Skip to Main Content

BIOL 2120: Using Literature in Lab Reports

Ethical Use of Information

Ethical Use of Information

  • Would you take someone's cell phone if they left their locker unlocked?
  • Would you take home a pair of snowboarding goggles if they were left on the lunch table?

We have to decide what is right or wrong everyday. Using information ethically is no different than the other types of ethical decisions that we make.

Consider the above questions in terms of information.

  • Would you copy and paste information from the Internet into your homework assignment without stating that the work is not your own?
  • If your roommate asked to copy your essay, would you let her?

Using someone's ideas or work without giving them proper attribution is not an ethical use of information. Acting with academic integrity is extremely important, not only from an ethical standpoint, but also because there are consequences for violating the university's policies. According to the DU Honor Code,

Academic Misconduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • Plagiarism, including any representation of another’s work or ideas as one’s own in academic and educational submissions;
  • Cheating, including any actual or attempted use of resources not authorized by the instructor(s) for academic submissions, and/or any actual or attempted effort to assist another student in cheating;
  • Double submission, including any submission of an academic work for more than one course without expressed permission;
  • Fabrication, including any falsification or creation of data, research or resources to support academic submissions.

University of Denver Office of Student Conduct. (2012). Honor Yourself Honor the Code: University of Denver Honor Code. p. 5. Retrieved from

Plagiarism or Not?

Click on the below link and complete the scenarios to check your understanding of the issues surrounding plagiarism and the ethical use of information:

Plagiarism or Not? Scenarios for Evaluation