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FYS 100 Fagan: Academic Honesty

What is Academic Honesty?

From the Elmhurst University's Student Handbook (p. 4)

The community expectations for academic integrity prohibit the following dishonest academic behaviors:

  1. Cheating: Intentionally obtaining or attempting to use unauthorized materials or information (notes, texts or study aids) or unauthorized help from another person (looking at a test paper, asking a question during an exam) in any work submitted for evaluation toward academic credit including examinations, quizzes, laboratory exercises or other assignments.
  2. Fabrication: Intentional and unauthorized falsification, invention or copying of data, practicum experience, research or laboratory findings, or bibliographic references or citations in any academic course work.
  3. Collusion: The facilitation of academic dishonesty by intentionally or knowingly providing or attempting to provide any form of unauthorized help to students in violation of this code.
  4. Plagiarism: Representing someone else’s work from any source, including the internet, as your own or providing materials for such a representation. To avoid plagiarism, students must acknowledge the source whenever:

a. Quoting another person’s actual words

b. Using another person’s idea, opinion or theory

c. Using others’ facts, statistics or other illustrative material—unless the information is common knowledge

EU Academic Honesty Specifics

Plagiarism (1)

Plagiarism consists of “the deliberate adoption or reproduction of ideas or words or statements of another person as one’s own without acknowledgment. (2)” The University subscribes to the statement on plagiarism, which appears on page 9 of William Watt’s An American Rhetoric.

A student must give due credit to the originality of others and honestly pay their literary debts. They should acknowledge indebtedness:

  1. Whenever they quote another person’s actual words;
  2. Whenever they use another person’s idea or opinion or theory;
  3. Whenever they borrow facts, statistics or other illustrative material— unless the information is common knowledge.

Examples of Plagiarism

a. Direct Quotation

Original Source: “The child’s surroundings, we are told, were devoid of artistic luxury...there was an absence of frivolity and a distaste for all that is paltry and superficial.”

Student Paper: “The surroundings were devoid of artistic luxury and characterized by the absence of frivolity.” (no quotation marks or citation)


  1. All “direct quotations must be placed in quotation marks and the source immediately cited in a footnote. (3)”
  2. Direct quotations must be placed in quotation marks even if a footnote is used to indicate the source and page from which the quotation was obtained.
  3. Proper footnote form can be found in manuals on style and arrangement recommended by each academic department.

b. Paraphrase

Original Source: “The Cambodian incursion of April 1970 brought forth renewed observations from constitutional scholars...that the war making power of Congress has been eroded.”

Student Paper: “The war in Vietnam and more specifically the Cambodian invasion in the Spring of 1970, evoked considerable observation from students, constitutional scholars, public observers of the political process and Congressmen that the war making power of Congress has been eroded.” (no citation; no quotation marks for the last phrase)


  1. Acknowledgment is required when material from an original source is rewritten either in whole or in part in your own words (4)
  2. Properly acknowledged paraphrases may be used. For example, one might state, “to paraphrase Lock’s comment...” and conclude with a footnote identifying the source (5)

c. “Borrowed” Facts or Information

Original Source: “In any of the defined situations, the President may commit the Armed Forces to combat for a period not to exceed thirty days.”

Student Paper: “Except in certain designated emergency situations, the President may send the military into combat only for up to thirty days.” (no citation) 


  1. Facts that are not common knowledge must not be “borrowed” from any source without immediate acknowledgment.
  2. Examples of “common knowledge” might include the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc. In case of doubt, always acknowledge indebtedness.
  3. “...When a number of contiguous sentences take their special information from one place, one footnote usually is sufficient for all of them. (6)”
  4. “Sometimes the materials from an outside source are extremely broad and contribute only to your general understanding of the subject. If so, acknowledgment by means of a bibliographical note at the end is sufficient... (7)”
  5. General conversations with others need not to be acknowledged unless such conversations produce a specifically identifiable contribution to your paper (8).
  6. A footnote of acknowledgment might read: “I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to John Doe for this concept (personal conversation, May 1975).”

Reference Sources

  1. This and the preceding titles are adapted from the Code of Academic Conduct at the University of Michigan (1973).
  2. Hobart College Faculty Regulations (emphasis supplied).
  3. Sources, Their Use and Acknowledgment (Dartmouth College, 1962): reprinted by Colgate University, p.6.
  4. Adapted from Source, p.5.
  5. Adapted from “A Definition of Plagiarism” in The Logic and Rhetoric of Exposition, Revised Edition, by Harold C. Martin and Richard Ohmann (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. 1963). Reprinted in the Wesleyan University pamphlet Plagiarism, (1974), p.5.
  6. Sources, p.11.
  7. Sources, p.5.
  8. Adapted from the Wesleyan University publication Plagiarism, pp.6-7.

Case Study 1

Jennifer really enjoys the art history class she is taking this semester. She spends a lot of time on her final project - a portfolio of works of art that she selects, writes a brief background about the artist, and then describes what she feels about the piece. She is careful to make sure all her information about the artists is correct, and reads several essays on the artists she has chosen. She agrees with most of what the essayists have to say regarding the pieces. She represents some of their thoughts in her project as her own, reasoning that since it is not fact, and instead intangible opinion, and because she agrees with them, then she is not plagiarizing.


Is she right or wrong? Why?

Case Study 2

Lee has to write a paper on some of the causes and symptoms of drug abuse for a public health class. He accesses the Web and finds several chat rooms that feature posted questions which are answered by doctors. He uses their answers in his paper, citing just "Internet" as the source. He also finds a site that is put together by the mother of a recovering addict which contains information that she has compiled as a resource for other families in similar circumstances. Steve also uses this information, and since the author of the site does not indicate which books she got the information from, he cites "Internet" again as the source.


Is this sufficient? Is this a form of plagiarism/academic dishonesty? Why or why not?

Case Study 3

Last semester Ben took an ecology class and one of the papers he wrote was about the effects of DDT on bald eagles. This semester he is taking a wildlife biology class and realizes that his paper from last semester would work for one of the assignments for this semester, too.


Is it academic dishonesty for Ben to turn the same paper in twice? What is the best thing for Ben to do in this situation?