their careers in research, education and
writing needs training on avoiding plagiarism. Individual
organizations need to arrange such programs. These
organizations also need to develop plagiarism standing
committees to deal with such cases transparently. These
collective efforts will enhance the awareness amongst
the researchers and teachers to properly collect the
resources, analytically present these, and at the same
time cite the proper sources.
1 Posner RA. The little book of plagiarism. Pantheon;
2 Memon AR, Awan MM. Higher education needs
more improvement: The case of Pakistan. J Pak Med
Assoc. 2017 May 1;67(5):821.
3 Helgesson G, Eriksson S. Plagiarism in research.
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy. 2015 Feb
4 Yadav S, Rawal G, Baxi M. Plagiarism-A serious
scientific misconduct. Int J Health Sci Res.
5 Gasparyan AY, Nurmashev B, Seksenbayev B,
Trukhachev VI, Kostyukova EI, Kitas GD. Plagiarism
in the context of education and evolving detection
strategies. Journal of Korean medical science. 2017
6 Gomez-Laich MP, Miller RT, Pessoa S. Scaffolding
analytical argumentative writing in a design class:
A corpus analysis of student writing. Linguistics and
Education. 2019 Jun 1;51:20-30.
Dr. Farooq Ahmed
M.B.B.S / F.C.P.S / M.H.P.E
Associate Dean Research and
Director Medical Education, Khyber Medical College
Peshawar - Pakistan
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