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Good Work Habits: Study Tips and Resources

Penn will ask much of you. You may find yourself short of time with several assignments due the same day. Pressure can be intense.  No matter the level of stress under which you may find yourself, however, you must not commit acts of academic dishonesty.  The ramifications are serious.

You can avoid risking violations of academic integrity by doing the following:

1. Manage Your Time.
  • Plan ahead: find out when assignments are due and mark them on a calendar.

  • Do not try to do them at the last minute.

  • Set a certain amount of time apart each day for each course

  • Make a work schedule for yourself and try to keep to it.

  • If you cannot meet a deadline, talk to the instructor well in advance. Most Penn instructors are reasonable and would much rather have you ask for an extension than cut corners by being academically dishonest.

2. Take Careful Notes

Recently, a number of scholars have been accused of plagiarism. Several claimed bad note-taking practices as the cause of their mistakes: in taking information from another source, these writers had copied several sentences without putting them in quotation marks. When these researchers transferred their notes into their own text (they claimed), they believed the sentences were their own and presented them as such. The result was plagiarism.  The increasing availability of sources in electronic form and the ease with which text may be extracted from them can facilitate this practice.

Such inadvertent plagiarism can be avoided by taking careful notes.

  • Write down the page number, author and title of each source every time you make a note. Do this whether you paraphrase, quote or jot down useful facts and figures.

  • Put quotation marks around any exact wording you take from a source.

  • Paraphrase accurately (see Avoiding Plagiarism: Paraphrase).

  • Keep a running list of all sources: articles, books, online sources and their URLs.

3. Ask For Help

If you feel confused about the work in class or unclear about an assignment,

  • Talk to the professor or instructor. Make an appointment to see him or her outside of class. If you cannot schedule an appointment within the posted office hours, send the instructor an email requesting another time.

  • Use office hours. Seek help with assignments during office hours. Faculty at Penn often comment that students do not use this opportunity enough. Office hours provide the opportunity for additional contact with faculty, not only to seek their help but to get to know faculty better and to give them the chance to know you.

  • Talk to the Teaching Assistant (TA). TAs have office hours. Many make themselves available any time via email. Use this option to get help if you need it. TAs expect to be contacted; it is part of their job.

  • Seek the help of your academic advisor. If you have a problem you do not feel comfortable talking about with your professor, talk to your academic advisor.

4. Use the Penn Writing Center

Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, 3808 Walnut Street
Information Commons, Van Pelt Library

The Penn Writing Center offers expert writing help to both undergraduate and graduate students. You can make an appointment online for a session with a trained writing tutor who will help you with your writing assignments. Drop-in hours are also available.  Many tutors are knowledgeable about the particular needs of non-native English speakers, and all tutors are experienced with work Penn students are required to do.

There is no charge to use the Center. Visit the site and make an appointment on line.  Walk-in hours available.

http://writing.upenn.edu/critical/

5. Use the Weingarten Learning Resources Center

Stouffer Commons, Ste 300, 3702 Spruce Street

The Weingarten Learning Resources Center, made up of Office of Learning Resources and Student Disabilities Services, serves Penn's undergraduate, graduate, and professional students by assessing the strengths and needs of individual students, and by providing professional services and programs that promote the development of life-long skills.  It offers a variety of workshops as well as one-on-one consultations by appointment (215-573-9235) with a Learning Instructor to address concerns and build upon already strong study strategies. Walk-in hours are available during the academic year, Monday through Friday from noon to 3:00 p.m.

http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/lrc

6. Use the Office of Equity and Access Programs (EAP)

220 S. 40th Street, Suite 260

EAP has an extensive array of services and programs designed to help students including individual and group tutoring, mid-term and finals review sessions, assistance with research, mentorship, etc.  Call 215-898-0809.

http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/aap/


7. Use the Penn Libraries

The Penn Libraries offer both search tools and resources to help you with your research. Subject experts can also save you time by recommending the best places to start your search or answer questions at any stage of the research process. They can also point you to the proper manual or website when you have a question about a particular citation style.
Library web resources include:

Databases and E-Journals by Subject
http://www.library.upenn.edu/cgi-bin/res/sr.cgi

Franklin Library Catalog—Books and More
http://www.franklin.library.upenn.edu/

Library Subject Experts
http://gethelp.library.upenn.edu/contact/subjspec/

Don’t Know Where to Start?
http://gethelp.library.upenn.edu/

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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