Academic integrity violation is an unethical behavior of claiming the work of others as your own or presenting work that is merely a list of what others have said on the topic without critical or intellectual work of your own. It is the failure to accurately attribute ideas, direct and indirect quotes, images, or other information you use in your work according to the school code of conduct.
Academic integrity violation causes penalties for misconduct. These Penalties differ between universities but can include having to rewrite a piece of assessment, failing a course, or, in extreme cases, being excluded from your study program and the university.
Integrity is everything. Academic integrity is honest, respectful, and ethical behavior within the university environment. Academic integrity governs all that you do at university. Academic integrity is made visible by accurately attributing ideas, images, or other information you use in your work according to the school rules.
Academic integrity violations include plagiarism, contract and other forms of cheating, collusion, and fabricating information.
Academic Integrity Violation Examples
Plagiarism is one of the popular examples of academic integrity violations. It is either accidental or deliberate use of other people’s work without sufficient attribution. In effect, you are claiming someone else’s work as your own. Accidental plagiarism can be avoided by using effective notetaking practices. Notetaking will ensure you have the details needed to accurately report and attribute the resources you use.
Self-plagiarism is an academic integrity violation example. It is the re-use of your own work in a subsequent assignment. At first glance, this may appear to be an efficient use of your time and effort. However, self-plagiarism does not demonstrate that you have learned anything new. Likewise, self-plagiarism does not show that you have achieved the expected outcomes of your course. You can use the same sources of information, but to avoid self-plagiarism you will need to write a new assignment to address the new topic, question or perspective.
Collusion is another academic integrity violation example. It occurs when a student works with others – students, friends, paid tutors, and family members – and then submits that shared work as if it is their own original work. Collusion may be evident when:
- many students in a course submit assignments sharing similar content, references, and structure
- the quality of work submitted by a student varies more than what may be expected due to conditions such as “exam nerves”
- work is submitted with very few citations
Working with others and discussing the content of a course or the requirements of an assignment can be productive and enjoyable. However, you may like to avoid sharing your drafts without a clear expectation of what you want to achieve from the sharing.
For example, you may like to ask for feedback on the clarity of your work and specify that any reader must not change your draft. You may also decide to only share your drafts with the academic and professional staff employed by your university to help people with their academic skills: learning advisors, learning support, and academic advisors, for example.
Contract cheating is another academic integrity violation example. It occurs when a student pays someone else to complete their assessment – to sit their exam, or to write their essay. Clearly, this activity undermines the value of your qualification. If students cheat their way to graduation, and they cannot perform the skills or demonstrate the attributes required by their employers and colleagues, the qualification will soon be judged to be worthless.
Another problem with contract cheating is that you may become vulnerable to being blackmailed by the same criminals who provided the essay. These criminals have been known to contact the students they helped to cheat and threaten to expose them to the university or to their employer unless they make additional payments.
If you find yourself considering cheating due to time pressure, there are other options you can consider that demonstrate academic integrity. You may ask if an extension is available, or consider if a small penalty applied for late submission is acceptable. Communicate with your lecturer as early as possible to discuss your options.
Whether you perform an experiment in a lab, collect data from another setting, or find data in a scholarly or another source, it is essential to report this data clearly and accurately. Else, it is an academic integrity violation. Do not fabricate data to show a fake finding or outcome. In the case of unexpected lab results, this may provide an exciting opportunity to discuss the limitations of an experiment or how unanticipated conditions may have skewed the results.
The discussion section of an assignment can benefit from the skillful handling of something that may have first appeared to be a disaster. In the case of not finding sufficient data from a scholarly source, the chapter Working with Information will help you to find relevant data. There are many risks to academic integrity, but all of these risks can be mitigated by being mindful when