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Developing good academic practice
Developing good academic practice

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3.3 Using extracts from spoken and online discussions

In oral discussions, the words are spoken out loud and soon forgotten. Most people listen to what different members of the group will have to say in an oral discussion and generally recall the overall gist of the argument rather than noting down every specific word. This enables them to present their own interpretation of the discussion and the different arguments presented by different contributors, rather than a word-for-word transcript of everything that was said.

In contrast, in an online discussion (e.g. within a forum, a series of emails, or an instant messaging service such as Skype or MSN), every word presented is a part of the permanent written record, which is easy to review over and over again. It is also easy to cut and paste into your document, so very easy to plagiarise!

It is important to write your own notes about what you have gleaned from an online discussion, rather than simply cutting and pasting. Then, when you come to write your assignment it will be based on your own interpretation of the discussion and you will be able to demonstrate your understanding of the subject.