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Scholarly work in all disciplines is built on trust in the validity of work reported by others in the field. It is essential that all research at UMSL is conducted with the highest level of honesty and integrity. There are three basic forms of academic dishonesty.

  • Fabrication:  Making up data or results and reporting them as observations.

  • Falsification:  Changing data or results such that the original research is not accurately represented.

  • Plagiarism:  Appropriation of another person’s ideas, results, or words without appropriate citation.

These practices are simply unacceptable in the conduct of any undergraduate project. 

Your research mentor will rely on you to report your data and results accurately and honestly. To do anything less is an enormous breach of trust. 

The results of your research may well appear in presentations at professional meetings, in peer-reviewed journal publications, or in grant proposals to agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.  If research dishonesty is detected in any of these settings, it can have devastating consequences for the careers and reputations of both the student and the mentor.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use of the words and ideas of someone else without proper attribution, and it is one of the most serious forms of academic dishonesty. There are very specific rules for how you clearly distinguish your words from the work of others. You are strongly encouraged to read the two documents listed below, which cover this topic in detail.

Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices

Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and other questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing