EM SC 240N
Energy and Sustainability in Contemporary Culture

APA Style Information and Academic Integrity


Academic Integrity and Citation Styles

Why are citations important? Well, in an academic environment citations are important for at least two basic reasons. The first is to give credit to the author(s) from whom you have read and found their ideas worth repeating (whether paraphrasing, building from their foundation, or directly quoting). Using someone’s work without proper citation is considered plagiarism because without proper citation your readers are going to assume you came up with that idea, claim, argument and so forth. Thus, it’s truly important to acknowledge (through proper in-text citations) whose ideas, thoughts and arguments you are building from. Secondly, proper citations are important and advantageous to you because you are letting your reader know that the claims you are putting forth have been built on the foundations of other respected scholars/thinkers. In choosing what resources you will be working with, you are choosing which scholars (and which of their ideas/claims/arguments) will be supporting your research—or, in some cases, you will cite certain scholars and their works to highlight that you are deliberately not in agreement with their ideas/claims/arguments. In short, your selection of scholarly resources tells your readers which authors you are engaging with. Lastly, if you have a question about how to cite sources, do contact me—or reach out to your classmates—to get clarification. Some sources may seem hard to figure out how to cite, but there is a proper citation format for pretty much every source of information out there—from a book to a podcast to an email exchange.

Penn State defines academic integrity as "the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner." Academic integrity includes "a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception." In particular, the University defines plagiarism as "the fabrication of information and citations; submitting other's work from professional journals, books, articles, and papers; submission of other students' papers, lab results or project reports and representing the work as one's own." Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include forfeited assignments, course failure, or disqualification from a degree or certificate program. More information is available by reading the academic integrity policy of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Citation and Reference Style

We expect that the text and graphics you submit as part of your assignments are original. We reserve the right to use the plagiarism detection service Turnitin.com to assure the originality of course assignments. You may build upon ideas, words, and illustrations produced by others, but you must acknowledge such contributions formally. Unacknowledged contributions are considered to be plagiarized. This guide explains when and how you should acknowledge contributions of others to your own work.

Different disciplines adopt different standards for citations and references. Moreover, almost every professional publication enforces its own variation on the standard styles. Papers and projects within the discipline of Geography and within many other Social Sciences require the use of APA format. Since it the convention of the discipline, it is important for you to know how to use this format.

Need help?

For more information on APA, please refer to this APA Citation Guide created by the Penn State University Libraries on the basics of APA. You may also refer to the following links for help:

PSU Citation Guide

OWL at Purdue University

Wisconsin Writing Center

Learn more...

Penn State also makes available to all faculty and students an iStudy Module entitled Academic Integrity, Plagiarism, and Copyright.