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What is "academic honesty?"

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M.P. Ossa, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Academic honesty is a characteristic which students should possess: To be the creator and producer of original academic work. Period.

When you go through the research and process of writing, the findings you get are accurate, relevant, and true. When other hands get on your work, when you get someone else to write for you, or when you copy other person's work, the voice in the academic product changes completely, the uniformity of the information becomes threatened and, what is worse, the credibility of the author could endanger their reputation forever.

The best way to avoif plagiarism is to have a game plan in place, with outlined information drawn from true sources and put into work in several different categories. With verified and true sources plagiarism has no place.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that it is really challenging to eliminate all plagiarism.  One way that teachers can assist in this process is to emphasize the writing process to students that encourages frequent checkpoints in the assessing of student work.  For example if a student is assigned a paper to be completed in two weeks, creating intermittent checkpoints where teachers can examine student work formally or informally, through conference or submission of work, might allow a chance for students and teachers to partake in the process of writing.  Additionally, the more teachers examine student work, a clearer notion of students' writing voice emerges, making it easier to spot and call students on plagiarism.  This also helps to make clear to students that academic honesty is the only path to pursue towards scholarship because their teachers are mindful of it.

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kapokkid eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Academic honesty is a very interesting concept and one that means different things to different people.  On a basic level, making sure to attribute ideas or quotes to the right people when used, or making sure to acknowledge help you received, resources you consulted, etc., in other areas of work helps to make someone honest.  Not taking credit for other people's work is a great way to be sure not to commit plagiarism, etc.

One of the ways that I think plagiarism can be avoided is to be sure that assignments and other writing exercises are open so that the student can choose something they want to write about.  In my experience, students that choose to cheat generally do so out of a lack of time or interest in the subject or topic assigned, not out of a blatant disregard for rules or with actual evil intent.

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arrellbelle | Student

In college, when we receive our identification cards, there is a pledge of academic honesty written on the back. To sum it up, academic honesty is swearing that the work you do, during your school years, are purely made from your own thinking or cited with proper citations. In other words, copying directly from another person is bad.

econnot | Student

I recently had the assignment to teach a senior English class.  I assigned them a research paper to work on, and gave them 6 weeks to complete it.

I showed them examples of research papers, gave them examples to use, and spent almost two weeks on how to not plagiarize other's work.

Being seniors, they did not think they should have to do much in senior English, but unfortunately, I didn't think that way.  So, the assignment was given.

When the papers were due, I had more than half of the class that hadn't even start, and then, when they did turn in the papers within the next three days, most of them were copied, word for word, without documentation, from the internet.  They wouldn't even read a book to get information.  Of course, their grades reflected their work, but they didn't understand.  Their thoughts and verbalization on this was that the internet was for anyone to copy what they wanted.

At the beginning of the semester, I had a student tell me that he didn't need senior English because he'd already taken a course online for another student.  I spent the rest of the year trying to convince the majority of these senior students that copying work or letting someone else copy their work was dishonest.  This young man plagiarized every word of his research paper, but he made one hundred dollars taking an online college class for another student, and he was proud of himself for that accomplishment.

So, what is academic honesty?  It's simple.  It is you doing your own work and getting your own, hard earned grades.  What it isn't is copying other's work, letting them copy yours or having them do your work for you.  That's just plain old cheating!


kinnkit | Student

Academic honesty is a term based on normative ethics that entails the responsible and acceptable ways of conducting oneself in the setting of a test or schoolwork.

gusman816 | Student

Regarding plagiarism, last year I showed my journalism students how easy it was for me to find out if they were copying someone else's words when they did their writing assignments.  I pulled up Google, typed in one sentence from a student's paper, and the first hit was the article they had passed off as their own.  The students (middle schoolers) were shocked into silence.  I then did some mini-lessons on the differences between summarizng and paraphrasing, plus citing sources, and had the students practice these skills using feature stories printed in our local paper.  It seemed to work!

weavera1 | Student

My 10th graders have usually never written a formal research paper until now. To avoid plagiarism I walk them through the process step by step- a lot of it is done in class- and ALL of it has to be turned in at the end in a folder. I never accept just a final draft alone. By requiring them to show me the rough drafts, note cards, research etc. I am watching the paper develop and I can tell when a 'final' draft is too different form the other steps. I also use turnitin.com. I log in and show them how the program works and how to parenthetical citations to avoid plagairism and mistakes. Their final papers are run through just to check their sources and citations. Works very well.

imamta10 | Student

academic honesty means genuine work related to studies, regarding examinations, preparing study material ,answering any question etc. the work should not be copied ,but it should be in writer's own words,thoughts ,creativity and imagination. plagiarism be avoided  by modifying and improving the study pattern as well as teaching pattern.if the students pay proper attention to the lessons and teachers take interests in solving their problems it may reduce plagiarism.also the exams should be online as far as possible

m1d1c1 | Student

     Academic honesty means that one did not knowingly and/or willingly copy someones work.  You did not "borrow" another paper, cut and paste from a website, or copy word for word from a text without giving credit to the original author. Plaigiarism is simply "taking another persons words or thoughts and claiming them as your own".

     To try to avoid unintentional plagiarism it is important that you educate yourself in the style in which your professor wants you to write your paper, MLA, APA, etc...  There are great resources available on-line and in book form that will guide you through the process. The on-line OWL Purdue writing lab is a good place to start.  Also, I always tell my students, "When in doubt, it is better to cite than not to cite!"

lthrockmorton | Student

Having worked as an English teacher I highly value original thought and giving credit when credit is due. Working for an online program where students do everything electronically is VERY REVEALING!Plagiarism is so easy to do since the whole web is available to them at all times.

It is obvious when a student is blatantly stealing words and ideas and trying to get away with it. Then there are the honest kids who may not cite correctly, but they recognize something must be done to give credit. There is a grey area, but by knowing the student you can tell if this was done in "honesty" or if it was academic "intention".

This is the distinction I would draw. Plagiarism is stealing anothers words or ideas. To avoid this, an "academically honest" student will choose to put it in their own words. A deceptive student will not attempt, and will choose to take credit for someone elses work.

ekadev | Student

Of course academic honesty deals with the honesty in your writings and in your expressions. One should not fail to acknowledge the source of knowledge he has received from. This will offcourse improve his writing and the readers will be able to browse the source again to get further information required. Once the writers realise this fact that it is dishonest to use other's information and acknowledge the source, plagiarism will be automatically controlled.

dcteacher | Student

Academic honesty is simply being magnanimous. Being magnanimous means giving credit where credit is due. If you have used someone else's hard work , you need to provide footnotes or a reference or works cited page to show where you got the notes or quotes from. Plagiarism can be avoided by carefully taking notes and ideas from someone else's work and then making something else entirely your own. And always give credit where credit is due.

franceslam | Student

Academic honesty is expected of students but what of teachers who plagiarize? This happens more often than people assume, at all levels of the education spectrum. I speak from experience. It is a basic failure of an ethical and moral code. It is an unspoken truth and quite possibly students take their cues from their teachers, being adept at sensing who is honest in their dealings and who is faking it until they make it, so to speak. Faking it is no way to make it but it has been possible for a long time for people to get away with this behavior and it is unrealistic to hold  students to a higher moral code than their teachers.

Until the adults clean up their act, we can expect to see ongoing academic dishonesty in school. That is a sad fact of life.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Field of academics is much more than writing academic papers, thesis, or other written works to record knowledge for use of others. It includes the entire process of developing, recording, preserving, teaching and using knowledge. The subject of academic honesty in all these activities is rather large. Also the mention of plagiarism, suggests that in the current context it refers only to honesty in writing academic works. So I will limit my answer  to this field.

Academic honesty involves several issues. One of these is plagiarism which has already been pointed out in the question. Two other important issues are the truth of the information given and second is the relevance of the information to the subject being discussed.

If a person deliberately keeps keeps back a piece of information because it is not in line with what he or she is trying to claim or establish in the paper, then it is dishonesty. Similarly, deliberately presenting some information of questionable quality as established truth is also dishonesty. All such cases come under the category of dishonesty of not being entirely truthful.

Deliberately presenting information that is irrelevant or unimportant for the subject under investigation is also academic dishonesty. Some people adopt such practice just to produce thick report is also academic dishonesty. For example a person may include discussion of things even remotely connected with the subject, just because information was easily available, rather than make efforts to locate and select the most relevant information.

Plagiarism is the practice of presenting the writings and ideas of others claiming these to be your own. Plagiarism is definitely ethically wrong. In addition when it violates intellectual property rights, it is also illegal.

mkcapen1 | Student

Academic honesty would imply that one would not use a site such as e-notes or any other to copy and use someone's material as one's own.

This being said, when you write your paragraph explain that it is dishonest to use another's written words as your own.  If you quote something from someone, it can not be the whole paper but a very small segment and it must be quoted and the writer given their due in the reference section.

Plagiarism can result in a student being put out of a college program because it is a trust between the college and the student that he works submitted will not be plagiarized.