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Research Guides

Information Literacy & Library Research: Academic Honesty and Plagiarism

Information literacy is the ability to know when information is needed and to be able to identify, locate and evaluate, and then legally and responsibly use and share that information.

Academic Honesty

Academic honesty is at the heart of the academic/scholarly system. We rely on the ethics, integrity, and honesty of our colleagues which enables us to advance our knowledge, make new discoveries, apply what we have learned to solve problems, and inspire others to join the scholarly conversation and start the cycle over again.

Academic honesty means conducting original research studies in adherence to the standards for research projects in your discipline and in accordance to national standards to protect human subjects used in research. The methodologies used in a research study, whether with human subjects or not, need to be clearly laid out so that others can use the same methodologies to build upon the research, test its validity, or try it in another field.

Would you want to have a medical procedure done to you if you discovered that the researchers lied about its effectiveness, or made an error in their math that led to the wrong conclusion, or tried the procedure on too few people to be able to draw a meaningful conclusion about its effectiveness? Would you want the doctor performing the procedure to have cheated on their MCAT exam, or have bought their research papers?

Good, honest scholarship builds the foundation of knowledge and supports further research. Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” ("Isaac Newton"). In our academic pursuits, we stand on the shoulders of giants and seek to build bigger, better giants.

You are a member of this academic community. Welcome!

Be sure to read SUU's academic honesty policy in the box to the right.

Plagiarism and its Consequences

Academic honesty and integrity also means valuing the intellectual contributions of others when building upon and using those ideas to develop your own conclusions. This is done by giving their ideas recognition through citations. Giving credit to others by citing your sources is one way to maintain your academic integrity, and how we avoid plagiarism and its consequences.

Plagiarism is not illegal. It is an ethical violation. There are no fines, trials, or jail time associated with plagiarism.  However there are consequences. For you as a student, those consequences could be getting an F on the assignment you plagiarized, getting an F in the class, or if the violation is major, getting expelled from college. Their are also consequences in the working world. You could lose your reputation which is very important in many professions including academics. You could lose your job, or you could lose both.

Read the story of a university president who lost her job in part because of plagiarism. We will come back to this in our next reading.

SUU's Academic Honesty Policy

Academic Honesty

Per Chapter Two of the General Catalog, we encourage all faculty to handle cases of academic misconduct according to University Policy. However, we encourage faculty members to contact our office so there is an opportunity to look for patterns between disciplines.

Academic Honesty

The university's goal is to foster an intellectual atmosphere that produces educated, literate people. Cheating and plagiarism are at odds with this goal and therefore will not be tolerated in any form.

All work submitted by a student must represent that student's own ideas and effort. When the work does not represent the student's own work it must be properly cited; if it is not, the student has engaged in academic dishonesty. Cheating, forgery, plagiarism or the use of work belonging to another are all considered academic dishonesty.

  • The following are specific examples of such conduct:
  • purchasing a paper or other project for which one then seeks to receive credit;
  • copying from another student with the intent of receiving credit as one's own work;
  • using "crib notes" or other stored information (in a computer or calculator) without expressed permission from the faculty member;
  • misrepresenting yourself or someone else in an exam setting;
  • collaborating on assignments or exams when such collaboration is forbidden;
  • failing to properly document source material in a paper or project;
  • "cutting and pasting" source material from various Internet sites and submitting it as your own work without proper citation.

NOTE: The list above is intended only to provide general guidelines in recognizing and avoiding common types of academic dishonesty. It is in no way an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all the types of academic dishonesty.

Except in cases of major offenses, responding to academic dishonesty is the responsibility of the instructor of the course in which the violation occurs. If a student is found responsible for academic dishonesty, the student may be dismissed from the class and may receive a failing grade. Other penalties may include suspension or expulsion from school. Such transgressions become part of the student's permanent University record. Once decisions are rendered, a copy of the finding of facts and the corresponding sanctions will be forwarded to the office of the Vice President of Student Services. While decisions about specific incidents will be based solely on related information (judicial history cannot be introduced), judicial history can be considered relative to a student's ability to remain enrolled at Southern Utah University. When repeated violations occur, the University's judicial process can be used to determine whether the student should be permitted to continue at the University. When this process is used, the focus of the hearing will be on continued enrollment; such hearings will not be used to "re-hear" the facts of any case that has already been decided.

For more information about academic honesty, see the following publications:

Southern Utah University Student Handbook

Works Cited