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Academic Honesty

Learn what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Consider the following:

Intellectual Challenges in American Academic Writing

There are some intellectual challenges that all students are faced with when writing. Sometimes these challenges can almost seem like contradictions, particularly when addressing them within a single paper. For example, American teachers often instruct students to:

Develop a topic based on
what has already been said and written


Write something
new and original

Rely on experts' and authorities' opinions


Improve upon and/or disagree with those same opinions

Give credit to previous researchers


Make your own significant    contribution

Improve your English to fit into a
discourse community by building upon what you hear and read


Use your own words and your own voice

Taken from Purdue OWL


When do I give credit to a source?

Give credit to your source in all of the following situations:

  • You directly quote a source. 
  • Your borrow an idea from a source.
  • You paraphrase or summarize a source.
  • If you gain information from interviewing a person or from a class lecture.
  • When you use diagrams, illustrations, or other images that you did not create yourself.
  • Radio broadcasts, movies, podcasts.
  • Things that are not common knowledge. Always ere on the safe side of what's not considered common knowledge.

So is there anything I don't have to credit?

You do not need to cite any of the following types of information:

  • Your own ideas and experiences.
  • Common knowledge. Be careful here. If you're in doubt, cite it.
  • Results of lab experiments that you gathered yourself.
  • Your own artwork, illustrations, diagrams, etc.
  • Generally accepted facts: eating too much will make you gain weight, sugar causes cavities

Adapted from Purdue OWL