Academic Integrity: A Guide for Students
1. The Importance of Academic Integrity
Roosevelt University students are responsible for following the Standards of Conduct published in the Student Handbook. This includes the standard of academic integrity, which refers to honesty and responsibility in representing your own work and acknowledging the contribution of others.
Academic dishonesty includes cheating and unauthorized material on examinations, recycling of your own work without acknowledgment (e.g. submitting the same paper for different classes); the fabrication of information or making up sources; improper collaboration; and plagiarism.
All acts of academic dishonesty violate the very spirit of the university: They undermine the perpetrator’s own learning; they are unfair to other students who do their own work; they violate the trust between professor and student; and they diminish the value of the degree for all students.
For these reasons academic dishonesty is taken very seriously at Roosevelt University, with consequences ranging from failing the assignment or the course to being expelled by the University.
2. Definition of Academic Dishonesty
There are many forms of academic dishonesty. In the broadest sense, it is any act that enhances a student’s grade unethically and unfairly. This may be done by submitting someone else’s work as one’s own, in whole or in part; by failing to acknowledge assistance received; or by using unauthorized assistance in exams including notes or unauthorized advance knowledge of the test.
It is important that Roosevelt University students become familiar with these materials, as ignorance of the rules will not be accepted as an excuse when a student is caught in an act of academic dishonesty. Here, we will briefly define a few types of academic dishonesty, and then focus in greater detail on the act of plagiarism and how to avoid it.
These actions are considered cheating:
1. Copying other students' work or allowing your own work to be copied.
2. Using unauthorized notes or sources when taking tests.
3. Using unattributed passages or phrases from sources, including textbooks, on tests.
4. Stealing or otherwise obtaining test materials before tests.
Instructors expect that work submitted in a course is original work done for that course. While some instructors may allow you to revise an assignment done for another course or for a job, students must not assume that this is an acceptable practice.
These are examples of recycling:
1. Submitting your own work, which has been submitted and graded for an earlier course, for a second course.
Although the work is yours, you have not produced it for this particular course. That means you are attempting to pass your assignment off as original work when it is not.
2. Submitting your own published work as original work for a course.
Again, an instructor may be willing to negotiate with you on such reuse of work for a class, depending on how relevant the work is to the new assignment and how much editing of your original article was done before publication. You must consult your instructor before submitting such work.
If you want to reuse a paper you have written for another course, or one that you have had published, discuss this with your instructor. The instructor may recommend additions or revisions of this paper, or may recommend not using it at all. If you do rely on a previously written paper, be sure to cite it as though someone else wrote it, unless you have a different arrangement with the instructor.
Fabrication is simply "making things up." Clearly, manufacturing sources, information, quotes, situations, anecdotes, composite interviews, or anything else has no place in articles or papers based on reporting, review, analysis, or research.
Unless the instructor specifies otherwise, it is assumed that all work submitted for a grade is the student’s own work. Work submitted as part of an authorized collaboration must properly cite the contributions of each individual. When working with a partner or a group on an individual assignment, it is easy to transgress the line between legitimate cooperation and plagiarism. Unless otherwise specified, the work you turn in is expected to be your own, based on your own research and understanding. When two assignments handed in by different students are very similar, an instructor may assume plagiarism has occurred.
Plagiarism means using the work of someone else, in whole or in part, without giving credit. This includes all types of works, including music, computer code, works of art, and writing. Here, we will limit the discussion to the written word. You can plagiarize by obtaining a paper (free or for purchase) from a “paper mill”; by copying a paper from another student; by recycling one of your own papers from another class; by copying a published paper (even if it is your own); or by using ideas or words from any source (written or oral) without proper attribution.
Plagiarism may be committed with the intention to defraud (as in the first few examples), but may sometimes be committed unintentionally (as in the last example). This is why it is important for students to learn to recognize and avoid plagiarism. Ignorance of the rules will not be accepted as an excuse at Roosevelt University.
3. Definition of Plagiarism
Roosevelt University has adopted guidelines on academic dishonesty that are intended to help students avoid questions about the integrity of their work in university courses. These guidelines are based on two principles:
- Assignments turned in for a course are expected to be original work done specifically for that course.
- Information gathered from published sources (including Internet sources) and used in class assignments must be properly attributed.
Submitting a Paper or Assignment not Written by You
The most flagrant act of plagiarism consists of fraudulently handing in a paper as your own that was written, either entirely or in the most part, by somebody else. Regardless of the source of such a paper – whether borrowed from a friend, from the Internet, or from a published source – turning in a “stolen” paper or assignment results, at the very least, in failing the course for which the assignment was written (Section 8, Consequences of Plagiarism).
A little more work than simply handing in a copied paper, cut-and-paste plagiarists take paragraphs from different sources and cobble them together, perhaps connecting them with lines of their own for coherence. Unless these copied sections are properly identified and attributed as described below, this is a serious act of plagiarism. It also probably does not result in a good paper, even when proper attribution is used.
Lack of Citation or Improper Citation
In most academic papers, students are expected to use the ideas of others. Learning consists of using those ideas, combining them with those of others, and incorporating them into your own system of thinking. But it is necessary to properly identify and attribute words, ideas and facts you have learned while reading.
Students must learn the rules of proper citation and attribution, or they are likely to commit unintentional acts of plagiarism. Such violations of academic integrity will lead to failing grades or failing courses. It is your responsibility to understand how to properly cite information you have gathered for a specific assignment.
A few examples of plagiarism due to lack of or improper citation of sources are listed below. Guidelines for writing papers that avoid this type of plagiarism are provided in the next section.
a. Copying Without Citation
Any wording copied from another text must be clearly identified by quotation marks or as indented text, and the source must be precisely specified so that the reader is able to locate the text of such a direct citation.
Unique or distinctive phrases (the “apt phrase”), even if consisting of only a few words, must also be attributed to the author who coined them, by being placed in quotation marks and by referring to the exact source where those words can be found.
b. Improper Paraphrasing – Using the Ideas of Others without Attribution
When using someone else’s ideas, it is important to do more than go to the thesaurus and change a few words. It is better to just cite the words directly. When paraphrasing, the original author’s ideas must be reproduced correctly, but in your own words, not duplicating the structure of sentences and paragraphs in the original. Any ideas, thoughts, arguments or reasoning you have learned from a specific source must be attributed to that source, no matter how much rewriting you did. You must specify the original source or be guilty of plagiarism.
c. Citing Facts
Individual facts, charts and figures, or information gained from charts and figures, must be attributed to the source where you obtained the information. If you find conflicting facts or numbers, cite both with the respective source.
d. Common Knowledge
You do not have to refer to a specific source when you are citing “common knowledge” or “commonly known” facts. What is “commonly known” is, of course, debatable, and may differ from discipline to discipline and from place to place. So the safe way to handle “common knowledge” is to cite it if you found out about it in a specific source, especially if you didn’t know about it before.
You need to properly cite and attribute material, whether it is still under copyright protection or already in the common domain. However, you need to be more careful when citing large sections of copyrighted materials to avoid violating the “fair use” clause of the copyright statute. It is also good writing practice not to cite excessively from one source, so a well-written paper (with proper citations) is not likely to violate copyright law.
There are different reference styles that are used to identify and properly attribute copied text, paraphrased ideas, and the sources of facts cited in papers. At Roosevelt, the two most common citation styles are those recommended by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Modern Language Association (MLA). APA style is used primarily in the social sciences and in education; MLA style is used in the liberal arts and humanities. Students must ask instructors which particular citation style they prefer.
Materials obtained from the Internet must include all relevant information that is provided in other publications: author (if available), title, the exact URL where the citation was found to enable readers to find your source, date of publication (if available).
Further information on reference styles can be found in Section 7.
4. Guidelines for Avoiding Plagiarism in Writing
Avoiding plagiarism starts with careful note taking. Be sure to clearly mark exact quotes with quotation marks, even if it is just a few words; note the page number and the necessary bibliographic information. Copy citations exactly, marking any deletions you have made.
When paraphrasing in your notes, do not stick too closely to the wording in your source, but rewrite in your own words, always making sure you are not altering the original author’s meaning. Develop a clear system for distinguishing between paraphrased and copied sections of your notes.
When using Internet sources, print them out to avoid too much cutting and pasting, which either leads to poorly written papers or to the temptation of plagiarizing by minimal rewriting.
Writing Your Paper
When writing your paper, always start with an outline (or a very short draft) that provides you with a guide of where you are going. Develop this outline by using your own reasoning, so that paragraphs and sections of your paper follow each other logically in your own mind. This way, your own ideas are more likely to guide what you are writing, though you are integrating the ideas of others in your text.
You should use your own language in most of the paper, using direct citations sparingly and only when they make a point that is difficult to rephrase or particularly well worded, and that fits well into your own reasoning. When using direct quotes, be sure they are well integrated with your own argument and interpreted in your text. A string of undigested quotations makes a very poor paper.
Write without looking at the original source when paraphrasing to insure you are not copying the language and structure of the original too closely. Go back to make sure that you have not changed the author’s basic ideas. And be sure to cite the source of any ideas or information you use in your paper.
Communicating With Your Instructor
Get information on what reference style you are to use, and follow any guidelines for the assignment provided by your instructor. Be sure to communicate with your instructor concerning questions or problems with your paper. Your instructor may also be helpful in finding useful sources on your topic. Some instructors may be willing to read a rough draft of your paper and provide feedback before the final draft is due.
Saving Your Drafts and Your Notes
A series of rough drafts may be useful documentation to convince an instructor who suspects you of plagiarism. Also keep your notes.
5. Consequences of Academic Dishonesty at Roosevelt University
Each instance of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution after the penalty, if there is one, is assigned by the instructor. The director will note the instance in the student’s file and potentially request a meeting with the student based upon the following: the severity of the allegation, the number of times a student has been reported for academic dishonesty in the past, and the academic level of the student (e.g., Undergraduate, Master’s, Doctoral). Individual colleges and departments may also have their own rules for reporting plagiarism.
Penalties Imposed by Instructors
Possible penalties of blatant plagiarism with the clear intent to defraud at Roosevelt include:
- Failure of the assignment
- Failure of the course
Possible penalties of plagiarism that an instructor feels is less serious include:
- Verbal/Written Warning
- A lower grade in the course
- Failure of the assignment
Students may grieve the decision of the instructor by following the “Procedures for Handling Academic Dishonesty Appeals” outlined in the Student Handbook. However, a student may only grieve the instructor's judgment regarding guilt of plagiarism, not the instructor's choice of penalty or grade.
Penalties Imposed by the University via the Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution
The Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution handles these complaints as outlined in the Student Handbook in the section entitled, "Procedures for the Resolution of Violation of the Code of Student Conduct." Further penalties may be imposed, if warranted.
6. Useful References
The two major styles supported by Roosevelt University are those of the APA and the MLA. Students may use the following publications as references for these styles:
American Psychological Association. (1998). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Gibaldi, J. (1998). MLA Style Manual (2nd ed.). New York: The Modern Language Association of America.
Gibaldi, J. (1999). MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (5th ed.). New York: The Modern Language Association of America.
An instructor in a specific discipline (e.g. chemistry) may recommend another style and reference manual.
This Roosevelt publication has used parts of a policy originally developed by Linda Jones for the School of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences. It also relied on many different policies published by other universities on the Internet. These will also be useful to the student, and some contain detailed examples of how to commit and avoid committing plagiarism. They are listed below:
Indiana University, Writing Tutorial Services: Plagiarism: What it is and How to Recognize and Avoid It
Northwestern University. Plagiarism. Note: This is an excellent source of detailed examples of proper attribution for students.
Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Avoiding Plagiarism.
Longman Publishers Avoiding Plagiarism site – an interactive tutorial for students.
Internet Style References:
Click on “MLA Style.”