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Plagiarism and Academic Conduct

Engineering Academic Integrity and Misconduct

The HCDE department adheres to the College of Engineering's and the UW academic misconduct policies with regard to plagiarism. View the College of Engineering statement of principles of academic honesty, integrity, and responsibility.

HCDE's Standards of Conduct

The following expectations complement the UW Student Conduct Code. All students in HCDE classes must demonstrate the following behaviors and abilities:

  • Communication: All students must communicate effectively with other students, faculty, and staff in HCDE. Students must attempt to express ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to give and receive feedback. All students must be able to reason, analyze, integrate, synthesize, and evaluate information in context. Students must be able to evaluate and apply information and engage in critical thinking in the classroom and professional setting.
  • Exchanges with peers, faculty and instructors in class and in electronic or other discussions related to HCDE courses should be civil. Personal, inflammatory, disrespectful, or intimidating remarks or postings are unacceptable and could result in removal from electronic or other discussions and an eventual report to Community Standards and Student Conduct. Criticism is encouraged as a constructive element of the educational environment, as long as it is delivered politely and respectfully.
  • Behavioral/Emotional: Students must demonstrate the emotional maturity and stability required to intellectually engage and function in class, exercise sound judgment, and complete class responsibilities in a timely fashion. Students must be able to maintain mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with students, faculty, staff, and other professionals while enrolled in HCDE classes. Students must be able and willing to examine and change behaviors when they interfere with productive individual or team relationships.

Problematic behavior documented: Problematic behavior will be documented by the department and if deemed appropriate forwarded to UW Community Standards and Student Conduct. College of Engineering Policy or UW policy may supercede department policies. If a pattern of behavior or a single, serious lapse in the behavioral expectations becomes evident, the following steps will be followed.

  • The student’s instructor and/or appropriate program advisor or teaching assistant will either verbally or in writing, notify the student about the concerning behavior and give students the opportunity to explain their behavior.
  •  If the instructor believes the student committed Academic Misconduct, the instructor should report the misconduct through the online reporting tool and should refrain from submitting a final grade in the course until the conduct process is completed.
  • See the COE Academic Misconduct Page for further outcomes.

What is Plagiarism?

One of the most common forms of cheating is plagiarism, using anotherʹs words or ideas without proper citation. When students plagiarize, they usually do so in one of the following six ways:

  • Using another writerʹs words without proper citation. If you use another writerʹs words, you must place quotation marks around the quoted material and include a footnote or other indication of the source of the quotation.
  • Using another writerʹs ideas without proper citation. When you use another authorʹs ideas, you must indicate with footnotes or other means where this information can be found. Your instructors want to know which ideas and judgments are yours and which you arrived at by consulting other sources. Even if you arrived at the same judgment on your own, you need to acknowledge that the writer you consulted also came up with the idea.
  • Citing your source but reproducing the exact words of a printed source without quotation marks. This makes it appear that you have paraphrased rather than borrowed the authorʹs exact words.
  • Borrowing the structure of another authorʹs phrases or sentences without crediting the author from whom it came. This kind of plagiarism usually occurs out of laziness: it is easier to replicate another writerʹs style than to think about what you have read and then put it in your own words. The following example is from A Writerʹs Reference by Diana Hacker (New York, 1989, p. 171).
    • Original: "If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for animal behaviorists."
    • Unacceptable borrowing of words: "An ape who knew sign language unsettled linguists and startled animal behaviorists."
    • Unacceptable borrowing of sentence structure: "If the presence of a sign‐language‐using chimp was disturbing for scientists studying language, it was also surprising to scientists studying animal behavior."
    • Acceptable paraphrase: "When they learned of an ape's ability to use sign language, both linguists and animal behaviorists were taken by surprise."
  • Borrowing all or part of another studentʹs paper or using someone elseʹs outline to write your own paper.
  • Using a paper writing ʺserviceʺ or having a friend write the paper for you. Regardless of whether you pay a stranger or have a friend do it, it is a breach of academic honesty to hand in work that is not your own or to use parts of another studentʹs paper.
  • In computer programming classes, borrowing computer code from another student and presenting it as your own. When original computer code is a requirement for a class, it is a violation of the Universityʹs policy if students submit work they themselves did not create.

Note. The guidelines that define plagiarism also apply to information secured on internet websites. Internet references must specify precisely where the information was obtained and where it can be found.

You may think that citing another authorʹs work will lower your grade. In some unusual cases this may be true, if your instructor has indicated that you must write your paper without reading additional material. But in fact, as you progress in your studies, you will be expected to show that you are familiar with important work in your field and can use this work to further your own thinking. Your professors write this kind of paper all the time. The key to avoiding plagiarism is that you show clearly where your own thinking ends and someone elseʹs begins.