Online Guide to Writing and Research

Chapter 5: Academic Integrity and Documentation

Academic Integrity

In writing from source materials, integrity is the standard. Integrity and documentation are interrelated. Without standards for academic honesty, documenting sources has little meaning.

You should be aware of UMUC’s policies concerning academic integrity and academic dishonesty, which are stated in the Undergraduate Catalog and the Student Policy Manual. These policies are of special interest to writers because they describe the act of plagiarism as an act of academic dishonesty that frequently occurs in writing. To avoid plagiarism, you should understand it thoroughly and take steps to guard against it as you conduct research and write papers and other assignments. The Undergraduate Catalog states:

Academic dishonesty is failure to maintain academic integrity. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to obtaining or giving aid on an examination, having unauthorized prior knowledge of an examination, doing work for another student, and plagiarism.

Plagiarism is the presentation of another person’s idea or product as one’s own. Plagiarism includes (but is not limited to) copying verbatim all or parts of another person’s work; using phrases, charts, figures, illustrations, computer programs, or mathematical or scientific solutions without citing the source; paraphrasing ideas, conclusions, or research without citing the source; and using all or part of a literary plot, poem, film, musical score, or other artistic product without attributing the work to its creator.

Students can avoid unintentional plagiarism by carefully following accepted scholarly practices. Notes taken for papers and research projects should accurately record sources of material to be cited, quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, and papers should acknowledge those sources in footnotes. (University of Maryland University College, 2001-2002, p. 222)

In general, you should:

  • Acknowledge the source of all evidence, from rumors to formal documents. Also acknowledge all outside help, whether from a person; an electronic source, such as a Web site, an e-mail communication, or a listserv; and any other source.
  • Consider everything in print or electronic format as protected by copyright.
  • Document all written, filmed, videotaped, audiotaped, and electronic sources of information.
  • Use the documentation style appropriate for your discipline.