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Academic Integrity and Citation Style Guide


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 others' 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 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. The most widely used styles include:

So, which one should I use?

Just as each discipline adopts different standards, each instructor and/or course may require you to use a different citation style. Please refer to the syllabus to learn what standard you will be expected to comply with. If it is not listed there, do not hesitate to contact your instructor.

Regardless of the style you use, we do expect two things:

  1. Whenever you include text, a graphic, or an idea that is not your own, acknowledge the contribution so that readers can find the original source.
  2. Consistently apply one style of citations and references for all of your assignments.

Learn more...

Penn State also makes available to all faculty and students an iStudy Module entitled:

Academic Integrity, Plagiarism, and Copyright

As the module states:

"Academic integrity affects everyone at Penn State, whether you are a student, a professor, an instructor, or a staff member. It is everyone's responsibility to know what the Penn State policy on Academic Integrity says. Every member of the Penn State community is also expected to understand what plagiarism is as well as current copyright laws and how they apply to each person's work. This module provides an introduction to academic integrity, plagiarism, and copyright, and additional resources for obtaining more information."

Use this iStudy Module to learn about academic integrity, plagiarism and copyright.

By the time you finish the module, you will be able to:

  • define academic integrity;
  • identify instances of cheating and plagiarism;
  • list five reasons why plagiarism is wrong;
  • understand the consequences of committing an act of academic dishonesty at Penn State;
  • identify situations where "fair use" applies to the use of someone else's materials;
  • identify works in the Public Domain;
  • find information about the correct way to cite a reference;
  • begin to develop your personal philosophy on academic integrity.