Academic Integrity


We are committed as an institution to ethical practice in teaching, scholarship, and service. We practice academic honesty in our oral and written scholarship. This means that we take care to appropriately acknowledge the contributions of others to our work. This policy defines and provides examples of plagiarism and outlines the disciplinary actions that follow verified acts of academic dishonesty.


Academic dishonesty is the deliberate attempt to misrepresent individual efforts, whether in writing, audio-visual representation, or oral presentation. Issues of plagiarism are specific examples of academic dishonesty. Basically, plagiarism is claiming someone else’s ideas, words, or information as your own without acknowledgement or citation. In minor cases, it can be the simple quotation of a sentence or two without quotation marks and without a citation, footnote, endnote or inclusive note to indicate the true author. In the most serious cases, plagiarism reproduces a significant fraction of an entire work written by someone else. Examples of plagiarism consist of removal of the true author(s) name(s) and substituting the plagiarist’s name. Mere reformatting of a text does not constitute “original” thought, but merely juxtaposing someone else’s work and text.

Why is Plagiarism a Moral Offense?

The basic Judeo-Christian ethical mandate begins with “thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15). Plagiarism is first and foremost an act of theft and fraud. To claim others’ work as your own without acknowledgement or citation is an example of academic fraud. Laws in civilized societies protect individual expression as the property of the original author. Plagiarism—either by verbatim copying or paraphrasing without citation—is infringement of most nations’ copyright laws. Repeating words or thoughts of other people and claiming that those precise words are original to you is an example of lying, misrepresentation and theft. Expectations within the academic community assume the production of new knowledge, discoveries of new facts, or new ways of looking at previously known facts. Analysis of data expressed in written form must be attributed to the source of the analysis.

Plagiarism is an especially challenging issue for international students and non-native speakers of English because definitions of acceptable and unacceptable behavior may vary from culture to culture. Culture “A” may say that copying another’s work is “acknowledging the superior mastery and expression of an expert,” while Culture “B” may say that the same behavior is “plagiarism.” This section describes the expectations of the U.S. academic community (and Biola University) regarding plagiarism.

What Must You Do To Avoid Plagiarism?

You must put others’ words in quotation marks and cite your source(s) and must also give citations when using others’ ideas, even if those ideas are paraphrased in your own words. The “work of someone else” includes: original ideas, strategies, outlines, research, art, graphics, computer programs, music, media examples, and other creative expression. Unpublished source materials such as class lectures or notes, handouts, speeches, other students’ or faculty’s papers, or material from a research service must also be cited to avoid plagiarism. Faculty members who use student assistants for research and writing are required to acknowledge the contribution of the student worker in the citation portion of a faculty member’s academic work.

All students and faculty should be educated in appropriate forms of paraphrase and citation. Cosmetic changes in another work without citation is still plagiarism. Avoid single word substitutions (e.g. “less” for “fewer”), reversing the order of a sentence, or merely using an ellipsis mark (e.g. . . .. ). You do not have to cite “common knowledge” facts. That Abraham Lincoln was the U.S. President during the Civil War is common knowledge; that Abraham Lincoln suffered from severe depression and migraine headaches may require a citation to support the claim.

Purchasing a previously written or provided research paper from an on-line computer service and submitting it as your own work is morally reprehensible and constitutes plagiarism. Any time you use information from any source, you must provide a citation of acknowledgement of the original source.

Internet web sites may be referenced for academic work, but cited by the date referenced. It is recommended that no more than one or two Internet web sites be cited in any particular research paper or project.

Examples of Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism

  • While taking exams, tests, quizzes, work done should be the sole effort of the individual student and should not contain any answers or responses that have been knowingly obtained from someone else.
  • Seeking to gain an advantage in an exam by obtaining advanced access to particular questions or advance copies of a professor’s exam.
  • Making a public presentation (e.g., speech, lecture, sermon) where elements of the presentation are misrepresented as original thought or work.
  • Having someone else write a paper for you and turning it in as your own work, or writing a paper for someone else.
  • Submitting as your own work papers, articles, book chapters, reports formerly written by other students, graduate students working with a faculty member or purchased from commercial services.
  • Using published materials word for word, without citation or quotation marks, as all or part of work submitted as your own. (This category also includes media examples covered in a separate paragraph.)
  • Close, deliberate paraphrase of another’s work, published or unpublished, without acknowledgement.
  • Turning in a paper previously written for another course (unless approved by the instructor), or one paper for two current courses, without permission of the instructors.
  • Deliberately using false citations to give the appearance of acknowledgement and research.
  • Referencing Internet web sites without citation or paraphrase.

Plagiarism in Media and Artistic Expression

It is Biola University’s policy that no copyrighted material may be included in media productions without the written permission of the copyright owner. This pertains to any media production produced by Biola, its students, staff or faculty. Copyrighted material is any material created by someone else that has not come into the public domain, whether or not there is a copyright notice. It is the responsibility of the one producing the media to ascertain if the material is in the public domain, or else to receive written permission.

Some copyright issues can be complex. A Beethoven sonata is in public domain because of its age, but a recording of it is copyrighted. The Grand Canyon is not copyrighted, but a picture of it is.

Performance or exhibition of copyrighted materials falls under different laws than inclusion of material in media productions. In general, copyrighted materials may be shown or viewed in classrooms without violating the law, under the provision of “Fair Use.” However, performance rights need to be cleared for material presented in public venues, especially those for which admission is charged.

Quotes or summarization of material from media productions when cited in scholarly papers should be cited in the same way any other material would be.

Detection of Plagiarism

Biola University authorizes individual professors and students to use any computer search mechanisms to validate and verify examples of plagiarism, prior to disciplinary action. Detection may also include verification of duplicated student work, current or previous.

Disciplinary Results From Plagiarism or Academic Dishonesty

Ignorance regarding appropriate paraphrase and citation is not an excuse warranting misrepresentation of original work. Individual professors may determine whether an isolated instance of plagiarism was due to faulty citation skills or misrepresentation with intent. In such cases, the professor may allow a student to correct the citation in a final assignment.

Dishonesty in a minor class assignment (e.g. test, short reaction paper, quiz, etc.) will result in a score of zero for the assignment, or possibly a failing grade for the entire course. Dishonesty or plagiarism of a major assignment (e.g. examination, prominent writing submission, term paper, term project, etc.) will result in immediate grade of “F” for the course and will be referred to the Office of Student Development. Individual departments or programs within the university may hold additional requirements for academic dishonesty (e.g., Torrey Honors Institute or a graduate program policy of dismissal from the program).

If a faculty member discovers evidence of plagiarism or academic dishonesty, the instructor should confront the student with the seriousness of the charge and report the infraction to the department or program chair. The disciplinary action by the faculty member should follow the above guidelines. In addition, the faculty member shall provide an incident report to the Dean of Academic Records. More than one case of academic dishonesty will typically result in dismissal from the university. For graduate programs, the program director will work with the School Dean to address any issues of academic dishonesty.

In the case of a student or faculty member denying commitment of academic dishonesty, but not to the satisfaction of the professor or dean, please refer to the academic appeal process.

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