Academic Integrity for CBA Students

What are the basic values of academic integrity?

The Center for Academic Integrity defines academic integrity “as a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.” Plagiarism violates those basic values.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else’s words or ideas while passing them off as your own. Turning in your own ideas is fundamental to the exchange that goes on between student and professor. Little is accomplished when a professor provides feedback on someone else’s work.

Within the context of the CBA, it is possible to note some of the types of plagiarism that might be of concern when students include in their papers the exact words (direct quote) or ideas written by another person.

  1. If a direct quote (enclosed in quote marks or indentation) is used from another source (author, journal, or public conveyer of knowledge, etc.) and is incorrectly referenced because a key piece of information is missing in the bibliographic reference (date, page numbers, author, journal, etc.), plagiarism might be construed. However, if the information provided contains sufficient information with which to track down the original cited source, then this is perhaps an unintentional oversight and the intent is not to steal another’s ideas.
  2. Like the above, if a direct quote (enclosed in quote marks or indentation) is used but there is significant information missing in the bibliographic reference, it is probable that plagiarism occurred since the reader in unable to trace the words back to its original source. However, intent is unclear.
  3. If a direct quote is used with no evidence that it is a quote (e.g., no quote marks or no indentation) but a proper and full bibliographic reference is made later in the paper, plagiarism is probable but uncertain.
  4. If a direct quote is used and identified as a direct quote (with quote marks or indentation) but there is no effort to link the quote to its original source with a proper bibliographic reference, and no other bibliographic information is noted elsewhere in the document, then plagiarism probably has occurred and was possibly intended.
  5. If a direct quote is used with no evidence that it is a quote (e.g., no quote marks or no indentation) and there is no effort made to provide any semblance of bibliographic reference, then plagiarism has definitely and intentionally occurred.
  6. If another person’s ideas that are not general knowledge (not just direct quotes) are used and there is no semblance of bibliographic reference, then plagiarism has definitely and intentionally occurred.
  7. If a direct quote is used with no evidence that it is a quote (e.g., no quote marks or no indentation) and there is no effort to provide any bibliographic information later in the paper, then plagiarism has definitely and intentionally occurred at a high level of duplicity.

Why is it wrong to plagiarize the works of others?

Plagiarism is cheating. It violates the basic values of academic integrity. Academic institutions of all types consider plagiarism to be a major violation of academic integrity. The consequences are usually severe and can be damaging to your education and your career.

What is the University’s policy on plagiarism?

The University of Akron has a statement on plagiarism that every student should be aware of. It is located in the Code of Student Conduct. You should visit that site and read it carefully.

What are some basic principles you should follow in order to avoid plagiarism?

Anyone else’s words and ideas can be used if you reference (cite) their source. If you use the exact words, put them in quotation marks. If you have restated someone else’s ideas in your own words, a practice called paraphrasing, the source still needs to be indicated. Taking a sentence from the Internet, rearranging the words a bit, and substituting one or two words is not acceptable unless you cite the source. Generally, you should avoid this practice as plagiarism might be viewed as probably having occurred under certain circumstances, and you may also be violating copyright restrictions.

The source of facts that are very widely known, such as saying that people are held to the Earth by gravity, need not be cited. If you are unsure how widely known something is, and you found it in a specific source, cite the source. Too little citation is far worse than too much. If the fact is controversial, cite its source.

Our intellectual traditions are based on finding, reflecting upon, and advancing the ideas of others. This is a dialogue that continues across the ages. A dialogue only makes sense when you know who the participants are.

Using large chunks of text, if you have indicated the source, is not plagiarism. But it may be a violation of copyright restrictions. It also will probably not make for a good paper. So quote sparingly.

How do you reference other people’s work in order to avoid plagiarism?

There are many manuals about how to cite and several different styles are generally used. The basics boil down to this. When you use a quotation or paraphrase ideas, your citation should contain the following information:

WHO – who wrote or said the words or expressed the idea
WHERE – in what publication did this appear, under what title, published by whom
WHEN – the date of publication

Your professor may tell you about a specific style to be used. But if you at least supply these three pieces of information, you will ensure that you have not plagiarized.

For example, let’s say I am writing about the future of computers and I use material I learned while reading a book written by Ken Lauden.

Ken Laudon, an insightful information systems professor, wrote a book in 1986 in which he predicted that we would soon be living in a “Dossier Society,” a society with “an aggregation of power in the federal government without precedent in peacetime America.”

To properly cite this quotation, I could write:

Laudon, Ken (1986). The Dossier Society. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 4.

Now anyone who wants to check that I have accurately quoted these words, or to see their context, can find the exact location where they were published. That’s the essence of citation: tell WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE with as great precision as possible, and you have given the necessary information.

Web pages are published materials. Using words from a web page is no different than using words from a book. Using words from someone else’s unpublished papers also must be acknowledged. It’s plagiarism if it’s not your own.

Further information on referencing the works of others can be found in standard manuals such as:

  • Turabian, Kate L (1996). A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing), Chicago: U. of Chicago Press.

or on web sites such as:

There are many such web sites that come and go, but the information on them is widely available from numerous sources.

What are the consequences of plagiarism for CBA students?

If a professor discovers that you have plagiarized, he or she may take a variety of actions. He or she may contact you to hear your side of the story. He or she may tell you that you will have to redo the assignment, receive a lower grade, receive an “F” in the course, or something else, including referral of the case to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. If you disagree with the charge of plagiarism or the sanction, you may request the intervention of the Chair of the professor’s department. If the three of you do not resolve the case to everyone’s satisfaction, it may be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. Here you will have an appointment with a representative who will again attempt to reach a resolution about the case. If this is not possible, your case may be referred to the University Hearing Board. A formal hearing will be convened, from which will emerge a recommendation to the President of the University either to find you not responsible (not guilty) or responsible (guilty), and if so, to recommend sanctions. Such sanctions may include a lowered grade, an “F” in the course, suspension from the University, or even separation from the University. You should thoroughly familiarize yourself with the materials on the Office of Student Judicial Affairs website.