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Academic Integrity

As described in the DePauw University Academic Integrity Policy, "Academic integrity refers to the ethical standards and policies that govern how people work and interact in the academic enterprise at a college or university. These standards and policies attempt to do more than define and condemn what is wrong or unethical; they also attempt to provide a foundation for the mutual trust and individual responsibility necessary in a healthy academic community."

The remainder of this page is organized as six common questions that DePauw students often have regarding academic integrity.  Click on a question to jump to the appropriate section of the page.


How do I learn about academic integrity at DePauw?

Each member of DePauw's academic community is responsible for understanding and following the academic integrity principles and procedures outlined in DePauw's Academic Integrity Policy.  Students who have questions about the policy should ask their professor or should consult with a dean in the office of Student Academic Life (Union Building 210).

What are the basic principles of academic integrity?

The basic principles of academic integrity are easy to state.  In his book, "Doing Honest Work in College" Charles Lipson summarizes the key principles this way:

  • "When you say you did the work yourself, you actually did it.  
  • When you rely on someone else's work you cite it. When you use their words, you quote them openly and accurately, and you cite them, too. 
  • When you present research materials, you present them fairly and truthfully.  That's true whether the research involves data, documents, or the research of other scholars."  

What is the most common academic integrity problem?

The most common lapse of academic integrity is plagiarism. DePauw's Academic Integrity Policy defines plagiarism as follows:

"Plagiarism: Using the words or ideas of another writer without attribution, so that they seem as if they are your own. Plagiarism ranges from copying someone else’s work word for word, to rewriting someone else’s work with only minor word changes (mosaic plagiarism), to summarizing work without acknowledging the source." 

How do I avoid plagiarism?

Use the resources described below to better understand how to use sources correctly and avoid plagiarism.

  1. Read this DePauw Writing Center guide on Avoiding Plagiarism.
  2. Work through the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) guide to Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing in ways that will help you avoid plagiarism.  After reading each page, click "next resource" in the lower-right corner to see the next page.
  3. If you still have questions about the appropriate way to use sources in a particular class consult your professor.  You may also visit the Writing Center for general advice on using sources.  For general questions about DePauw's academic integrity policy, you may also consult a dean in Student Academic Life (Union Building 210).

How do I use specific citations styles such as MLA, APA, Chicago style, etc? 

Consult this DePauw University Citation Library Guide and select the tab that corresponds to the style you need to use.

What other academic integrity problems should I know about?

In addition to plagiarism, DePauw's Academic Integrity Policy outlines the following types of academic integrity lapses. Read the following descriptions and remember to ask your professor or a dean in the office of Student Academic Life (Union Building 210) if you have questions.

  • "Cheating. Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials in any academic exercise or having someone else do work for you. Examples of cheating include looking at another student’s paper during a test, bringing an answer sheet to a test, obtaining a copy of a test prior to the test date or submitting homework borrowed from another student."
  • "Fabrication. Inventing or falsifying information. Examples of fabrication include inventing data for an experiment you did not do or did not do correctly or making reference to sources you did not use in a research paper." 
  • "Facilitating academic dishonesty. Helping someone else to commit an act of academic dishonesty. This includes giving someone a paper or homework to copy from or allowing someone to cheat from your test paper." 
  • "Multiple submission. Submitting work you have done in previous classes as if it were new and original work. Although professors may occasionally be willing to let you use previous work as the basis of new work, they expect you to do new work for each class. Students seeking to submit a piece of work to more than one class must have the written permission of both instructors." 
  • "Abuse of academic materials. Harming, appropriating or disabling academic resources so that others cannot use them. This includes cutting tables and illustrations out of books to use in a paper, stealing books or articles and deleting or damaging computer files intended for others’ use." 
  • "Deception and misrepresentation. Lying about or misrepresenting your work, academic records or credentials. Examples of deception and misrepresentation include forging signatures, forging letters of recommendation and falsifying credentials in an application. Of particular concern, given the current popularity of collaborative projects, is taking credit for group work to which you did not contribute significantly or meet your obligations. In a collaborative project, all members of the group are expected to do their share. Group members may work together on each phase of the project or they may divide the tasks--one person might do background research; another might take charge of the lab experiments; another might be responsible for drafting the report. Even in a modular project, however, each member of the group is responsible for being familiar and involved with the entire project. Be sure to get clear instructions on your individual and collective responsibilities from each faculty member for each course." 
  • "Electronic dishonesty. Using network access inappropriately, in a way that affects a class or other students’ academic work. Examples of electronic dishonesty include using someone else’s authorized computer account to send and receive messages, breaking into someone else’s files, gaining access to restricted files, disabling others’ access to network systems or files, knowingly spreading a computer virus or obtaining a computer account under false pretenses." 
  • "Carelessness. When does carelessness become dishonesty? Students sometimes make minor mistakes in completing academic assignments. Mistyping one of many endnotes in a long paper, for example, may in most cases be considered a careless mistake, rather than an act of deliberate dishonesty. When students make multiple mistakes in acknowledging sources, however, these mistakes cannot be considered simply careless. Students who copy long passages from a book or a Web source, for example, make a deliberate choice to do so. Such students have taken a short cut; instead of explaining the source of their ideas, they have simply stolen ideas from others. In such cases, carelessness is a form of dishonesty. Students are responsible for knowing the academic integrity policy and may not use ignorance of the policy as an excuse for dishonesty." 
  • "Other types of academic dishonesty. The list above is a partial one. Instructors may explain in their syllabi other types of academic dishonesty relevant to the work in particular disciplines or particular courses."