Responsible research and writing habits

Central to any academic writing project is crediting (or citing) someone else' words or ideas. The following sites will help you understand academic writing expectations.

What is academic integrity?

Academic integrity is truthful and responsible representation of yourself and your work by taking credit only for your own ideas and creations and giving credit to the work and ideas of other people. It involves providing attribution (citations and acknowledgments) whenever you include the intellectual property of others—and even your own if it is from a previous project or assignment. Academic integrity also means generating and using accurate data.

Why does academic integrity matter?

Responsible and ethical use of information is foundational to a successful teaching, learning, and research community. Not only does it promote an environment of trust and respect, it also facilitates intellectual conversations and inquiry. Citing your sources shows your expertise and assists others in their research by enabling them to find the original material. It is unfair and wrong to claim or imply that someone else’s work is your own.

What are the consequences of academic dishonesty and plagiarism?

Failure to uphold the values of academic integrity at the GSD can result in serious consequences, ranging from re-doing an assignment to expulsion from the program with a sanction on the student’s permanent record and transcript. Outside of academia, such infractions can result in lawsuits and damage to the perpetrator’s reputation and the reputation of their firm/organization. For more details see the Academic Integrity Policy at the GSD. 

How can I avoid plagiarism?

The GSD’s Academic Integrity Tutorial can help build proficiency in recognizing and practicing ways to avoid plagiarism.

Generative AI (Artificial Intelligence)

This fast-evolving technology is changing academia in ways we are still trying to understand, and both the GSD and Harvard more broadly are working to develop policies and procedures based on careful thought and exploration. At the moment, whether and how AI may be used in student work is left mostly to the discretion of individual instructors. There are some emerging guidelines, however, based on overarching values.

  • Always ask first if AI is allowed and specifically when and how.
  • Always check facts and sources generated by AI as these are not reliable.
  • Cite your use of AI to generate text or images. Citation practices for AI are described in Using Sources and AI.

Since policies are changing rapidly, we recommend checking the links below often for new developments, and this page will continue to update as we learn more.