As stated in the Academic Integrity Policy, any “violation of the expectation of academic integrity is academic misconduct.” Such misconduct can take many forms, and no list can be considered a complete list, but what follows tries to explain or exemplify the most common kinds of academic misconduct. The list presented here began as examples and definitions presented in past editions of UCA’s Student Handbook.
Cheating is a general category of academic misconduct that, in the context of an academic course, involves dishonesty in completing work in the course — whether an examination or other kind of assignment. Assisting another student dishonestly is also cheating. Note that plagiarism, fabrication of research results, and other such violations of academic integrity may correctly be identified as particular kinds of cheating. Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to, the following:
- knowingly discovering or attempting to discover the contents of an examination before the contents are released by the instructor
- taking a picture of or otherwise copying an examination without permission to do so
- providing such a picture/copy to another person
- obtaining, using, or attempting to obtain or use any material or device dishonestly
- supplying or attempting to supply any material or device to another person dishonestly
- obtaining or attempting to obtain unauthorized information during the course of an examination from another student or another student’s test materials
- unauthorized possessing, taking, copying, or sharing of solutions manuals or computerized solutions for assigned homework or research problems
A less obvious kind of cheating occurs when a student submits a single work (an essay, for example, or report) to two different instructors in fulfillment of two different assignments without having the permission of both instructors to use the work in this way.
Plagiarism is that particular kind of cheating that involves using someone else’s words, ideas, or other intellectual property as if they (the words, ideas, or other intellectual property) were one’s own original work. Some common kinds of plagiarism are listed here:
- Because the richly varied resources of the Internet make copying the work of others easy, a particularly common kind of plagiarism occurs when someone reproduces or closely imitates one or more documents from the Internet and claims that the resulting essay or research paper is the copier’s own work.
- Similar issues of dishonesty are raised by term paper sites or custom term paper writing services where one can purchase a term paper, research paper, or essay.
- Submitting as one’s own an assignment prepared by another student is an obvious form of plagiarism.
- At other times, plagiarism occurs because a student does not understand the necessity or the mechanisms for acknowledging the words, ideas, or other intellectual property of others.
Any academic work involving sources requires careful judgment on the part of the student, and many instructors will provide specific guidance about the use and acknowledgement of sources. In any case, the student should be prepared to ask questions about this issue before submitting papers rather than to plead ignorance afterwards.
Fabrication is cheating by faking results, as of an experiment, or otherwise “making up” something that one presents as true, factual, or real. Fabrication in an academic context may occur in a number of forms, including these:
- falsifying research results or a report of research processes
- falsifying reports or records related to a field, practicum, or clinical experience
In whatever context it occurs, fabrication is fraudulent and obviously has no place in an academic context.
Plagiarism is the most common and most misunderstood form of violation.
Some examples include…
- Using direct quotes without quotation marks
- Misrepresenting the author’s ideas or main points
- Using someone else’s ideas without citing them as such
- Using another person to write, re-write, or edit your work
- Using one piece of work from one course for another course without instructor permission
- Failing to attach all group members’ names to an assignment
- Misquoting of sources
Using a direct quotation without quotation marks or a citation
- Example: Historian Jane Doe argues that most Americans believed the war would end quickly.
- In this example, the writer has not quoted or cited the historian’s words. Instead, consider this revision: Historian Jane Doe argues that, “most Americans believed the war would end quickly” (23).
Paraphrasing or changing an author’s words or style without citation
- Example: President Lincoln reminded the nation that 87 years ago the founding fathers created a new country, rooted in the concept of freedom for all men.
- In this example, the writer has changed President Lincoln’s words and they have not provided a citation. Instead, consider this revision: President Lincoln reminded the nation that 87 years ago the founding fathers created a new country, rooted in the concept of freedom for all men (Wikipedia). Or, you may simply provide the quote: President Lincoln reminded the nation that, “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” (Wikipedia).
Insufficiently acknowledging sources or providing a partial citation
- Example: An historian argues that, most Americans believed the war would end quickly.
- In this example, the writer has failed to provide the author’s name or where the quote is located. Instead, consider this revision: Historian Jane Doe argues that, “most Americans believed the war would end quickly” (23).
- This type of plagiarism also includes failure to list all references on a references or works cited page.
Using the pattern, structure or organization of an author’s argument or ideas without proper citation
Failing to cite sources for information considered non-common
- Example: Napoleon died when he was 51 years old.
- In this example, the writer has failed to provide a citation for Napoleon’s age at death, a fact that may not be common knowledge. Instead, consider this revision: Napoleon died when he was 51 years old (Wikipedia).
Determining what constitutes common knowledge may be difficult. For example, most Americans know that Chicago is the third largest city in the U.S., therefore, a citation is not necessary. If you are unsure what constitutes common knowledge, be safe and cite the source.
Using an essay from course for another without instructor permission
- Example: If you are re-taking a course and you use the final essay from the first course for the second without permission from your instructor, you are plagiarizing. If you submit the same essay to two separate professors (either in the same semester or at a later semester) without both professors’ approval, you are plagiarizing.
Failing to attach all group members’ names to a group project
- Example: If you are working on any group project or assignment and you leave even one group member’s name off the project or assignment when you hand it in to your instructor, you are plagiarizing.
Using someone else to heavily edit or re-write your essay
- Example: If you purchase an essay from the internet, a writer (including a TA or GA), or another student, you are plagiarizing.
- If you pay your roommate, friend, brother, sister, mom, TA/GA, or anyone else to write your paper, you are plagiarizing.
- If you ask someone to edit your essay or re-write you essay in a manner that drastically alters the essay, you are plagiarizing.