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SSI1-141: Architectures of Power (Prof. Melchior): Scholarship as Conversation

To cite or not to cite?

Imagine the following scenarios as you work on writing a research paper. For each one, determine if a citation is needed.  Why or why not?

  • You analyze an image you retrieved from a Google search.
  • You provide a summary of a scholar's argument.
  • You borrow a segment of code.
  • You quote a phrase from a famous poem.
  • You paraphrase a passage from a philosopher's work.
  • You reference a piece of data from the 1960 U.S. Census.
  • You quote a tweet posted by an actor.
  • A commonly known fact. (Giant pandas have black and white fur.)

Scholarship is a Conversation

Academic discourse is about sharing and building upon ideas to create new knowledge.  Students, no less than faculty, participate in these ongoing conversations through their research, writing, and presentations.  When you participate in a scholarly conversation, you are engaging with other scholars across time and space by analyzing, synthesizing, or interpreting their work.  For this conversation to work, you need to attribute and cite the ideas of others in your own work.

What is attribution?

Attribution is a scholarly practice. You are engaging in academic discourse by keeping track of where you find information and properly citing your sources in your final product, whether it's a term paper, a senior thesis, a presentation, or a website.

What are citations?

Citations and bibliographies are the mechanisms through which attribution is accomplished.

How do citations contribute to the scholarly conversation?

  • Citations show how your work connects to the work of other scholars.
  • Citations help others find the sources you used in your analysis.
  • Citations help establish the credibility of your own research.
  • Citations are a way to acknowledge and honor the work of others who have made your own research possible.



Violations of Academic Integrity

Violations of academic integrity take many forms, including data falsification, lying to university officials, working with other students on projects or papers that are assigned as individual efforts, using the same paper for more than one course without permission, and plagiarism.

If you are not certain about whether your work constitutes a violation of academic integrity, your best course of action is to ask someone (professor, librarian, peer writing advisor, peer research advisor) before you turn in the work.