Citing your sources properly in a paper is not just a technical matter. It is a matter of integrity. Being honest about your sources, and about where you discovered the information and ideas that you include in your paper, is essential in any academic environment—and especially at a Christian college. Failing to do this is dishonest, and it can result in plagiarism. Plagiarism has grave consequences, ranging from failing a paper or failing a course to suspension from college.
The guidelines in this section explain:
- Why citation matters so much
- What plagiarism is and how it is punished at Calvin
- Steps to writing with integrity
- Plagiarism tutorials
The advice given here is valid no matter what discipline you work in. While the different forms of citation can vary across disciplines, the technical questions about how to cite sources (e.g. whether to use footnotes or in-text parenthesis, or how to format a bibliography) are much less important than the fundamental principle that you must always give credit to your sources. Professors will not penalize you seriously for making mistakes in formatting your footnotes of bibliography, but they will find it hard to forgive you for plagiarism, and they are required to penalize you for it and to report it to Student Life. Plagiarism is a serious ethical offense. Intentional plagiarism is a sin. It erodes the trust between teachers and students that is essential to the health of the whole academic community.