Plagiarism and academic honesty

Intellectual honesty is essential for any academic enterprise.

Plagiarism, representing other people’s ideas as your own, undermines the integrity of this enterprise and therefore diminishes the value of a Bates education.  Unfortunately, with the internet and other modes of communication, plagiarism is also rampant in today’s society.  The Politics Department expects each student to read and understand the Bates College guidelines on plagiarism prior to turning in the first draft of your literature review.

The Bates College policy can be found at:

If you fail to cite another person’s work or do so inappropriately on several occasions out of sloppiness, your grade will suffer.  If you do so in a way that your advisor judges to be more systematic, such that you are essentially presenting a substantial portion of someone else’s work as your own regardless of your own intentions you will receive an F for the thesis. “Substantial” here means the equivalent of two paragraphs or one page of your work, whichever is smaller.

You are responsible for your own honesty.  If you turn something in that has been plagiarized, and your advisor reads it but does not notice the plagiarism until after you have turned your final copy, you will still be penalized.  Moreover,  if your advisor believes it possible that you plagiarized intentionally, the matter will be referred to Student Affairs and the Student Conduct Committee.   If they find you guilty, you will receive an F for the class, in addition to the punishment they decide.

Some cases of plagiarism are inadvertent due to sloppy note taking during the research process.  In order to avoid falling into that trap, we recommend you consult with your advisor and the Writing Workshop for strategies.

Citation Format:

You can use any accepted format for citing others’ work, provided it is used consistently throughout the thesis.  The department suggests the American Political Science Review standard, the Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA Style Manual.   Please consult with your advisor in making a choice.

The Bates College Statement on Academic Integrity:

Bates College is an academic community deeply engaged in inquiry and intellectual exchange and committed to core principles of academic freedom, academic integrity, and rigorous, creative thought. We recognize that intellectual and artistic exchange depend on a mutual respect for independent inquiry, reflection, and expression. Faculty, staff, and students alike are therefore dedicated to fostering an environment that upholds the highest standards of fairness, integrity, and respect in all their academic endeavors.

As contributors to an ongoing scholarly and creative conversation that depends upon thoughtful and fair acknowledgment and treatment of the inquiries, reflections, and expressions of others, each member of the Bates community is expected to use and represent the work of others fairly and honestly; to acknowledge the work of others fully and accurately through proper attribution and citation; and to produce their own work unless collaboration is allowed. Faculty and staff members are expected to meet these standards in all their work as described in the employee and faculty handbooks; students are subject to the policies and procedures described below.

In educating students in the values, dispositions, and responsibilities of independent thinkers and scholars, the Bates faculty recognizes that certain scholarly practices reflect complex tasks that require instruction and practice. Faculty are committed to teaching these critical practices.

Students in turn are responsible for learning these scholarly practices and demonstrating them in all their work; they are not only a means of showing learning but of developing genuine understanding, not only the mark of an independent scholar but the way to become one.

This policy statement outlines these principles and practices, roles and responsibilities. Potential consequences for students are described in Bates College Academic Integrity Procedures on the Bates website.