University of Pennsylvania



Code of Academic Integrity
Violations of Academic Integrity: What are the Consequences?
Doing Original Work at Penn
Plagiarism-what is it?
Citing Sources
Common Knowledge
Using the Internet
Evaluating Internet Information
Citing Electronic Sources
To Quote or Paraphrase?
Writing Computer Code
Good Work Habits
Study Tips and Resources
Style Guides
Other Links
Weingarten Learning Resources Center
Research Basics
Office of Student Conduct
University Honor Council
Tutoring Center
Writing Center
arrow Penn Library

  Penn Home Penn A-Z Directories Calendar Maps


Doing Original Work at
the University of Pennsylvania

During your academic life at Penn, you will be asked to do assignments that require research and experimentation. You will also be asked to solve science and math problems that require original thinking. In some classes, you will be required to write papers for which you will need to do research in books, journals, electronic media and other sources.

One of the challenges of good scholarship is to take what has already been done, said or argued and incorporate it into your work in an original way. To some students, this task may seem unnecessarily redundant: a student writing a paper on the benefits of stem cell research may ask, “If the positive aspects of this research have already been argued, why do I need to do it again?” The answer is that

Your way of presenting the information and arguing it will be different from that of others and is therefore valuable; as more recent information on your subject becomes available, you have the opportunity to bring this information into your report or argument, adding new dimensions to the discussion.

Adapted from:
Avoiding Plagiarism.
Purdue University OWL Online Writing Lab.
Retrieved May 31, 2005 from

Sometimes the goals of academic writing may seem contradictory.

On the one hand, we ask you to...

Find what is written on a topic and report it, demonstrating you have done your research,


write about the topic in an original way.

Bring in opinions of experts and authorities,


do more than simply report them; comment on these opinions, add to them, agree or disagree with them.

Notice articulate phrasing and learn from it, especially if you are trying to enhance your capability in English,


use your own words and/or quote directly or paraphrase accurately when you incorporate this into a paper.

Academic writing is a challenge. It demands that you build on work done by others but create something original from it. The foundation of good academic work – in research and in writing – is honesty. By acknowledging where you have used the ideas, work or words of others, you maintain your academic integrity and uphold the standards of the University and of the discipline in which you work.

  Office of the President Home Page Penn A-Z Directories Calendar Maps

This guide has been adapted from one produced at MIT entitled Academic Integrity at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:  A Handbook for Students.  We are grateful for their permission to use and revise the work for students at the University of Pennsylvania.

Written by Patricia Brennecke, Lecturer in English Language Studies
Edited by Professor Margery Resnick, Chair of the Committee on Discipline, and Joanne Straggas, Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education.  Prepared with the support of Professor Robert P. Redwine, Dean for Undergraduate Education at MIT.

Adapted in Fall 2006 for use by graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania and published as the Handbook for Students, Ethics and Original Research by Professor Barbara Fuchs, Romance Languages, Dr. James B. Lok, Professor of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Linda Meiberg, graduate student and Karen Lawrence, Assistant Director of Education.

This edition edited, amended and produced by:

The University Honor Council and the
Office of Student Conduct
University of Pennsylvania
Fall 2008