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This is a brief introduction to research in the Library, how to decide on a research topic, how to find relevant materials and how to cite them.

SMC Honor Council

The Honor Council promotes academic integrity at SMC and oversees the Honor Code, ensuring students' right to due process. It is made up of students, faculty, staff, and administrators dedicated to upholding the Honor Code Principles: Honesty; Integrity; Social Responsibility; Respect and Civility.  For further information please visit the website.


What is Plagiarism?    "You Quote It, You Note It" an entertaining tutorial on plagiarism from Acadia University.

Let's start with a definition.

According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, plagiarism means “to steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one’s own; use a created production without crediting the source; to commit literary theft; present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.”

In short, using someone else’s works without giving them credit is, in effect, stealing.  In college, plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and can result in severe consequences, including expulsion from the college.

Does this mean you cannot use the information you found during the research process?  No!  It simply means that you have to give credit to the person whose idea it was, or who wrote the information.  For more information on plagiarism, see:

SMC Honor Code

Santa Monica College became the first California Community College to formally adopt an Honor Code. Faculty, students, and administrators are committed to uphold an environment conducive to learning characterized by academic integrity.


  1. Honor Code Mission Statement
    Santa Monica College is committed to the academic, social, and ethical development of our students. We strive to create a learning environment that is challenging and supportive of the community at-large. We are committed to upholding fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, civility, and community. In recognition of this effort we hereby establish this Honor Code and Honor Council.
  2. Honor Code Principles
    General principles guiding the Honor Code and Honor Council include the following:
    1. Honesty: means fairness and straightforwardness of conduct; implies a refusal to lie, steal, or deceive in any way.
    2. Integrity: implies that one is true to a trust; one adheres to a code of moral values.
    3. Social Responsibility: is demonstrated by adherence to policies of the institution, departments, labs, libraries and individual classes.
    4. Respect and Civility: implies that one will conduct oneself in a courteous and respectful manner in our communications and actions toward members of the campus community.
  3. Student Honor Statement
    As testament to their commitment and readiness to join the Santa Monica College academic community, all students are expected to uphold the Honor Code. At the time of admission students will certify the following statement:

In the pursuit of the high ideals and rigorous standards of academic life, I commit myself to respect and uphold the Santa Monica College Honor Code, Code of Academic Conduct, and Student Conduct Code. I will conduct myself honorably as a responsible member of the SMC community in all endeavors I pursue.

At the direction of a faculty member or testing officer, students may be requested to affirm or re-affirm their commitment to the Honor Code as they participate in any given examination, paper submission, or any other academic exercise.

Videos on Plagiarism

These videos on how to avoid plagiarism are useful to review and clarify issues surrounding plagiarism. The first series defines plagiarism and helps with issues such as paraphrasing, cutting and pasting, and phrase copying. The second series discusses when and what you should cite.  


What is plagiarism and what are some of its types?


How can I avoid plagiarizing?

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism has serious consequences and ignorance is no excuse.  Intentional plagiarism, such as deliberately copying someone else's work, turning in a paper copied from a website, or creating false citations may lead to a failing grade or even expulsion from SMC.  Unintentional plagiarism may result from not knowing how to write citations, making mistakes in research or note-taking, or not being careful when cutting and pasting... but it's still plagiarism!

Guidelines for Avoiding Plagiarism:

1. Use your own words and ideas. This also helps you order your thoughts, get your ideas across, and improve your writing.

2. Give credit when you use other people's work, whether you copy, adapt, or paraphrase. Put exact quotes in quotation marks and cite the source.  Even if you don't directly quote it, if the work helps you understand your topic, write a citation for it!

3. Don't just make small changes and pretend it's your own work.  If it's essentially the same work, give credit... write a citation for it.

4. "Common knowledge” or "everybody knows" must really BE common knowledge.  Don't rely on hearsay, do the research... and cite it!

5.  Better safe than sorry.  When in doubt, CITE.

(Adapted from Avoid Plagiarism, by the UC Davis Office of Student Judicial Affairs)