Academic Honesty

Plagiarism & Academic Honesty


Cases Involving Graduate Students (from ODU Academic Integrity policy: Graduate students who have been found responsible for committing an academic integrity violation, are normally reviewed for suspension or expulsion, even for a first violation.

Old Dominion University is committed to students' personal and academic success. In order to achieve this vision, students, faculty, and staff work together to create an environment that provides the best opportunity for academic inquiry and learning. All students must be honest and forthright in their academic studies. Your work in this course and classroom behavior must align with the expectations outlined in the Code of Student Conduct, which can be found at The following behaviors along with classroom disruptions violate this policy, corrupt the educational process, and will not be tolerated:

  • Cheating: Using unauthorized assistance, materials, study aids, or other information in any academic exercise (Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to, the following: using unapproved resources or assistance to complete an assignment, paper, project, quiz or exam; collaborating in violation of a faculty member's instructions; and submitting the same, or substantially the same, paper to more than one course for academic credit without first obtaining the approval of faculty).
  • Plagiarism: Using someone else's language, ideas, or other original material without acknowledging its source in any academic exercise. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to, the following: submitting a research paper obtained from a commercial research service, the Internet, or from another student as if it were original work; or making simple changes to borrowed materials while leaving the organization, content, or phraseology intact. Plagiarism also occurs in a group project if one or more of the members of the group does none of the group's work and participates in none of the group's activities, but attempts to take credit for the work of the group.
  • Fabrication: Inventing, altering or falsifying any data, citation or information in any academic exercise. Examples of fabrication include, but are not limited to, the following: citation of a primary source which the student actually obtained from a secondary source; or invention or alteration of experimental data without appropriate documentation (such as statistical outliers).
  • Facilitation: Helping another student commit, or attempt to commit, any Academic Integrity violation, or failure to report suspected Academic Integrity violations to a faculty member. An example of facilitation may include circulating course materials when the faculty member has not explicitly authorized their use.

Academic dishonesty will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct & Academic Integrity and may result in sanctions up to and including expulsion from the University.

Hints for Avoiding Plagiarism:

  • More than three words is plagiarism. This is a good yardstick to use when wondering whether or not quotes are appropriate. They are, if you are copying more than three words in sequence.
  • One source is not "common knowledge." Common knowledge does not require citation, but information is not commonly known if you have found just one source for it.
  • When in doubt, cite! If you have any doubt about whether or not to cite a source, err on the side of making the attribution.
  • If your co-author sounds surprisingly eloquent, make sure the contribution is his or her own. We often work in groups and co-author papers and projects. You should ask the question of your co-author if you are unsure the work is their own. In group work you are responsible for a project/paper in its entirety.
  • Look away. When you are writing, do not have open books or papers in front of you as you type. Read your sources, and then put what you have read into your own words.
  • Writing is hard work. Paraphrasing is relatively easy, but writing is hard. Learning to be a good writer is an important part of a university education. Staring at an empty screen in MS Word does become less daunting over time!
  • Just because it's on the Internet, doesn't mean it's yours. The Internet is a fantastic resource and search engines are terrific research tools. However, the information you find on the Internet was written by someone. You must cite Internet web sites, and if you use a quote, use appropriate quotation procedures.
  • Paraphrasing is more than changing a verb tense or reordering a list. There is a difference between citing a source for a fact and creating a poor quote.
  • Use a Style Guide. Purchase a style guide and refer to it. Your teacher may suggest one or look for one at an online book source. Popular and timeless guides are by the American Psychological Association, Strunk and White, and Kate Turabian.

The High Cost of Plagiarism

In your professional career, you will find that reputation is everything. Plagiarism can ruin your reputation and cost you your professional career, along with the respect of your peers and family. Plagiarism at Old Dominion University is an act of academic dishonesty that has serious consequences. Note that plagiarism is specifically covered in the ODU Honor Pledge. Refer to the Student Handbook and Student Affairs for details about sanctions and penalties for this behavior.