CIVILITY AND HONESTY (from WR121 syllabus)

 

CIVILITY

The goal of Oregon State University is to provide students with the knowledge, skill and wisdom they need to contribute to society. Our rules are formulated to guarantee each student's freedom to learn and to protect the fundamental rights of others. People must treat each other with dignity and respect in order for scholarship to thrive. Behaviors that are disruptive to learning will not be tolerated, and will be referred to the Student Conduct Program for disciplinary action. Behaviors that create a hostile, offensive or intimidating environment based on gender, race, ethnicity, color, religion, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation will be referred to the Affirmative Action Office.

HONESTY

Students are expected to be honest and ethical in their academic work. Academic dishonesty is defined as an intentional act of deception in one of the following areas:

  • cheating- use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information or study aids
  • fabrication- falsification or invention of any information
  • assisting- helping another commit an act of academic dishonesty
  • tampering- altering or interfering with evaluation instruments and documents
  • plagiarism- representing the words or ideas of another person as one's own
  • Plagiarism: An Example of Academic Dishonesty

    If you use another person's words or ideas, you must give that person credit as the source. For example, assume you want to use the material from the following paragraph in writing a paper about English composition textbooks.

    Since the book was written to be read, not merely consulted or assigned, I have attempted to make it readable for students to whom composition is not a feature attraction in the curriculum, but only a selected short subject. Although I disagree with those who believe that techniques can be intelligently discussed without technical terms, I have tried to avoid the deadliest sin of the textbook style: the proliferation of trade jargon. I have also tried to steer a treacherous middle course between the extremes of textbook tone: solemn omniscience and playful condescension. And I have not cluttered up the page with so many typographical "study aids" that there is no room for reading.

    (William H. Watt, An American Rhetoric, New York, 1964, 5)

    Acceptable Borrowing: Direct Quotation

    In An American Rhetoric, Watt says, "Although I disagree with those who believe that techniques can be intelligently discussed without technical terms, I have tried to avoid the deadliest sin of the textbook style: the proliferation of trade jargon" (5).

    According to the Modern Language Association Style guide for writing English papers, if the author's name had not been mentioned in the paragraph, the citation would have been: (Watt 5) indicating that the material can be found on page 5 of Watt's work. Material borrowed in any form should be identified in a "List of Works Cited." The following would be a proper listing for some fields (consult the instructor for the form of citation proper to your field):

    Watt, William. An American Rhetoric. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1964.

    Acceptable Borrowing: Paraphrase With Some Quotation

    In his Preface to An American Rhetoric, Watt, although admitting that some terms are necessary in a discussion of writing, says that he has "tried to avoid the deadliest sin of the textbook style: the proliferation of trade jargon" (5).

    The source is cited, and that portion which is borrowed word for word is placed in quotes.

    Acceptable Borrowing: Paraphrase

    In his Preface, Watt indicates that he has tried to eliminate three of the most serious weaknesses in many composition texts: (a) an uninteresting and unreadable discussion; (b) an overabundance of terminology or a complete lack of it; (c) a vacillating attitude about the intelligence of the student (5).

    The paraphrase is acceptable and needs only a citation. The paraphrase has not borrowed the wording, sentence structure, or general organization of the source, but it has borrowed the specific ideas. Contrast it with the unacceptable "paraphrase" which follows.

    Unacceptable Paraphrase

    Watt, although he does not agree with writers who hold that techniques can be argued intelligently without certain terms, has tried to avoid the deadly sin of most book styles: the propagation of trade jargon. He says he has also sought a middle passage between the extremes of textbook tone: omniscient solemnity, and condescending playfulness (5).

    This is an unacceptable paraphrase despite the citation at the end. It does not borrow word for word perhaps, but it borrows word after word as it skips through the sentence substituting here and there. Furthermore, it borrows basic sentence structure and general organization.

    Unacceptable Borrowing: Plagiarism

    I do not agree with writers who hold that techniques can be argued intelligently without certain terms; however, I object to the propagation of trade jargon. I prefer the middle course between the extremes of textbook tone: omniscient solemnity and condescending playfulness.

    This is an obvious attempt on the borrower's part to claim another's ideas. Besides hiding the source of the ideas, the borrower has used another's sentence structure and general organization. Even if the borrower really holds these ideas, such use of another person's work is plagiarism.

    For more information about academic integrity or the Student Conduct Regulations, you may contact Bill Oye, the Coordinator of the Student Conduct Program at 737-3658 or visit their web site at http://www.orst.edu/admin/stucon/