Academic Honesty and Citing
Your Sources

Writing a research paper and knowing how to cite your sources correctly can be a confusing process. While writing a research paper, you need to be very careful about academic honesty. This is true for US citizen students and for international students. These rules can vary from university to university, as they can differ from country to country. These differences can cause confusion and misunderstanding if a student does not check what is required by the school where they currently study.

The rules regarding academic honesty may be very different at Binghamton University than the rules in your home country. To be successful as a Binghamton University student, you must learn and obey these rules for academic honesty.

We have prepared this guide to help you understand the rules that govern academic honesty at Binghamton University. You will find in this guide:

  • Definition of plagiarism and rules of academic honesty
  • Charts comparing the rules of academic honesty at Binghamton University and universities in other countries
  • Resources available and strategies to use to help you present your sources correctly in your research paper

Definition of Plagiarism:

Be very careful to cite the sources that you use in your paper. If you use somebody else’s idea without giving the appropriate citation, you may violate the ownership of their ideas. This is called plagiarism.

What Are the Rules at Binghamton University That Govern Plagiarism? - Who Can Help You Understand the Rules?

Binghamton University’s policies governing academic honesty are clearly defined in the University Bulletin which is available on the web:

(Please scroll down to the “Rules Governing Academic Life” and “Student Academic Honesty Code”)

The Student Academic Honesty Code defines plagiarism as presenting the work of another person as one’s own work (including papers, words, ideas, information, computer code, data, evidence, organizing principle, or style of presentation taken from the internet, books, periodicals or other sources).

Plagiarism includes:

  • Quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing without acknowledgement, even a few phrases
  • Failing to acknowledge the source of either a major idea or ordering principle
  • Relying on another person’s data, evidence or critical method without credit or permission
  • Submitting another person’s work as one’s own
  • Using unacknowledged research sources gathered by someone else

The consequences for a student found guilty of plagiarism are severe. If you are not sure how to cite the sources of your research, you should meet with your professor, teaching assistant or a research librarian. There must be no question ever, that you have been completely honest in your work.

There is also more information on plagiarism at: BU Library - Plagiarism

Understanding academic honesty policy will help you avoid such unintentional dishonesty. To give you an idea of what some of the differences may be, we have prepared several charts comparing plagiarism in the United States with plagiarism in China, South Korea, Turkey, and India (four countries from which most of Binghamton University’s international students are from). We hope that you will find these charts useful.

The following comparisons provide a general guide to the academic honesty policies at Binghamton University and universities in China, South Korea, Turkey and India. Please keep in mind that all students need to learn and obey the policies of the University where they are studying. None of us can assume the policies at a new school will match the policies where we studied in the past. Understanding how complex these rules can be will help a student to have an honest and successful academic career. 





Resources Available and Strategies to Use to Correctly Present Your Research Sources:

How can you avoid plagiarizing?

1. While researching:

  • Plan ahead of time to gather your research and take notes of your sources as you do your research. The information that you will need to cite your sources correctly in your paper is (usually) the following:

- the name of the author(s)/editor(s)

- the exact name or title of the book/chapter/journal/article

- the date of publication

- the place of publication and the name of the publishing house (for a book)

- the volume and issue number (for a journal)

  • Set up your citations as you do your research using the above listed items. Please note that this list is by no means exclusive. You may need other information depending on the type of your sources (for example for newspapers, websites, archival documents, videos/films etc).
  • Regarding how to cite these other types of sources and the exact information you will need to note during your research, please check BU Library’s guide to different citation styles, such as APA, MLA, and Chicago style. Make sure which style your professor wants you to use in your paper. Check your course syllabus, or meet with your professor to ask questions and receive guidance. (More information on citation styles is provided below.)

2. While writing:

  • Note software resources which allow you to “cite while you write” (If you are using Microsoft Office Word 2007, go to the References tab and click on Citations & Bibliography. Follow the directions so Word will set up the citations for you as you write.)
  • If you are using quotes, be sure to copy the quote exactly and use quotation marks (“…”) to indicate clearly that it is a direct quote, and not a paraphrase.
  • Be careful when you paraphrase! Paraphrasing means that you convey the idea of somebody else in your own words, as opposed to changing just a few words in the sentence.

How to paraphrase without plagiarizing?

When you take notes, avoid cutting and pasting large parts of text as a form of note taking. After you have finished reading, close the book/article and try to write with your own words a summary of what you remember. After you are done writing, reopen the text and check whether you understood the idea correctly. Make sure that you do not repeat the same words with the original text.

Here is an example of acceptable and unacceptable paraphrasing:

(Taken from Purdue University’s webpage):

The original passage:

“Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes.” Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.

An acceptable paraphrase:

“In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim.” (Lester 46-47).

An unacceptable paraphrase:

“Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.”

ATTENTION!!! Even if you paraphrase (in other words, even if you convey somebody else’s idea with your own words), YOU DO NEED TO CITE THE SOURCE!

  • Cite ALL sources, and ask your professor or the B.U. Writing Center if you are not sure what to cite. (A good rule is that if you are not sure if something needs to be cited and if you cannot consult your professor at the moment, then cite it.)

What is meant by "citing sources?

When you cite something, you give credit to the appropriate source for quotes, information and ideas that are not your own. Credit should be given to sources that you directly quote from, as well as sources paraphrased or consulted for ideas used in your research.

What do you have to cite?

It is difficult to create a list of examples that will cover every potential situation you could come across in your research. However, you will lower your likelihood of committing plagiarism if you follow these guidelines:

  • Cite all quotes as well as all sources of paraphrasing.
  • Provide citations for any idea presented that is not your own.
  • Cite all statistics, unless they are from your own data analysis.
  • Cite all pictures and illustrations not created by you.
  • Cite online sources used and consulted, such as web pages, online articles, email discussions, blogs, listservs, discussion boards, etc.

How do you cite sources?

Go to the Citation Help page for help in citing sources in common citation styles, plus information on how to find style guides both online and in print.

Be sure to format your citations according to the style guides required by your professor, such as:

American Psychological Association (APA) Style:

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style:

Guide to Plagiarism Rules in the U.S. and in Other Countries:

The rules governing academic honesty may be very different at Binghamton University than the rules in your home country. It is important to realize that being in a different country may mean the academic policies (rules) may be very different than what you are used to. Any student who studies abroad must check to see if the academic policies governing their new program of study are different from the academic policies in their home country.

The differences between the policies in your home country and the policies at Binghamton University may lead international students to plagiarize without ever knowing that they are actually violating the rules of academic honesty at Binghamton University. Keep in mind that violations of the policies governing academic honesty can have serious, personal consequences. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, a student could possibly be dismissed from the University. Unfortunately, saying you did not know the rules will not excuse a violation of the rules.

Special thanks to the following people who made significant contributions to this article:

Ellen Badger, Director (retired), International Student and Scholar Services, Binghamton University
Karen Keefe-Guzikowski, Associate Director, International Student and Scholar Services, Binghamton University
Emily J. Love, International Student Employment Consultant, International Student and Scholar Services, Binghamton University
Julie Wang, Area Studies Librarian for Asian/American Studies, Binghamton University
Danielle Contini, Faculty Staff Scholarship Intern, International Student and Scholar Services Office, 2011-2012.
Esra Sarioglu, doctoral student and former Graduate Assistant, International Student and Scholar Services, 2008-2009
Gullistan Yarkin, doctoral student and former Graduate Assistant, International Student and Scholar Services,2009-2011.
Fulya Ozcan, Lecturer, Ismet University, Istanbul, Turkey

The following persons were interviewed about the summaries in the charts above, of the rules governing academic honesty, “A Comparison of Academic Honesty Rules”, in their home country:

Cheng, Li. Personal interview. 16 October. 2012
Yoo, Seung Jin. Personal interview. 6 Jan. 2013
Banerjee, Jyotika. Personal interview. 16 October. 2012
Ozkan, Fulya. Personal interview. 19 October. 2012

Last Updated: 4/27/15