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Academic Integrity - become part of the expert conversation in your subject

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Academic Integrity

We're part of an academic community at Warwick. Whether studying, teaching or researching, we’re all taking part in an expert conversation which must meet standards of academic integrity. When we all meet these standards, we can take pride in our own academic achievements, as individuals and as an academic community.

Academic integrity means committing to honesty in academic work, giving credit where we've used others' ideas and being proud of our own achievements.

When deadlines are approaching and time is tight, taking a few shortcuts to finish a piece of work on time may seem tempting, but the knock-on effects can be long-lasting.

A breach of academic integrity can occur inadvertently, for example due to being in a rush to complete an assignment, or by not checking what’s expected. However, this term can also include deliberate cheating, which Warwick's regulations define as 'an attempt to benefit oneself or another, by deceit or fraud... [including] reproducing one's own work or the work of others without proper acknowledgement'.

This includes:

  • Presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own;
  • Self-plagiarism: submitting the same work that you have already submitted for another assessment, unless this is permitted;
  • Taking a copy of another student’s work without their permission;
  • Working with one or more others on an assessment which is intended to be your own work;
  • Contract cheating: where someone completes work for you, whether for remuneration or not, which is then submitted as your own;
  • Arranging for someone else to impersonate you by undertaking your assessment or examination.

What support can I access to achieve academic integrity?

Academic Support Librarians can provide advice and guidance on referencing and plagiarism.

Academic skills workshops are available for undergraduates, master's students and researchers.

Book one-to-one advice on academic skills, including academic integrity, with a Study Skills Adviser.

If you have any queries or concerns, the tutor who sets your assignment will be able to offer help and advice.

Each academic department has its own policies and practices concerning academic integrity and that these can be found on your department's webpages and course handbooks - always ask if you're not sure where to look.

Avoiding plagiarism

  • Identify which key sources you may need to read and reference in good time before you start your assessment
  • Always be honest in your bibliography or literature review – it’s often the first place markers look when they start reading your assignment. It will also help you identify gaps in your own preparation if you only include sources you have genuinely consulted.
  • Read widely, and consult scholars who disagree with each other on theories or ideas and decide where you stand on the topic in question; just be sure to demonstrate how the existing literature has informed your writing, even if you come to your own conclusions
  • Don’t be afraid to use your own words – you’ll learn more, find your own voice as a writer, and your work will be more interesting to read. Just make sure you reference each theory and concept as well as each quotation, and be careful not to paraphrase or to stitch others’ ideas together as your own.
  • Organise and structure your work in your own way, this will help you develop your thinking and research on the subject and avoid inadvertently replicating others’ lines of argument or discussion
  • Check what the academic integrity conventions are in the subject you are studying. If you are taking a module outside your usual department, don’t be afraid to ask a member of staff what the conventions are, as each subject can be slightly different.
  • In some subjects, it may be expected that you will acknowledge your use of particular methodologies, analytical tools or software in preparing your assessment – don’t forget to make a note of these as you go along

Consequences of failing to meet standards of academic integrity

  • The policies are strict even if it’s the first time your work has not met standards of academic integrity – you should expect to get a lower mark or be asked to take the paper again
  • Even if your work has been found not to have met standards of academic integrity after you’ve graduated, you may be investigated and your degree may be withdrawn
  • You could fail the assignment
  • You could fail the module
  • You could be removed from your course
  • It could prevent you from practicing your chosen career (e.g. in medicine, teaching, social work)
Detecting plagiarism - Turnitin

Academic departments at Warwick use Turnitin, a sophisticated software which detects similarities between submitted assessments and other texts, and provides a similarity report which is used by academics to determine whether plagiarism has occurred.

Definition of plagiarism

Plagiarism is the reproduction, and presentation as one’s own, of the words or ideas of another.

Examples of these kinds of plagiarism include:

  • verbatim copying of another individual/institution’s work without acknowledgement;
  • close paraphrasing of another's work by simply changing a few words or altering the order of presentation, without acknowledgement;
  • unacknowledged quotation of phrases from another's work;
  • the deliberate and detailed presentation of another's concept as one's own.

University resources to consult