Ethical Standards for Creative Writing

Writers have an ethical responsibility to readers. They must treat readers how they themselves want to be treated. This means providing an honest representation of facts, opinions, beliefs and research.

Readers assume authors are the originators of written works, unless stated otherwise. Writers should ensure their work is an accurate portrayal of the truth. Whether penning non-fiction or an academic paper, a writer is obligated to uphold the standards of good and ethical writing.

Ethical Concerns in Writing 

One important ethical concern is plagiarism, the act of stealing and passing off the ideas or words of another as one’s own. This is not simply about copying words, but also ideas. The expression of ideas is considered intellectual property and is protected by copyright laws.

Here are some steps that can be taken to avoid plagiarism.

  • Create a strategy. Planning is an important step to take to prevent plagiarism. If you are going to use sources in your paper, have a plan on how they will be included and differentiate your ideas from those of your sources.
  • Take effective notes. Adequate note taking can go a long way in that much of your information is organized before you begin writing. Organize citations and quotes in a way that is detailed and allows you to distinguish the different sources.
  • Evaluate sources. Are the sources you are considering worth citing? Start to analyze and evaluate sources by making sure you know who the author(s) are, where they got their information from and when they wrote it. From there, you can evaluate the credibility and the accuracy of their information.
  • Clarify who said what. Make sure you give credit to the right person, whether it is your own idea or that of someone else.
  • Know how to properly paraphrase. To paraphrase means to express the meaning of someone else’s written or spoken words using different words in order to achieve greater clarity. It is a way to highlight the ideas you are presenting in your work by offering supportive sources. Proper paraphrasing takes the ideas from the original source and fits them carefully into your writing by emphasizing the relevant points. Paraphrased passages still require citations because the ideas are from another source.

Put simply, ethical writers acknowledge the contributions of others and the sources of information.

Strengthening your skills to become a proficient writer

Language can address the real experiences of people. The power of the written word can be witnessed in the emotional and instinctive responses of its readers.

This is why it is important to adhere to the standards of good conduct. By upholding these standards, you can become a better writer and champion for honest and ethical writing.

As a Communication major or an English major at Carlow University, you can develop as a responsible and skilled writer with integrity. Students in the Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Bachelor of Arts in English degree programs become better writers through the application of ethical standards and principles in writing. This is essential for success as a writer and person.

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