Duncan is a psychology student at a local university. During the first semester of his junior year he takes a course called Theories and Theorists where he is required to write a paper summarizing the work of a famous theorist that they studied that semester.
The following semester, Duncan takes a class called Research Methods where another professor assigns him a similar project. It just so happens that one of the theorists they are allowed to research was the subject of Duncan’s paper the previous semester. He decides that there is absolutely no need to write a new paper when he can just simply write a new introductory paragraph, change the cover sheet and use the same paper for this course. Duncan is thrilled to realize that he has been spared weeks of research and writing.
When he mentions his plan to his roommate Kevin, he is met with apprehension. Kevin points out the university has a pretty strict policy against plagiarism and that if caught, Duncan could find himself in serious trouble. Duncan laughs this off and tells his roommate that he is not in any danger because he is only resubmitting his own paper, not passing someone else’s work off as his own. Kevin tells Duncan that what he is doing is “self-plagiarizing” and it’s no different than stealing someone else’s work.
Does Kevin have a point? Is it wrong to use the same paper for more than one course if the content is applicable to both? Would you agree that Duncan is self-plagiarizing?