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Academic Integrity

In this section, you will learn about:

  • What resources are available to you to avoid plagiarism.
  • How to properly conduct research.
  • What is expected of you in the classroom.

Important Contacts:

  • Libraries – locations will vary
  • Research Guides
  • Center for Career Development – Student Union Level 2 (865-974-5435)

Academic Dishonesty


What is plagiarism?

  • Presenting someone else’s ideas as if they were your own
  • Quoting or paraphrasing someone else’s ideas without giving them credit
  • Theft of someone else’s work or ideas (cheating or buying a paper online)

How do I avoid plagiarism? 

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to learn how to use other ideas to strengthen or contrast your own arguments. This skill will help you in college, in the workplace, and throughout your life!

In writing papers, delivering speeches, creating films or making presentations, you will use the ideas and quotes of others. When using someone else’s ideas or words, it is NECESSARY to acknowledge the work of others and to distinguish it from your own. This is called citing sources. It is sometimes difficult to know when to cite an idea.

Cite: Don’t Cite:
Quotations (exact words of another person) Common information of a discipline
Paraphrasing (a rewriting or summarizing of another person’s idea or quote) Material discussed in class
Ideas that are not common knowledge (string theory) Ideas that are common knowledge (E=MC2)

What is a citation style?

A citation style is a format for citing quotes and ideas. These vary by discipline. The citation style used for English and other classes at UT is called MLA or Modern Language Association. This citation style requires citations in-text and in a Works Cited page.

How To Cite Your Sources Using MLA

Let’s suppose you are writing a paper that discusses solutions to food shortages caused by global warming. Your library research turns up a scientific article that discusses insects as sustainable food sources. You have two options for using this information in your paper: direct quoting or paraphrasing.

Direct Quote When using another person’s exact words, use quotation marks and provide a citation to the original work.

Example Sentence In a report from the Center for Pollution Control and Environmental Engineering, researchers state, “It is not wise to ignore the potential of insects as human food any longer” (Premalatha 4357).
  • Quotation Marks: Make it clear to the reader which words/ideas are yours and which ones belong to someone else.
  • Citation: When using MLA Style, use the author’s last name and the page number of the quote.

Paraphrase When paraphrasing another person’s words or ideas, restate the original language in your own words and provide a citation to the original work.

Example Sentence Researchers at India’s Center for Pollution Control and Environmental Engineering believe that we should consider insects as a potential food source (Premalatha 4357).
  • Use your own words. Restate the language and change the sentence structure.
  • Citation: When using MLA Style, use the author’s last name and the page number of the quote.

Common Knowledge When knowledge is commonly known and not in dispute, it does not need to be cited.

Example Sentence #1Insects are eaten in some parts of the world. This is common knowledge and is not in dispute.
Example Sentence #2“Termites, with large colonies easily found in arid regions of Africa and Australia, are an available food that has been popular with human societies in those regions” (Encyclopedia Smithsonian). The level of specificity in this statement suggests that it is not common knowledge.

Note: It is important to cite images and media in the same way. You must cite tables, charts, images, sounds, film, and data in your papers and projects.


Need help?

AskUsNow – The UT Libraries Click “Chat Now!”

Writing Center

Academic Rigor


What do your teachers expect?

The University of Tennessee Knoxville requires students to pledge responsibility for their own personal integrity in their academic careers at UT. Simply put, students are responsible for knowing and carrying out instructor and University expectations regarding academic honesty. That includes cheating and plagiarizing. Plagiarism is a serious offense at the University of Tennessee and students committing plagiarism may face disciplinary action.

UT’s Honor Statement

An essential feature of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a commitment to maintaining an atmosphere of intellectual integrity and academic honesty. As a student of the university, I pledge that I will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity.

How To Keep UT’s Honor Statement

Although academic honesty is a serious matter, there are resources and people to help you. The point is for you to learn how to be the best writer that you can be and citing sources is part of that. Learning how to communicate your own ideas while citing those of others is your first step to becoming a scholar at the University of Tennessee.

Know Instructor Expectations:

  • Do cite the ideas, words, and creations of others when quoting or summarizing information.
  • Do cite images and media sources such as tables, graphs, pictures, film clips, and more.
  • Do not collaborate on a graded assignment without the instructor’s approval.
  • Do not turn in work created by or purchased from a professional service

When in doubt:

Resources & Help

UTK’s Honor Statement

Hilltopics Student Handbook

AskUsNow – The UT Libraries, Click “Chat Now!”

Writing Center

Library and Research Skills


Knowing how to search for and evaluate information can help you:

  • Find trustworthy information
  • Support your argument or thesis statement
  • Locate research on your topic
  • Complete your assignments

This can help you make better decisions and become a better researcher and writer. The UT Libraries provides access to books, articles, film, data, and many more resources that are not available on the web. These resources are available to support your learning and research at the University of Tennessee.

How To: The Process of Conducting Research for a Paper or Project

Step 1: Refine your topic.

Researching a topic is an interactive process. You may need to narrow and broaden your topic as you go along. Let’s consider the topic of eating insects as food sources. Searching for the phrase eating insects as food sources will return cookbooks, travel guides, articles on sustainable agriculture and more.  It is up to you to look at the available information and to decide which direction to take. Let’s narrow our topic to insects as sustainable food sources.

Step 2: Determine the research required to support your topic.

Your instructors may ask you to use any or all of the following types of information sources. All resources must be cited.

Peer-reviewed or Scholarly Articles – These are articles written in scholarly journals by experts at universities and research institutes. The term peer-reviewed indicates that an article is examined and accepted by experts before it is published. An example of a peer-reviewed journal is The Journal of Cell Biology. Peer-reviewed articles are found in scholarly databases available on the Library’s website. 

Finding Articles Tutorial

Popular or News Articles – Popular and news articles are primarily found in magazines and newspapers. The information is generally still credible, but it usually represents the opinion of the writer or publication. If you use popular material in your papers or projects, remember to consider that it is written from a particular point of view. Examples of popular sources include: The New York Times and The Economist. Popular articles are found in both Library databases and on the internet.

Primary Sources – Primary sources are original documents or artifacts created during the time being studied.  Examples include: The Diary of Anne Frank, The Declaration of Independence, The Mona Lisa, The Pavlov’s Dogs Experiment

Secondary Sources – Secondary sources are interpretations of primary sources.  Examples include: a book discussing the historical context of Anne Frank’s Diary, an article about an interpretation of the Mona Lisa, a scholarly article discussing the scientific merits of Pavlov’s experiment.

Web resources – Web resources include articles, blog entries, images, sound, video, and more. It is very important to evaluate web resources when using them in a paper or project. When evaluating resources, consider:  About Ussections, the date associated with the information, whether the page is .com, .gov, .edu, etc. 

Evaluating Web Resources Tutorial

Books – You know a book when you see one, but at the UT Libraries, you will see over three million. When searching for books, use the UT Libraries search box.  There, you will find call numbers for print books and links to e-books. Click the View Map link for help locating books on floors 3-6 of Hodges Library. 

Finding Books Tutorial

Step 3: Organize your sources and cite your sources as you go. 

It will save time if you organize your research before writing your paper. It is helpful to prepare a citation for each of your sources ahead of time and to make note of any quotes you wish to use under each citation. That way, you will have the information you need for adding quotes and in-text citations as you write.  You will also be off to a great start in creating your Works Cited page. Take a look at Purdue’s MLA Style Guide for an example of in-text citations and a Works Cited page.

Resources & Help

AskUsNow Click on “Chat Now!”

Research Guides

Finding Books

Finding Articles

Evaluating Websites