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Academic integrity dos and don'ts

How to follow the basic principles of academic integrity and some common pitfalls to avoid.

Academic integrity dos and don'ts

Academic integrity is about doing the right thing in four major ways:

  • Acknowledge others
  • Do your own work
  • Be honest
  • Take responsibility.

The following practical examples will help you to understand what to do, and what could be considered a breach of academic integrity. We also offer a range of help throughout your degree, including comprehensive study support and a range of health and wellbeing services.

Acknowledge others

Plagiarism is the use of other people’s words, ideas, designs, materials, research findings or other works without proper acknowledgement. You should always use proper referencing to acknowledge other people’s work in your assessments and other tasks. This is more than just including quotes – you must also acknowledge their ideas and research.

There is no excuse for deliberate plagiarism – but unintentional plagiarism can arise if you copy and paste from sources, have poor note-taking skills or don’t fully understand academic writing and referencing. When note-taking and writing, you need to carefully distinguish between your own work and where you have summarised, paraphrased and quoted sources to support your point of view.

Use the Deakin guide to referencing to learn how to acknowledge others’ work. Before you submit your work, use Turnitin to check if there is any unoriginal material in your work.

Read the student guide to copyright if you need to reproduce others’ work (such as an image or diagram), and your work may become public – for example, you are creating a digital portfolio/blog or plan to publish your work in any other way.

Case study: 
Lyn believes that she has referenced all her sources appropriately. However, through careless note-taking, she has overlooked that she paraphrased a source and left it uncited.

Even though Lyn left a source uncited unintentionally, she may face an allegation of having breached academic integrity.

Do your own work

Don’t ever let someone else do your assessment! You are enrolled at Deakin to learn and will graduate with a qualification by demonstrating learning outcomes to the University. If something or someone else completes an assessment for you – for example, writes your essay or sits your exam – then you do not deserve that qualification.

There are some common pitfalls.

Be honest

Don’t seek an unfair advantage with any of your assessment – this includes making sure it’s all your own work, but also covers work you may have previously done.

Before you re-use any part of a previous assignment from a different unit (or even the same unit, if you’re repeating it) or any part of an assignment submitted to another institution, you’ll need written permission from your Unit Chair.

Never seek unfair advantage through dishonest behaviour, or by providing false or altered documents, such as medical certificates, academic transcripts or assessment submission receipts. If you need to obtain special consideration, do so honestly and fairly.

Case study: 
Amelia’s current assignment is like one she did two years ago at another university. She decides to use most of the research that she included in her previous assignment, but with some new analysis.

Amelia may have breached academic integrity – she has already received credit for this work in her old assignment. She should have checked with her Unit Chair before she used any part of her previous work.

Take responsibility

It’s up to you to read your assessment instructions carefully well before the due date. If you are unsure about anything, talk to your Unit Chair as soon as possible.

Deakin staff and students also have a responsibility to support each other to do the right thing. Any student who shares information with other students about ways to breach academic integrity – for example, providing information on contract cheating services or uploading one of your own assignments to a sharing website – may be investigated for a breach of academic integrity.

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