What Does Academic Integrity Mean?

Over 86% of 1,290 students responding to an SU academic integrity survey said “Students who engage in academic dishonesty are cheating themselves.” WHAT DOES ACADEMIC INTEGRITY MEAN?

From Charles Lipson, Doing Honest Work in College (Chicago, 2004), p. 3:

  • “When you say you did the work itself, 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 writings of other scholars.”


From Charles Lipson, Doing Honest in College (Chicago, 2004), p. 33:

“Citation rules follow from these basic principles of openness and honesty. If the words are someone else’s, they must be clearly marked as quotations, either by quotation marks or block indentation, followed by [immediate] citations . . .

If it’s a paraphrase of someone else’s words, use your own language, not a close imitation of the work being cited, and include a proper reference.”

You may encounter different course-specific citation methods. Please follow them. If in doubt, please ask the instructor.

For more detailed discussion of ways to avoid plagiarism, see The Harvard Guide to Using Sources. Here are two suggestions from the Harvard Guide that merit special attention:

“Don’t cut and paste: File and label your sources

Never cut and paste information from an electronic source straight into your own essay, and never type verbatim sentences from a print source straight into your essay. Instead, open a separate document on your computer for each source so you can file research information carefully.”

“Don’t save your citations for later

Never paraphrase or quote from a source without immediately adding a citation.”

Good advice is also available from the Purdue writing lab. For example:

Reading and Note-Taking

  • In your notes, always mark someone else’s words with a big Q, for quote, or use big quotation marks
  • Indicate in your notes which ideas are taken from sources with a big S, and which are your own insights (ME)
  • When information comes from sources, record relevant documentation in your notes (book and article titles; URLs on the Web)

Additional help is available from the Writing Center; the Tutoring and Study Center, and the Academic Integrity Office.

See also “Twenty Questions and Answers about the Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy.”