What Is Academic Integrity?
Image courtesy of Tarleton State University.
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."
At the School of Public Health, you are part of the academic community at the University of Michigan. Whether you are a first year student or are writing your dissertation, you are expected to create original work as part of that community.
Because learning and scholarship involve both individual and collective efforts, it is a fundamental academic responsibility to acknowledge the role of others who make specific contributions to the work that you do.
How to Avoid Plagiarism
Plagiarism is using someone else's ideas without giving them proper credit, that is, a citation in your paper. The key to avoiding plagiarism is give credit where credit is due.
- Take good notes as you read, including documenting the source of where you read ideas and/or facts. See the Note Taking Template in the box below.
- Create a good system of organizing your research notes.
- Make time to provide citations in your paper.
Adapted from the Academic Integrity web page, University Library.
Note Taking Tool
Taking notes properly is a skill that can help you avoid plagiarism.
Tools to Help You Create Citations
While you can keep track of where you get information by hand (author name(s); name of article, book, web site; journal name; date of publication, volume number, page numbers), you can also use citation management software, such as Mendeley, RefWorks, Zotero, or EndNote to help you:
- Collect references from article databases, library catalogs, or even web pages by exporting them electronically into a citation management program.
- Organize references by project, topic, or any other way that makes sense to you.
- Insert citations and easily format citations and bibliographies in many different styles (such as APA, JAMA, Vancouver).
Types of Problems
Problem: Not properly citing sources
Solution: Citation management software, such as Mendeley, RefWorks, Zotero, or EndNote. You can also carefully note citation information by hand in your research notes, then use the References function in Word to add citations.
When to cite: When you have quoted someone exactly (placing the quoted material in quotation marks) or have used original information from someone else & have paraphrased it appropriately.
When you don't have to cite: When you're reporting 1) your own original analysis of other people's original work or 2) common knowledge, that is, information that is commonly known by your peers. Note that this can change, depending on the context of your writing assignment.
Problem: Using someone else's ideas exactly as published.
Solutions: Paraphrase (changing both words and sentence structure) or use the exact quotation and cite the source.
Original text: Ethnic and racial diversity are increasing in many countries, primarily as a result of increased migration linked to globalization of trade, education and markets and to the movement of refugees. This offers formidable challenges in the development of policies and strategies to promote the reduction in inequalities in health and improvements in health care. From ch. 8, Raj S. Bhopal, Migration, Ethnicity, Race and Health in Multicultural Societies, 2d ed., Oxford University Press http://site.ebrary.com/lib/umich/docDetail.action?docID=10823205
Plagiarism: Ethnic and racial diversity are on the rise in many countries, for the most part because of increased migration due to trade around the world, education and markets and to refugees. This makes it hard to develop policies and strategies to reduce inequalities in health and improvements in health care. (12).
This is plagiarism because both the words that are used and the sentence structure are very similar to the original sentence. Providing a citation to the original source of information is not enough.
Acceptable: When governments think about developing polices to decrease inequalities in health, it is important to take into account that the rise in refugees and in migration due to trade has increased the variety in racial and ethnicity in many countries. (12).
This is not plagiarism because the information has been summarized using different words and the sentence structure is different from the original text.
Acceptable: According to Raj S. Bhopal, the increase that we can see in racial and ethnic diversity around the world "offers formidable challenges in the development of policies and strategies to promote the reduction in inequalities in health and improvements in health care.”(12)
This is not plagiarism because a direct quote is used, with quotation marks, and the quotation is properly cited.
Plagiarism in Real Life
The American Journal of Public Health recently retracted an article due to improper attributions & materials published elsewhere in a copyrighted source.
Win, AZ. “Child Farm Laborers.” Am J Public Health. 2015;105(7):1312. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302623. American Journal of Public Health: August 2015, Vol. 105, No. 8, pp. 1726-1726. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.1057.1726
Writing / Library Help
For More Information
To find out more about academic integrity at the School of Public Health & at the University of Michigan, follow the links below.