Academic Integrity

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This resource covers the following components:

Academic Integrity
Reading for Research
Academic Summary


The resources in this package have been developed by the Centre for Academic Communication team at the University of Victoria.

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity Defined

Academic integrity is intellectual honesty and responsibility for academic work that you submit or work on with others. It involves commitment to the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. As a student and scholar, you are expected to adhere to these ethical values. This handout outlines the most important aspects of academic integrity; the University of Victoria has a detailed page on academic integrity, including policies and responsibilities.

The Importance of Academic Integrity

  • The university has a responsibility to ensure that you graduate with the skills you need to—ethically—participate in the community or workforce
  • As a student, you expect to have a high-quality learning experience. You need to feel that your hard work is being recognized and fairly evaluated, and that other students do not have an unfair advantage through cheating on exams, essays, or projects
  • Upholding values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility are essential in helping you learn how to make a difference, and to develop awareness of the rights and responsibilities of world citizens

Examples of academic dishonesty


  • Buying a paper online
  • Having someone else write or revise your work or parts of it
  • Submitting parts or all of the work of another person as your own original work
  • Hiring an editor for your written assignments without your instructor’s permission
  • Cheating on a quiz or exam or helping others to cheat

Possibly unintentional

  • Failing to properly cite ideas or parts of text that are the work of others
  • Paraphrasing without putting enough of the original text “in your own words”
  • Failing to differentiate clearly between your words and the language of your source
  • Failing to note areas of agreement between your work and the work of other writers
  • Using quotation marks (“…”) in the wrong place
  • Providing inadequate or incomplete footnotes or references
  • Patching together ideas from other sources without putting them in the context of your own work
  • Self-plagiarism—using something you wrote for one course in an assignment for a different course
  • Translating a source from another language without properly referencing or citing it
  • Including a proverb or common saying from another language without referencing or citing it
  • Citing a source that you did not actually read
  • Citing a source that you found within another source without citing the original author/speaker

Consequences of academic dishonesty

Students are entitled to a fair process and an opportunity to be heard. If you were suspected of infringing on academic integrity policies or expectations, your department will contact you in writing, and will involve you in next steps. Consequences, however, include:


  • A grade of zero for the assignment
  • A failing grade (F) for the course

Upon second or third violation

  • Being placed on disciplinary probation
  • Receiving a permanent probation notation on your transcript
  • Being permanently suspended (you can’t finish your degree)

Avoiding Academic Dishonesty—Responsible and Ethical Authorship

  • Ask your instructor or TA about the appropriate style for referencing your sources
  • Keep an accurate record of sources, including page numbers
  • Always make it clear which are your ideas and words, and which are the ideas or words of others by citing your sources accurately and clearly
  • If you’re not sure about something, ask your instructor, TA, or a tutor at the Centre for Academic Communication

*** Keep in mind that plagiarism sometimes occurs due to ignorance or confusion, but it is the responsibility of the student to know the rules. Different disciplines may have different norms. Students who are unsure about the standards for citations or for referencing their sources must seek that information from their instructors, TAs, research librarians in the Mearns Centre for Learning—McPherson Library, or tutor or staff member at the Centre for Academic Communication.

Academic Integrity Resources


When to Quote

  • When the quote is so powerfully stated and so pithily phrased that it cannot be restated
  • When the statement is evidence for your claim
  • When the statement is evidence for another’s claim

How much to Quote

  • Quoted material should be less than 20% of your total word count (Use quotes like salt – sparingly)

How to Quote

Create a sandwich:

Top slice of sandwich bread:

Introduce the text — Dr. Samuel Spread, who first wrote about sandwiches, said, […]


Filling of sandwich:

Accurately copy the words from the original text and add a citation — “Sandwiches will become the standard lunch food for students in the twenty-first century!” (1914, p. 40).


Bottom slice of sandwich bread:

Explain why this quote is significant — Dr. Spread’s prediction about sandwiches has become true – most university students today eat sandwiches for lunch on a daily basis!

Useful Verbs and Phrases for Quoting

Sample introductory verbs to use in your “signal” phrase (the top slice):

  • say, state, suggest, infer, mention, indicate, declare, exclaim
  • argue, claim, point out that, wonder, question, contend, maintain reason
  • report, observe, note, describe,

Sample phrasing for explanations (the bottom slice):

  • This suggests (indicates, demonstrates, shows) that…
  • X’s statement supports ____________ in that it …
  • In other words, X is suggesting …
  • In his statement, X is arguing that …
  • X’s comments support the idea that…
  • This quote indicates that …


Definition of paraphrase

  • A reworking of original material using your own words
  • An effective paraphrase demonstrates that you have read and understood the original material

Steps for effective paraphrasing

  1. Read the original source
  2. Understand the original source
  3. Put the original source away
  4. Make a list of the key points you remember from the original
  5. Reread the source quickly to make sure you have included all the key points
  6. Put the source away again
  7. Join the points together in a smooth sentence or two—make sure you are using your own words, sentence structures, and order of ideas
  8. Reread your paraphrase, correcting the grammar and punctuation
  9. Check your paraphrase against the original—have you accurately presented the original ideas?
  10. Cite your source using the appropriate style format required for the assignment.

Avoid simply replacing words with synonyms in the original sentence keeping everything else the same, because this practice, also known as patchwriting, counts as plagiarism.

Integrating Paraphrases and Summaries

Integrating the paraphrase or summary into the text you are writing is important, not only for flow, but also for demonstrating mastery over the material at hand. The point of referencing a certain source, whether in summarizing or paraphrasing, is to provide evidence in support of your claims. When you integrate sources properly, you are providing your readers with material that complements your works and solidifies your arguments.

For an effective integration of your paraphrase or summary, make sure to introduce the reference, explain its significance and connection to your claim, and cite it appropriately. Make it clear when your ideas are beginning and ending, and when the paraphrase/summary is beginning or ending. A clear distinction makes your commentary and input known to the reader.

Useful Verbs for Introduce Paraphrases and Summaries

  • Report, observe, note, describe, indicate, define, discuss, admit
  • Argue, claim, suggest, maintain, agree
  • Disagree, reject, deny, refute, oppose
  • Assert, insist, emphasize, urge, conclude
  • Question, wonder, challenge

Useful Signal Phrases for Introducing Paraphrases and Summaries

  • According to X, ___________,
  • In X’s view, ___________,
  • In Title of the Book, X maintains that ___________,
  • In the words of the psychologist X, ___________
  • X says / claims / suggests / admits / comments / questions whether / explains / believes / points out / argues / admits / notes / etc.

Useful Phrases for Explaining Paraphrases and Summaries

  • This suggests (indicates, demonstrates, shows) that…
  • X’s statement supports ____________ in that it …
  • In other words, X is suggesting …
  • X’s comments support the idea that…
  • This quotation indicates that …

General Tips for paraphrasing

  1. Structure: Change the grammatical structure of a sentence by joining two sentences using coordinating or subordinating conjunctions, or by splitting up a long sentence into two simple sentences. Change the order of the ideas putting what was last in the original first in your paraphrase or the reverse
  2. Meaning: Your paraphrase should have the same meaning as the original. Keep the main idea in your independent clause and the supporting details in dependent clauses. Emphasize the key ideas that are emphasized in the original
  3. Words: Use different words that are more common and simpler than the original. Retain specialized and technical words, proper names, numbers and formulae
  4. Length: The length of the paraphrase should be about the same as the length of the original
  5. Style: The paraphrase should sound like you; use your own style even if it does not seem as complex as the original
  6. Citation: Even though you have used your words, you need to include a citation to acknowledge where the idea came from.

Reading for research

Below are some questions that can guide your reading for research process. As you read your article, think of answers to these questions:

  1. What is the cultural/historical context for this article?
  • Who wrote this article? Look up their position, context, and areas of research interest
  • Who is their audience? Where is the article published? Who are the readers? Why are they reading this?
  • Why did they write this? Examine the abstract/introduction. What is the main point?
  • What do I know about this topic already? Why might I be interested in reading more?
  • What can I learn about this topic? What key vocabulary do I need? – Go to Wikipedia/online dictionary
  1. How has the writer organized the ideas?
  • Problem/solution?
  • Chronology?
  • Cause/effect?
  • Argument?
  • Compare/contrast?
  • Other?
  1. Based on the organizational pattern(s), how might I “diagram” this reading? How do the paragraphs fit together to create sections? How do the sections fit together to support the author’s main point? How does it end?
  2. If I compare the diagram to the original article, have I accurately represented the main/supporting ideas?

Academic summary

To write an effective summary, you need to understand the article so well that you can remember the authors’ claims and the evidence they use to support them. You know you’re ready to write your summary when you can tell someone else what you’ve read, and you can record the key points from memory.

Strategies for Summary-writing

  1. Focus on reading strategically
    1. Read the introduction: What is the research question/hypothesis?
    2. Carefully read the headings and first/last sentences in each paragraph
    3. Skim methodology/results
    4. Carefully read the findings/discussion/conclusion
  2. Mark up/highlight the article as you read. If reading online, try these strategies. Create one page of notes, expressing ideas in a way that is natural to you (without looking at the original). When creating this one-pager, make notes that anyone in the general public could understand.
  3. Use this one page to write the actual summary
  4. Remember to look away from the original document when you are writing the actual summary. Write from your notes and from memory. (Accidental plagiarism/patch writing happens most often when students are reading and writing at the same time)
  5. How often do you need in-text citations when your assignment is to write a summary from one source? Good question;  here are some tips:
    1. Introduce your source in your first sentence of your summary and cite your source.
    2. If using APA, use an in-text citation with the author’s last name/date.
    3. As you write your next sentences about the same source, you can start your sentences with “the researchers” and use phrases like, “These researchers”, “The study…”, and “The scholars go on to say…”.
    4. Avoid citing methodology/procedures
    5. Include in-text citations for results, findings, conclusions
    6. You can introduce your opinion using phrases like, “This study aligns with …” or “This study may not be relevant with the concept …”
  6. Write a “movie trailer” version of the original text:
    1. Use the simplest words you can to capture the main points (as if you were explaining the article to a group of grade 5 students)
    2. Do not use numbers. Instead report trends or highlights. For example: “half the group…” or “almost all the participants” or “some respondents…”

Finally, if your assignment requires you to include a comment of your own, think about the study. How does the study and its findings connect to your course material our course readings? Is there anything the researchers did that you wonder about? Did they miss anything? Remember to introduce your opinion using the key phrases noted above: “This study aligns with …”, “This study may not be relevant to the concept …”, or perhaps, “A limitation of this study appears to be…”.