GEOG 430
Human Use of the Environment

Academic Integrity


There has been a troubling increase in the number of cases of academic integrity violation, which spans from honest mistakes to worse cases where students know the behavior is "copying" but still do it anyway. Yes. There are real people who get the dreaded "XF" on the Penn State transcript. Penn State faculty and staff have become very alert and vigilant, including our own team of instructors.

Throughout the course, you will be regularly writing and submitting your written assignments, mainly your Weekly Questions and Reactions, Current Event Discussion, and Final Essays. Every element of the submissions should be either (1) your original work, or (2) properly cited idea of somebody else's. If you want to mention somebody else's idea in your work, you should follow an established set of rules for doing so. In this class, we use the APA citation style for all citations done in all assignments. More information can be found in the 'Quick Guide to Citations' in the 'Resources' menu. Be aware that the material you submit for this course will be compared with online material using tools including Turnitin.

In terms of quizzes, you need to come without any information about the specific quiz questions themselves and correct/incorrect answers to them. Yes, they are open-book exams, but the only things you can refer to is raw course materials and your own notes about them. Sharing answers with classmates, or seeking answers on websites such as Course Hero is an intentional violation of academic integrity and will be carefully watched for using a variety of methods.

Penn State does not exempt you from consequences even when the violation was done without sufficient knowledge ("honest mistakes"). So, please make yourself aware of what constitutes a breach of academic integrity.

Please have a look at Penn State resources (Undergrad Advising Handbook and a web page from College of Earth and Mineral Sciences) to see what academic integrity is and what consequences it might bring when breached.

Information to avoid common mistakes

  1. Please use both (1) in-text citation and (2) end-of-the-document citation (a.k.a. reference list, works cited list) per one work cited. I have seen frequent cases of losing points by only giving a list of works cited at the end of the assignment text and missing in-text citation.
  2. When you are borrowing somebody else's idea in a word-for-word manner("direct quotes"), use quotation marks in the in-text citation. Failing to do so constitutes a breach of academic integrity. Yes! This rule applies even when you are citing definitions from dictionaries!


As the heroine of Little Women notes, Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents. (Wrong)
As the heroine of Little Women notes, "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents"(Alcott, 1868, pg. #)(Correct)

Citation (end-of-the-document) information that frequently gets left out

In this course, we seek to provide a learning experience to practice properly citing other people's works. One of the ways to do so is reflected in the fact that the citation information you can get from this website deliberately omits some of the essential citation information. You are the one who needs to look up the information to provide complete citation information in your submissions of Weekly Questions and Reactions, Current Event Discussions, and the Final Essay.

Typically, the citation on this website is lacking the following information about the cited material you need to fill in in your assignments:

For Articles:

  1. Full journal name - it is NOT the same as the name of the web database service. No Science Directs or Wileys, please.
  2. Journal volume and issue number

For Books and Book Chapters

  1. Full publisher information (e.g., city of publication)
  2. A book chapter citation should include both (1) the title of the whole book, and (2) the title of the specific chapter you are borrowing ideas from.

Web-based, non-print resources

Add a web address when it is an exclusively web-based resource (e.g., YouTube video clip).

An example of a citation of a journal article:

In the below image, the first (wrong) one is a Google Scholar result, copy and pasted without any revision.
The second (correct) one is still a Google Scholar result, but I added missing information by doing an additional search.

This shows that 1) You MAY use Google Scholar or another citation generator, BUT 2) more often than not, you need to ADD to or EDIT your citation generator result to get them right.
Google Scholar image showing a manufactured incorrect citation and the edits needed to correct it