The Integrity Blog

The Integrity Blog explores timely issues regarding honesty, responsibility, and fairness in academic settings. Every day institutions of higher education face ethical and moral challenges. This blog both acknowledges the current environment and offers students an opportunity to discuss these dilemmas in an effort to promote integrity here at the University at Buffalo.

Plagiarism and How to Avoid It (April 2022)

Written by Grace VerWeire, Student Integrity Ambassador

Picture this:

It’s 10:30 PM before the midnight due date. You open the assignment - it’s an essay. After staring at the prompt on the screen until your eyes hurt, you take out a pen and begin furiously scribbling. Concepts. Ideas. Details. The barrage of endless relevant information before you becomes a thesis tsunami; everything connects somehow. At 11:45 PM, you slowly enter the final period in your conclusion paragraph, and breathe a sigh of relief. As you upload your finished product, something catches your attention:

“Must cite at least five sources in APA format for full credit.”

You quickly reopen the assignment in Google Drive. You open the UB Library Database. You enter some key words, pick the first three sources, and begin rapidly skimming for any relevant information. You pull several quotes that may or may not have to do with your thesis, using copy and paste. At 11:55 PM, You slap some quotes around them, copy the URL of the source, paste it under the last page titled “References,” and turn in the assignment with sixty seconds to spare. Three days later, you have an email from the Office of Academic Integrity. You have committed plagiarism.


Professional writing can be a real drag when it comes to citing your sources, but citing sources properly is one of the most important steps towards getting a good grade, getting published, or even just writing in general. When you cite your sources properly, you are not only respecting and paying tribute to those whose information you used, but you are also potentially avoiding a violation of policy, or worse, a lawsuit. Plagiarism is a form of theft. When you use another person’s research or information without crediting them, you are stealing hours and hours of hard work and by putting your name at the top of the page you are, quite literally, calling it your own. Even if you don’t intend to steal someone’s work; even if it is just a small homework assignment for a class that isn’t going to be published anywhere; even if it is just a sentence - it’s plagiarism, and it’s illegal.

It takes a lot of work, time, and skill in order to master citations, and there isn’t much wiggle room when it comes to errors. However, plagiarism is a completely avoidable mistake. In order to tackle this issue, you should familiarize yourself with the multiple forms of citations. Then, you should practice with each form of citation, and reach out for help if you need it. There are multiple resources available on campus for free that provide assistance when it comes to citations and citation forms, no matter what type of help you may need. The Center for Excellence in Writing and the Office of Academic Integrity are great places to start when you need help with citing your work, and they are completely accessible to all students on campus when needed.

This article will walk you through creating common citations in MLA and APA format - the two most common academic writing citation formats. Examples will be presented, and the format will be explained below each example.

Now let’s jump into the formats:

APA

APA stands for the American Psychological Association. It is most commonly used to cite sources when writing in the social or behavioral sciences. It has seven editions and many professors accept this form of citation.

Citing in-text:

“I want to know that I earned my degree honestly.” (VerWeire, 2021)

(Last name of author, year of publication)

References:

- Website

Verweire, G. (2021). Office of Academic Integrity. University at Buffalo. Retrieved 10 March 2022, from https://www.buffalo.edu/academic-integrity.html.

Author last name, first initial. (Year of publication). Page title. Website name. Retrieved (date retrieved), from (URL).

- Article

Sefcik, L., Striepe, M., & Yorke, J. (2020). Mapping the landscape of academic integrity education programs: what approaches are effective?. Assessment & Evaluation In Higher Education, 45(1), 30-43. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2019.1604942

Author last name, first initial. (Year of publication). Article title. Journal name, volume number(issue number), pages used. URL.

- Book

Bertram Gallant, T. (2008). Academic integrity in the twenty-first century: a teaching and learning imperative (5th ed.). Jossey-Bass.

Author last name, first initial. (Year of publication). Book title. (Edition ed.). Publisher.

MLA

MLA stands for Modern Language Association. It is used most commonly in the humanities and literature. Almost all professors accept this form of citation. There are nine editions.

Citing in-text:

- Website/Book

“I want to know that I earned my degree honestly.” (VerWeire)

(Last name of author)

- Article

“I want to know that I earned my degree honestly.” (VerWeire et al.)

(Last name of author, et al.)


References:

- Website

Verweire, Grace. "Office Of Academic Integrity". University at Buffalo, 2021, https://www.buffalo.edu/academic-integrity.html.

Author last name, author first name. “Page title”. Website name, year of publication, URL.

- Article

Sefcik, Lesley et al. "Mapping The Landscape Of Academic Integrity Education Programs: What Approaches Are Effective?". Assessment & Evaluation In Higher Education, vol 45, no. 1, 2020, pp. 30-43. Routledge, https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2019.1604942. Accessed 10 Mar 2022.

Author last name, author first name et al. “Article title”. Journal, vol (volume number), no. (edition number), year of publication, pp. (pages used). Database name, URL.

- Book

Bertram Gallant, Tricia. Academic Integrity In The Twenty-First Century: A Teaching And Learning Imperative. 5th ed., Jossey-Bass, 2008.

Author last name, author first name. Book title. (number of edition) ed., publisher, year published.


Now picture this:

It’s three days before the deadline. You open the assignment in Blackboard, and read it from top to bottom, twice. It’s an essay requiring five sources or more in APA format. You form a thesis surrounding the question in the assignment. Using keywords from your thesis, you use the UB Library Database to find relevant sources. You take the time to thoughtfully read the sources, enhancing your understanding of the content. You find quotes to bolster up your thesis and type them out, careful to put them in quotations when directly quoting, and cautious to include the in-text citation. The information before you becomes a flowing river of facts and supporting evidence, much different from the tsunami prior. You create a references section chock-full of sources - six, to be exact - and the last page of your paper becomes a masterpiece of APA formatting. With days to spare, you stop in at the Center for Excellence in Writing to make sure that your paper receives a peer review. Three days later, you receive an A, and you think to yourself:

“Worth it.”

 


Sources (cited in APA 7th edition format):

Bertram Gallant, T. (2008). Academic integrity in the twenty-first century: a teaching and learning imperative (5th ed.). Jossey-Bass.

Sefcik, L., Striepe, M., & Yorke, J. (2020). Mapping the landscape of academic integrity education programs: what approaches are effective?. Assessment & Evaluation In Higher Education, 45(1), 30-43. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2019.1604942

Purdue Writing Lab. (2022). APA Style Introduction. Retrieved 10 March 2022, from
https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_style_introduction.html

VerWeire, G. (2021). Office of Academic Integrity. University at Buffalo. Retrieved 10 March 2022, from https://www.buffalo.edu/academic-integrity.html.