5.2 Percent of Residency Applicant Essays PlagiarizedLast Updated: July 20, 2010. About 5 percent of the application essays to residency programs -- often referred to as the personal statement -- contain plagiarized material, according to research published in the July 20 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
TUESDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- About 5 percent of the application essays to residency programs -- often referred to as the personal statement -- contain plagiarized material, according to research published in the July 20 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Scott Segal, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues used a software program to identify writing containing at least a 10 percent match to a database of published materials to assess residency application essays for plagiarism. They included 4,975 applications to residency programs within one academic institution; all applications were for residency programs beginning in July 2007.
The researchers found that, overall, 5.2 percent of the essays contained plagiarized material; residency applications from medical schools outside the United States or Canada were more likely to contain plagiarized material, as were those from non-U.S. citizens. Applicants without research experience, publications, volunteer hours, previous residency or fellowship, or membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society were more likely to have essays including plagiarism, as were those with lower scores on the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1.
"If the integrity of the personal statement is increasingly polluted by Internet samples or hired consultants, perhaps the personal statement is ill-suited to this era and best left to history. In one stroke, this action would solve the problem of plagiarism on personal statements substantially more effectively than a nationwide campaign," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.
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