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Review of Charles Lipson's 'Doing Honest Work in College'

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Doing honest work in college plays a very important role in a student’s life and it is what the academic integrity is built upon. The book ‘Doing Honest Work in College: How to Prepare Citations, Avoid Plagiarism, and Achieve Real Academic Success’, by Charles Lipson focuses on Academic honesty and how students can make sure that they maintain it all times. Academic honesty is applied to all the work we do and submit in the college, violation of which could be done in many forms such as plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, unauthorized collaboration etc. Sometimes the violations can be unintentional due to lack of proper knowledge and sometimes they can be deliberate. This book helps the students in efficiently understanding the principles of academic honesty and ways to uphold it.

In this book Charles Lipson discusses the three basic principles of academic honesty that need to be followed in all classes, papers, reports etc. The most beneficial thing about this book is that the writer has pointed out most of the mistakes that a student could make and how to avoid them by using simple tips such as using “Q” for quotation marks to differentiate between our own text and the copied text and ideas. Every aspect of the college work from classes to exams is explained in detail along with how to do it right in a very simplest manner. The importance proper citations and references have been clearly explained along with how to cite properly in different styles.

Reading this book helped me understand the difference between adding in-text citations wherever necessary and adding references, how lack of proper citations might mislead the readers even though the references are mentioned at the end of the work. I have learned the importance of citations and how to cite properly using APA style for different sources of information like books, articles, online research etc. It helped me identify the mistake that I have made in my previous paper i.e. failing to cite the work of others that I have used properly along with several other ways of academic dishonesty that might be committed by the students out of ignorance and how to avoid them.

The book emphasizes on honest work which is vital not only in college but also in day to day life. Academic integrity is a step by step process which begins from the classroom and slowly gets inculcated into everyday life. This book helps readers understand where to start and how to do it. The author helped me understand how to uphold the principles of academic integrity which is useful not only in the college but also in my future outside the college.

Academic integrity is the ethical code or honor code that is followed by the university to avoid dishonest activities such as cheating, plagiarism etc in order to maintain academic standards. It is not limited to students but is applied across the university for everyone including professors and staff. It helps in improving the trust and honesty of the students by properly crediting the sources wherever due. It facilitates in building honest practices, improving the knowledge and efficiency of the students towards making contributions to the community.

With the increasing technology, internet has become an integral source of information. It is a fastest source that provides precise results with targeted searches. But at the same time it also increases the scope for cheating and plagiarism. In this book the author has outlined some important points that need to be kept in mind while using internet for doing our research along with some simple tips that could help us in avoiding cheating or plagiarism unintentionally.

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The first thing to remember is that the quality of information on internet varies widely, so it is important to cross-check and make sure that the information is reliable. Second thing is that internet can give us exact results with targeted searches but then we might miss information that is very important or related to the topic. Third, it is very easy to drag and drop information from internet while taking notes but later on we might not be able to differentiate between what is from internet and what is our original work which might lead to plagiarism. Also when we copy and paste information into our work repeatedly we might forget to properly cite them, once again leading to plagiarism.

In order to handle these problems the author has mentioned a few tips:

  • Screen the sources of information and make sure whether it is reliable or not.
  • Search for additional text and information based on the scope of our research.
  • Don’t copy and paste too much information from the web into the notes and make sure that the information copied is highlighted or differentiated from our original work in order to cite it properly. The tip that the author have mentioned is to put letter Q at the beginning and end of any copied information in order to differentiate it from the own work.

It is very important to make sure that we have figured out our priorities while doing any work, whether it’s in or outside the college. At the same time priorities also change according to the situation. For example as a freshman, a student’s first priority would be academics, whereas in the final year the first priority would be networking and getting a job. So, I do not have a pre-determined list of priorities but whatever my priority is, I always believe that it is necessary to make sure that I put in my best efforts and be honest at all times. Being a college student academics play a vital role and it is always one of my top most priorities. But then the most important thing for me than academics is learning.

I do believe that the actions and choices that we make in college affect our future. It begins with choosing right college, right major, right courses etc., which will reflect in our everyday life at college. Following proper rules and honor codes in college will help in inculcating honest practices and appropriate behavior in our day to day life which yields results even after college. Everything from the courses we choose to the actions we take when faced with a problem teaches us something and shapes who we are and what we want to be.

One thing that I have been taught by my parents since childhood is that discipline is more important than education. Studying can get us a degree but only when combined with discipline and proper behavior we can put it to good use. After this incident I have realized that there is a lot for me to learn about the American education system, which varies widely in comparison to my previous education system. So, I have been taking time out of my schedule to learn about it and align my behavior and thoughts according it. Because every system has different perspectives and it is important to understand those. Eventually in the end the goal of every education system is to teach, it’s just the way they do it is different.

Time management plays an important role in every student’s life. Beginning with the classes to assignments and other activities, sometimes managing time efficiently can be most challenging thing which might also make students in distressing situations to engage in some dishonest activities like cheating and plagiarism to secure marks. To mange my time better I’m plan ahead and start working on the assignments and projects from the first day rather than rushing on the deadline. Preparing a schedule and making notes on what need to be done to avoid forgetting things. Assign time for each work prior, rather than figuring out which one to do first at the end.

Finally yes, I would definitely recommend making the students read this book for similar violations as it will give insights on what are citations and how to cite properly. But also at the same time I feel there is more to academic integrity other than plagiarism and cheating. This book helps in learning citations but it is also necessary for students to understand the system rather than the chunks of it, so they could know what is expected of them much more precisely.

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Review of Charles Lipson’s ‘Doing Honest Work in College’. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from
“Review of Charles Lipson’s ‘Doing Honest Work in College’.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022,
Review of Charles Lipson’s ‘Doing Honest Work in College’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 Nov. 2022].
Review of Charles Lipson’s ‘Doing Honest Work in College’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 01 [cited 2022 Nov 27]. Available from:
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