Plagiarism in Personal Statements of Anesthesiology Residency Applicants

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Abstract

Plagiarism by residency applicants in their personal statements, as well as sites that sell personal statements, have been described, and led in 2011 to advice to avoid plagiarism and the caution that plagiarism detection software was available. We screened personal statements of 467 anesthesiology residency applicants from 2013–2014 using Viper Plagiarism Scanner software, and studied them for plagiarism. After quotes and commonly used phrases were removed, 82 statements contained unoriginal content of 8 or more consecutive words. After the study, 13.6% of personal statements from non-United States medical school graduates, and 4.0% from United States medical school graduates, contained plagiarized material, a significant difference. Plagiarized content ranged up to 58%. Plagiarism continues to occur in anesthesiology residency personal statements, with a higher incidence among graduates of non-United States medical schools.

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