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What Is Academic Integrity and Why Is It Important?

The great value of academic work is to be honest, accurate, and ethical. It is called academic integrity. Your readers should understand that you are not plagiarizing the works of other researchers or misinterpreting the obtained results of your research.

The opposite way is academic dishonesty. It involves plagiarism, using someone else's essays as your own, and making mistakes in a citation. These inconsistencies are easy to see with the help of our plagiarism checker.

The concepts of academic integrity and dishonesty are crucial when you present the results of your research and publish them. In this case, if you are accused of such misconduct, you can face academic issues. However, you can avoid all plagiarism problems in advance if you think your work through and use our citation generator and plagiarism checker.

Colleges and universities all over the world value academic integrity and avoid dishonesty because it reduces the quality of academic education and its correspondence to generally accepted standards.

Maintaining the correspondence to academic standards is a basic task and a big responsibility for all participants of the academic process - staff, faculty, and students. This article explains what should be considered academic integrity and dishonesty and how you can avoid the latter.

What Is Academic Dishonesty?

Prominent universities define academic dishonesty as anything that provides the wrong information related to academic activity. It can be cheating, plagiarism, or providing the wrong findings. All acts of lying, deceit, and cheating in any form, such as using cribs, copying answers during exams, and plagiarism, are considered a bad violation of academic rules and regulations. Moreover, all other parties involved in this dishonesty have shared responsibilities.

The list of academic dishonesty examples is long. Let’s provide just several examples:

  • using any signals via cell phones or other gadgets to give answers during exams;
  • receiving a copy of the test assignments from the administration in advance;
  • using the works of other students as your own;
  • taking part in an exam or academic course for another person;
  • using any unauthorized notes during the exam;
  • plagiarizing any published material, lab reports, or parts of research work without citing.

There are many others. We will refer to them further on. Now, let’s consider plagiarism as a bad violation of rules in academic paper writing and one of the forms of dishonesty.

Plagiarizing means that one person steals the work, ideas, or research results from someone else and presents them as their own.

The forms of plagiarism can be the following:

  • using the exact passages or sentences written by somebody else without quotation marks and giving credit to the author;
  • describing the sequence of the research process or presenting ideas in the same order as in the original work, even if they are written in other words without any reliable acknowledgment.

Different Forms of Academic Dishonesty

Everybody has heard of plagiarism as a violation of academic rules. However, there are other forms of academic dishonesty you need to know about.

Let’s look at them in more detail.

  1. Plagiarism happens when you copy the work of other people without giving them proper credits. Copy-pasting parts of articles or papers you have found on the Internet are apparent examples of plagiarism.
  2. Cheating means you use forbidden sources or devices that help you get desirable results without putting much effort into this achievement. An example of it is copying answers from someone during the exam.
  3. Facilitating academic dishonesty in others happens when you help others cheat. For example, you give your groupmate answers to exam questions or do the exam instead of them.
  4. Cooperating with someone for cheating (or collusion) is when you work as a team with others with the purpose of cheating. You cheat when you are texting your friend within the procedure of the online exam to provide or compare answers.
  5. Fabrication of data is providing misinterpreted results of your research so that they match your hypotheses. For instance, you may want to modify the results of your experiment to show the nonexistent correlations between the variables.
  6. Telling lies and deceiving for falsification or giving the wrong information. For example, you can pretend that you are ill to leave the exam room.

The types and forms of academic dishonesty may vary depending on the situation. They are classified as mild, moderate, and severe dishonesty. Let’s consider the examples:

Mild Dishonesty

This type involves:

  • citing something that you have never seen or read;
  • pretending to be ill to miss the lecture or test;
  • collaborating with fellow students on homework or crowdsourcing such assignments;
  • getting notes from a review session provided by the professor from your friend
    without attending it.

Moderate Dishonesty

These violations are also not acceptable:

  • getting the forged note from the doctor about the poor health condition to extend the deadlines for the assignment;
  • pop quiz cheating;
  • self-plagiarism or resubmitting your own paper you have already created for a different course;
  • using your notes or textbooks when you have a take-home test that should be done with books closed.

Severe Dishonesty

The following things are unacceptable in your academic environment, so you need to know about them:

  • using a ready-made test provided by your friend;
  • changing the results of your laboratory experiment to make them correspond to or support your wrong hypotheses;
  • lying about a family emergency to escape from the final exam.

You should also know that there are things that you may not consider as academic dishonesty but they actually are that. Consider the following examples when you intend to:

  • do class assignments for other students;
  • cooperate with other students on an assignment that is not a group project;
  • change the answers in the test that has already been scored and ask for a regrade;
  • pad the items of the bibliography;
  • get access to and make changes in your grade record;
  • change the notes in your attendance record.;
  • get the answers for the test in advance from the students who have already passed it;
  • steal or copy the ready assignment done by other students and submit it as your own.

You have to remember that even if you are not caught doing these things, your academic integrity is doubtful, so you won’t be able to rely on your good reputation and substantial knowledge in your future career.

Why Is Academic Integrity Important?

Most students know approximately what academic integrity is, though dishonesty is rather common too. They make excuses for various reasons because of poor time management, tight deadlines, and difficulties in understanding the course.

However, academic integrity is crucial because, in the case of dishonesty, you can cause trouble to yourself, your fellow students, and the entire learning schedule. So, remember that dishonesty can hurt:

  • ✔️ the author you have plagiarized;
  • ✔️ other students who do not use such unfair methods;
  • ✔️ your individual learning needs and the whole process;
  • ✔️ future researchers if you include misleading information in your publication;
  • ✔️ your future proficiency if you do not acquire the necessary knowledge and practical skills for your future work.

How to Avoid Claims of Dishonesty

First of all, you have to be attentive to your academic duties. If you feel that someone is asking you to do something against academic integrity, try to deny such requests. Remember that both providing and getting help in the academic environment where it is not intended are violations. You need to review the syllabus carefully to understand what is expected from you.

You can also use the following tips to avoid dishonesty problems:

  • ✔️ Never look around in the classroom while taking a test because you can be accused of copying from someone.
  • ✔️ Cover your answer sheet during the exam. If you see that someone is trying to copy from you, ask a supervisor to change a seat.
  • ✔️ Even if you are allowed to bring some materials to the test classroom, ensure that they are all legal and cannot be considered cribs.
  • ✔️ Always ask your instructor how much collaboration is allowed within the team when you are working on group projects.
  • ✔️ Never copy or transmit a computer program or file because someone can change this file a bit and submit it as their own assignment.
  • ✔️ Be sure to change and protect your computer logins and passwords. If someone has access to them, they can enter your device and access your work there.
  • ✔️ You are not supposed to write everything with 100% uniqueness. However, you should use quotation marks, textual and footnotes, or other citation tools to give credit to the authors of the ideas. Use our citation generator if you find this task difficult. Always check the requirements for the citation style with your professor.
  • ✔️ Never include any sources in the bibliography if you haven’t used them in your paper. It is called padding and considered dishonest.
  • ✔️ Do not use previous assignments or lab reports to copy some parts of them in your future paper. Check with your instructor how to use the ideas from them properly.
  • ✔️ Store all the drafts and copies of your paper on your device because, if someone wants to use them as their own, you can always prove that it is yours.
  • ✔️ Never leave the ready assignments completed by you in the computer lab.
  • ✔️ If you want to help your friends with their projects or assignments, do not provide them with your own ones to be used as guides. There is a risk of being accused of improper or unallowed collaboration.
  • ✔️ Ask your professor whether you can submit the project or home assignment done by you in another course.
  • ✔️ Do not trust other students to submit your papers or projects for you because they can be tempted to use the parts of them in their work.
  • ✔️ If your instructor does not allow you to collaborate on the take-home exams with your fellow students, never do this.
  • ✔️ Avoid making some additional marks on your graded exam sheet if you want to submit it for regrade. Take a separate paper to do it.

Final Thoughts

Now you know that you have to do your best to avoid academic dishonesty. Academic integrity is crucial because it creates equal and comfortable academic conditions for all the participants of the process. If some rules and requirements are violated, the efficiency of courses and exams reduces.

Every student should know about possible inconsistencies, violations, and academic dishonesty examples and try to avoid them.

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