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Academic Integrity

Guide to having academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism

Plagiarism Basics

Plagiarism is one of the most common types of academic dishonesty, and it is what many people think of when they hear the term "academic dishonesty."

Plagiarism defined:

According to Lerych & Criswell (2016): "Plagiarism is presenting the words, ideas, or data of another thinker or writer as if they were your own" (p. 341). 

This includes failing to acknowledge when ideas, etc. came from another source, even if this was unintentional.

Lerych, L. D. & Criswell, A. D. (2016). Everything you need to know about college writing. Bedford/St. Martin's.

What constitutes plagiarism:

  • failure to cite
  • incorrect citation (including citing the wrong edition/version of a work, fabricating a citation, or leaving out necessary information)
  • submitting another's work as your own
  • using too many quotes or paraphrases

Why citation is so important:

We use citations when referring to the work of others not just because it is required.  Like many things, citation is required for good reasons:

  • it gives credit to author(s) for their work
  • it allows the readers to find the source(s) cited and read those sources for themselves
  • it demonstrates that the writer(s) have done research on the topic, which helps make the arguments stronger

Why over-quoting/over-paraphrasing is considered plagiarism:

College writing should reflect your own ideas and opinions. In the college setting, you are expected to move beyond simply memorizing facts and repeating them in your writing assignments.

Instead, you should:

  • blend what you already know with your new learning (what you learn through research or instruction),
  • critically evaluate the information, and
  • draw your own conclusions.

You should use reliable information sources to support your arguments, but the majority of what you write should be your own.  (Your professors, Learning Center writing tutors, and librarians can all help you with this.)

Confused about paraphrasing?

Lehman College's Leonard Lief Library and Lehman Studios created the video below, which provides a clear and simple explanation of why paraphrasing requires a citation.

Lehman College. (2014). Just because you put it in your own words [Video file].

(Posted with permission.)


Sanctions for plagiarizing:


The College Catalog outlines the sanctions for plagiarism, which range from grade reductions for minor first offenses to permanent academic dismissal for major subsequent offenses.