Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

A Student Guide

First-Year Writing Program Plagiarism Policy

  • The First-Year Writing Program at Montclair State University values students’ honest efforts in the classroom and as writers. Plagiarism is strongly discouraged and this class will educate you about what it is and how to avoid it. Should you choose to plagiarize—turning in written work as your own that you have copied from some other source, whether a website, print media, or even another student—your professor will submit your plagiarized paper and the source materials from which you have plagiarized to the Student Conduct office and you will face disciplinary action from the University. Your professor additionally reserves the right, when plagiarism is proven with documentation, to fail you for the semester. Should you be accused of plagiarism, you have the right to appeal the decision and also to request a meeting with your professor and the First-Year Writing program director, Dr. Jessica Restaino ( In an effort to avoid this serious offense, please visit the First-Year Writing Program website to learn more about plagiarism and how you can avoid it, and be certain to ask your professor about any aspects of the issue that you do not understand.

First-Year Writing Program Statement

  • Students at Montclair State University are expected to be honest in all of their academic work.  For faculty and staff at the university, cheating of any kind is an affront to the good work that all of us do.  When a person cheats by stealing the ideas or words from another student, a published writer, or even an unsigned web page, that person is showing disrespect for the author, the professor to whom the work is submitted, and ultimately to him or herself.  At the university, ideas and words are very valuable; to borrow them without acknowledgement is to steal from another person. 

It should be clear to every student that it is assumed and expected that work you hand in will always be your own, and that you will never copy sentences, phrases, paragraphs or whole essays from any other person's work, for that is plagiarism.  It is equally wrong to ask someone else—for money or not—to write parts or all of your paper for you.  If you are ever unclear about how to cite another person or author's ideas, see your professor or consult the staff in the Center for Writing Excellence or one of the reference librarians at Sprague Library. 


Below you will find several websites from other colleges and from a textbook publisher that are designed to aid students in understanding and developing the skills necessary to avoid plagiarism.  As well, students will find extensive discussion of plagiarism and appropriate citation of outside sources in the Handbook that all students are required to purchase for College Writing I.

Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing This site provides a useful discussion and these methods for citing sources, offered by the Purdue University Writing Lab. 

Avoiding Plagiarism  This site, authored by Sharon Williams of Hamilton College, offers examples of how to cite properly.  It also provides examples of improper quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing. 

How Not to Plagiarize This site from the University of Toronto includes answers to basic questions students are likely to have regarding plagiarism.

Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It In this site from Indiana University readers are offered explanations and examples of plagiarism and appropriate citation.

Plagiarism Self-Test An online self-test from the Colby, Bates and Bowdoin (CBB) archive that simulates a number of plagiarism dilemmas a student may encounter throughout a semester of writing. 


All faculty teaching Introduction to Writing, College Writing I and College Writing II respond promptly and seriously to any instances of plagiarism.  Students who are caught plagiarizing can expect automatic failure of the course and referral to the Dean of Students’ office for disciplinary sanctions. 

The University Definition and Policy on Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism

Documentation Styles

A good handbook available at the library or any bookstore—will give you thorough and complete information about documentation.  

  • The first step for documentation is to find out from your instructor what style is required: APA, MLA, Chicago, or another style.

  • The second step is to prepare your documentation as you gather your data; in other words, keep careful records relating to author, title, publication date, publisher, page numbers and any other information that your documentation style requires and keep these records with the notes that you take from each source.

Below are links to Sprague Library's guide to select documentation styles: