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Ethics of Research (Integrity of Researchers)

In this section

  • Research Integrity
  • Plagiarism
    • Academic Misconduct and Academic Integrity
    • Academic Misconduct vs. Poor Academic Practice
  • Training
  • University-wide resources on plagiarism
  • Other Forms of Cheating
  • Further Reading

Research Integrity

‘Research integrity’ refers to high quality and robust practice across the full research process ie the planning and conduct of research, the recording and reporting of results, and the dissemination, application and exploitation of findings.

The University expects the highest standards in the conduct of all research undertaken in its name and on its premises using its facilities. This includes research undertaken by staff, students, visiting or emeritus staff, associates, honorary or clinical contract holders, contractors and consultants. In this, the University recognises its obligations to the wider research community, to the funders of research and to society as a whole to uphold the integrity of academic research, and to comply with the UUK Concordat to support research integrity (2019)Link opens in a new window.

Key University policies

The Research Code of Practice provides guiding principles and standards of good practice in research across all subject disciplines and fields of study in the University.

The Code of Practice for the Investigation of Research Misconduct sets out a definition of research misconduct and the procedure for reporting and dealing with allegations.

University Statement on the Ethical Conduct of Research sets out the University's commitment to advancing and safeguarding the highest academic and ethical standards in all its research activities.

In order to support the community’s understanding of the principles and practices that protect the integrity of research, the University provides free-at-the-point-of-use access to a dedicated online Research Integrity Training Programme - Epigeum, accessed below:

Online Research Integrity Training Programme, EpigeumLink opens in a new window

The University has mandated the completion of Research Integrity training for all staff and students delivering research and has recently approved a Research Integrity training policy: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/ris/research_integrity/trainingandmentoring/ritrainingpolicy/

Further useful links can be found on the university pages at Research Integrity (warwick.ac.uk).

Plagiarism

The University of Warwick defines plagiarism as 'presenting someone else's work or ideas as the student's own' (Regulation 11 - see the bottom of this page for links to this and other resources).

Note that this definition includes self-plagiarism. You may not reproduce work that you have already presented for a summative piece or dissertation. Formative work, as long as it is your own, does not fall under this category.

This definition applies to all assessed work, including but not limited to essay plans, essays, exams, podcasts, blogs and other digital formats.

The reproduction of work includes the following:

  • copying, ie. repeating phrases or sentences word-for-word
  • modifying, ie. closely paraphrasing another's work by simply changing a few words or altering the order of presentation
  • borrowing, ie. presenting another person’s ideas or concepts as your own, even if you do so in your own words

Improper acknowledgement includes the failure to:

  • put quote-marks around text that has been quoted verbatim from another source, even if you have cited the source in a footnote or in the bibliography
  • cite the source of quoted text, even if you have put the text in quote-marks
  • cite the source of text that you have closely paraphrased from another source
  • cite the source of ideas or concepts that you have borrowed from another source

Academic Misconduct and Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is one kind of academic misconduct. Other kinds of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to:

  • Contract Cheating. You may not purchase or ask another person to complete assessed work or sit an exam in your place. Always acknowledge any third party assistance (beyond that of your tutor), for example with proof reading or providing references. If you are unclear whether any third party assistance is acceptable please discuss with your academic or personal tutor in advance of submitting the piece of work.
  • Collusion. If you allow another student to copy some or all of your work, even if you consider this is helping them, you may be considered to have cheated alongside the student who copied the work. Whilst the Department encourages students to work together and read each other’s work, all work submitted should be the student’s own.
  • Deliberate attempts to mask plagiarism. The Department may ask for work to be presented in other formats if it suspects students are deliberately trying to mask one of the forms of plagiarism identified above.

Academic Misconduct vs. Poor Academic Practice

Warwick University distinguishes between academic misconduct and poor academic practice. Academic misconduct is defined as follows:

Academic misconduct are acts or omissions by a student which give or have the potential to give an unfair advantage in an examination or assessment, or might assist someone else to gain an unfair advantage, or an activity likely to undermine the integrity essential to scholarship and research. (Regulation 11)

Academic misconduct requires the intention to obtain an unfair advantage, or knowingly engaging in a behaviour that has the potential to give an unfair advantage, irrespective of whether such advantage is actually obtained. (Regulation 11)

Poor academic practice is less serious than academic misconduct, but should be avoided nonetheless:

Poor academic practice is the failure to observe principles of academic integrity. It typically (but not exclusively) occurs when referencing is inadequate, but not in a way suggesting that the student attempted to gain an unfair advantage. (Regulation 11)

Poor academic practice should be used where the extent of plagiarism or other misconduct is limited. It can be used in particular at earlier stages of a student’s degree, when they might only have an imperfect understanding of the principles of academic integrity. It can be found, e.g., where a student has referenced the material used but not indicated that it is a verbatim quote. (Guidance on Regulation 11)

Note, however, that the example given at the end of this quote is a guide only. An essay that contains multiple or extensive examples of verbatim quotes without quote-marks may well be a case of academic misconduct rather than poor academic practice.

Penalties for academic misconduct depend on the severity of the offence and can include the following:

  • reduced or zero mark for the piece of work in which the plagiarism occurred
  • re-submission of the work with revised referencing, for a reduced or capped mark
  • re-submission of a new piece of work for a reduced or capped mark
  • revocation of an academic award or honour to which the work contributed

In the History Department, the great majority of cases of cheating are dealt with in one of the first three ways.

The penalty for poor academic practice, as opposed to academic misconduct, is normally that the piece of work in question receives lower marks in line with the normal marking schedule. There is no fixed number of marks that are deducted for poor academic practice; these marks are simply not earned under the marking criteria. In such cases, the overall mark for the piece of work is determined by the marker using their academic judgment.

Training

All students in History are required to complete the Avoiding Plagiarism Moodle course which is designed for students in any discipline.

In addition, the History department offers the following history-specific resources for understanding plagiarism:

  • interactive examples of plagiarism in a hypothetical History essay
  • plagiarism is covered in the academic writing course that is part of the first-year module Making of the Modern World - the resources here are a useful point of reference

University-wide resources on plagiarism

The University’s regulations on plagiarism are contained in University Regulation 11, Academic Integrity.

More detailed guidance on how to implement these regulations is in the Guidance on Regulation 11.

Note that these regulations and guidance were updated in summer 2021, with the updates taking effect from October 4, 2021.

The University also has a Proofreading Policy that sets out what the University considers to be appropriate with regards to proofreading and what checks should be in place when proofreading is undertaken.

Other resources for students are available on the Academic Integrity page.

Other Forms of Cheating

Cheating can take other forms aside from plagiarism:

  • Contract Cheating. You may not purchase or ask another person to complete assessed work or sit an exam in your place. Always acknowledge any third party assistance (beyond that of your tutor), for example with proof reading or providing references. If you are unclear whether any third party assistance is acceptable please discuss with your academic or personal tutor in advance of submitting the piece of work.
  • Collusion. If you allow another student to copy some or all of your work, even if you consider this is helping them, you may be considered to have cheated alongside the student who copied the work. Whilst the Department encourages students to work together and read each other’s work, all work submitted should be the student’s own.
  • Deliberate attempts to mask plagiarism. The Department may ask for work to be presented in other formats if it suspects students are deliberately trying to mask one of the forms of plagiarism identified above.

Further Reading

All students taking History modules are strongly encouraged to read the plagiarism examples mentioned above, as well as the pages on Presentation and Referencing:

Examples to avoid plagiarism

Presentation and Referencing

Students in History will also receive information about plagiarism in workshops and/or lectures in their first year. The University has a range of other resources relating to plagiarism and cheating that are listed below.

The Warwick Library has created a Moodle module called PlagiarWISe that explains what plagiarism is, what the consequences are, and how students can avoid it.

PlagiarWISe Moodle

The University’s regulations on plagiarism and cheating are contained in University Regulation 11B, Procedure to be Adopted in the Event of Suspected Cheating:

University Regulation 11B

The University’s Guidelines and Procedure for Suspected Cheating in a University Test give a more detailed account of what constitutes plagiarism and cheating, and of the procedure to be followed in the case of suspected plagiarism, as well as information for students on formative assignments and the use of source-matching software (Turnitin):

Guidelines for Suspected CheatingProcedure for Suspected Cheating

The University has a Proofreading Policy that sets out what the University considers to be appropriate in regards to proofreading and what checks should be in place when proofreading is undertaken.

Proofreading Policy

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