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Citation and Style Guides: Avoiding Plagiarism

Some of the most frequently used citation formats are APA, Chicago, and MLA styles.


When you compose a research paper, you are likely to rely upon many information sources to help you develop the ideas that will form the basis of your argument. Whether you use books, journal articles, web sites or other media to gather background information on your topic, you should keep track of your sources for your bibliography and/or footnotes. Crediting the sources you consulted while writing your paper helps to show where your ideas originated, and helps you to avoid claims of plagiarism. Listing your sources also allows your reader to understand what kinds of resources you used, and to refer back to those sources for further information.

Bennington College Statement on Academic and Artistic Ethics

from the Bennington College Student Handbook:

Plagiarism and all kinds of academic and artistic dishonesty are contrary to the educational philosophy and aims of Bennington College and are absolutely prohibited. At Bennington, instances of plagiarism and dishonesty affect all students and all faculty, since cheating compromises the spirit of self-governance and the community’s commitment to work. The College will not tolerate the disregard of our common academic endeavors by those who fail to take intellectual and ethical responsibility for their work. Academic and artistic dishonesty is not merely an issue for a specific student, class, or faculty member; it is a College-wide issue with institutional consequences.

Plagiarism is submitting the work of others as one’s own, whether intentionally or not, and includes failure to acknowledge sources. Proper acknowledgment of sources is the basis of academic honesty. Such sources include words, ideas, data, and images from books, articles, Internet sites, and so on. Sources of images must be noted in the same way that textual material is cited, according to discipline standards. Ample material is available in the library to help students determine how to cite sources properly. Any students with questions about this should consult reference librarians, the Director of Undergraduate Writing Initiatives, peer writing and research tutors, or faculty members for guidance.

Academic dishonesty also includes the submission of the same work for different classes without substantial revision and prior permission from the faculty. Academic dishonesty may also include projects or assignments done collaboratively but not approved in advance by faculty as collaborative work.

Whenever academic or artistic dishonesty is discovered or suspected, the following procedures are followed:

  1. The instructor consults with the Associate Director of Academic Services or the Dean of Studies about the particular situation.

  2. The instructor normally then discusses the situation directly with the student.

  3. If the instructor is satisfied that the suspicion is unfounded, no further action is taken.

If, after discussing the situation with the student, the instructor finds that plagiarism or another kind of dishonesty has occurred, the instructor again speaks with the Associate Director of Academic Services or the Dean of Studies. The faculty advisor will also be consulted. The Associate Director or Dean of Studies then determines the specific consequences for the student. The student will receive a letter outlining the offense and the consequence; the letter will be copied to the student’s faculty advisor and included in the student’s permanent file. Students normally fail courses in which they have committed any form of academic dishonesty. Students may not withdraw from a course to avoid failure as a result of academic dishonesty.

One or more of the following consequences may be imposed in accordance with the discretion of the Associate Director or the Dean of Studies:

  1. First Offense: Failure in the class, academic warning, suspension, or dismissal.

  2. Subsequent Offense: Failure in the class, academic warning, suspension, or dismissal.

  3. Appeals: Appeals of the decision in cases of suspension or dismissal must be made in writing to the Provost and Dean of the College or designee within 10 days of the letter of notification. Decisions of the Provost and Dean of the College or designee will be in writing and are final.

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