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Academic Standards: Academic Integrity Standards

Understanding Academic Standards for Writing and Citing Sources

Basic Standards

  • All work should be your own.

    • Your own ideas, structure, and conclusions should be at the heart of your work.

    • Gather a wide range of evidence.

    • You need to truly understand the ideas of those you cite.

    • Use the evidence you gather to develop new insights.

  • Ideas from others should always be acknowledged with proper citations.

    • Direct quotations should be outlined with quotation marks or block quote style.

    • Paraphrases (putting the ideas of others into your own words) should be clearly marked and include the complete citations.

    • Summaries of ideas formed by others should include the complete citations.

  • Expectations about re-using your own work may be different based on the situation. Be sure to ask your professor for advice before re-using your own work.

Writing an academic research paper can be confusing for the student, especially when the subject is new to you. The paper is yours and it is vital that it reflect your ideas and what you have learned about the subject. On the other hand, you may feel that everything you think about the subject is something that you just learned and must therefore cite. How do you know what to cite and what not to cite? There are no simple rules. Most of the paper should be uniquely yours. What do you conclude from what you have studied? How do you combine the various different points of view or discoveries you have learned about? How do these ideas work together? The answers to these and similar questions will be an important part of your paper. However, the ideas and concepts you find in the journal articles and books you read to prepare for writing will also be an important part of your paper. Citations of quoted, paraphrased and summarized content from these sources provide the standard academic method of acknowledging these ideas in your work.

Asking for Help

Oklahoma City University provides writing, math, science, and music tutoring in the Learning Enhancement Center and these students can help with many aspects of your writing and studying, so some help is not only accepted, it is encouraged by the university. Remember that the goal of such assistance should be to help you understand how to improve your own work, not to use someone else’s skill or knowledge to improve an assignment you submit as your own.

  • Different assignments and different instructors often have different levels of expectation when it comes to help.

    • If an assignment is described as a test, no help is allowed unless specifically stated.

    • It is always wrong for someone other than the student to make a substantial contribution to the assignment.

    • Studying with a group is a good idea as long as each student completes assignments independently.

    • When completing assignments while studying with others or a tutor it can be difficult to draw the line.

      • The author of the assignment should be making decisions and doing the work.

      • The helper or tutor should be teaching the author of the assignment how to recognize points that need attention, not identifying and correcting them.

      • It is best to ask your professor if help is permitted for an assignment.

OCU Definitions

Oklahoma City University's Academic Honesty Policy is found on pages 34-35 of the 2023-24 Undergraduate Catalogs and pages 35-36 of the 2023-24 Graduate Catalog. It includes:

"Students are advised that cheating and plagiarism are not tolerated. The university expects all students to maintain a high standard of ethics in their academic activities. In this context, forms of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, cheating on tests, examinations or other class/laboratory work; involvement in plagiarism (the appropriation of another’s work and/or the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one’s own, including works produced by artificial intelligence); collusion (the unauthorized collaboration with another person); misrepresentation of actions; and falsifying information."


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