Bridgewater College

Ethics in Academic Work

Being part of an academic community means taking responsibility for one's actions as a student, thinker, writer, and speaker. Bridgewater College is committed to motivating students "to live educated, intelligent, healthy, purposeful and ethical lives," as described in the Mission Statement, and one of its four "core values" is integrity. Supporting this mission, the student Code of Ethics asks that students "demonstrate respect" for themselves and the community, "take responsibility for [their] actions," and "uphold the standards and policies of our community."

Members of this academic community "demonstrate respect" for themselves and others by recognizing and acknowledging the use of their intellectual property: the ideas, facts, and wording discovered through research. Members "take responsibility for [their] actions" by including accurate documentation of others' ideas, facts, and wording used in any writing they do. Members "uphold the standards and policies of our community" by demonstrating ethical practices in using others' ideas, facts, and wording, as well as by not cheating on tests.

Defining Plagiarism

Plagiarizing is considered "cheating, stealing, and lying" because it involves presenting someone else's work as one's own.

Plagiarizing means presenting someone else's argument, definition, interpretation of events, interpretation of a text, or factual information as though they were one's own, whether or not one uses the exact wording of the source.  It is the presentation of such information, rather than the author's intention, that constitutes plagiarism. Plagiarism may appear in the wording of a paper written for a class or a classroom presentation (including visual aids and Power Point) or a Web page or a newsletter; it may appear in the use of graphics created by anyone other than the author. In short, any time that a student uses materials written or produced by someone else, it is the student's responsibility to document the source of such materials.

Documentation typically requires all three of these elements: (1) use of quotation marks around wording that is not the student writer's (or indentation of long quotations); (2) with citation following any quoted, summarized, or paraphrased material as well as specific facts gleaned from a source (in the form of parenthetical citation or footnote or endnote); and (3) a bibliography that indicates complete publication information for the source.

All of the following examples constitute plagiarism:

Use of Sources without Plagiarizing

To incorporate material from a source into a paper, presentation (including Power Point), Web page, or other text, one may quote the source, summarize the source (with citation), or paraphrase the source. 

A paraphrase is the representation of another writer's text, explanation, argument, or narrative that is about the same length as the original.  A paraphrase  is substantially different from the original source in sentence structure as well as wording. The length of a paraphrase distinguishes it from a summary, since a summary is a restatement of significantly shorter length than the original.

When one paraphrases, one should:

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