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Academic integrity

Academic integrity is built on honesty, respect and fairness. Students, faculty and staff at UVic are members of an intellectual community. As such, it’s expected that we’ll adhere to ethical values in all our learning, teaching and research.

We have lots of resources on academic integrity. One of the best ways to get information is to talk to your instructors and TAs. They can help you understand and follow the complex rules of academic integrity.

The Centre for Academic Communication (CAC) can also help you understand academic expectations at UVic.

Why does this matter?

You need to know that your work is being fairly evaluated. This includes knowing that other students do not have an unfair advantage through cheating.

You are responsible for academic work that you submit or work on with others. We expect you to adhere to the ethical values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. This means not cheating, plagiarizing, or acting in other academically dishonest ways. 

The core values of academic integrity are also useful beyond university. The skills you learn will be integral to your success in your community and workplace.

What is academic dishonesty?

It’s difficult to name every single kind of academic dishonesty, but here are a few examples:

  • hiring an editor for your written assignments without your instructor's approval. Different departments have different policies on this, so it's best to ask your instructor.
  • sending a file you know is corrupt so you have more time to hand in an assignment.
  • submitting a paper from the Internet
  • having someone else write your paper or parts of it
  • using someone else’s writing as your own, even just parts of it
  • patch-writing: using pieces of different articles and joining the pieces with some of your own words
  • using someone else’s idea as your own without citing it
  • intellectual dishonesty, like cheating on a test or sharing your answers
  • having someone extensively revise your paper without prior permission from your instructor
  • failing to properly cite ideas or excerpts from the work of others
  • failing to indicate a paraphrase of someone else’s words
  • copying answers and/or ideas from a classmate
  • self-plagiarism: using something—or even parts of something—that you wrote for one course in another course

Policies and consequences

The UVic calendar has a policy on plagiarism, but departments decide on their own specific policies. Check with your department on specific policies and procedures.

Consequences

If you’re found guilty of plagiarism, the penalties may be:

  • a grade of zero for the assignment
  • a failing grade for the whole course
  • a notation on your transcript
  • disciplinary probation
  • suspension
  • rejection of parts or all of your thesis

Along with these penalties, you’ll also receive a letter of reprimand. This letter will stay on your file for five years.

Your rights and responsibilities

You are responsible for making sure you don’t plagiarise. If you’re unsure of whether you might be plagiarizing, talk to your instructor or your TA.

You have a right to be heard and the right to a fair process. If you’re accused of plagiarism, the academic department must notify you in writing.

For more information on your rights and responsibilities, see the ombudsperson's tips on plagiarism and academic integrity.

Dealing with an accusation of plagiarism

If you’re accused of plagiarism, visit the ombudsperson’s website for advice. You can also contact them directly at 250-721-8357 or ombuddy@uvic.ca.

FAQs

The library has lots of useful information on plagiarism and citation help

When you’re doing group work, check with your instructor or TA on what work you must do individually and what can be done together.

Paraphrasing is a good way to convey an author’s point without distracting from yours. If their writing is complex, you can paraphrase and simplify it to make your work easier to read. You must make sure you represent the information accurately.

Make sure you’re presenting the author’s opinion accurately. Be very clear about what information belongs to the author and what is your own opinion. You have to cite your source, even when paraphrasing.

Summarizing an author’s argument is a way to create context for an argument. In general, summaries are useful as an introduction to an author’s thinking. If their article is important to your argument, you can use a summary to show why it is important.

When you’re actually talking about the article in detail, it’s usually best to quote or paraphrase.

When you summarize, you are trying to convey the most important point in an article. A good way to do this is to read the entire article and try to put its main point in a single sentence of your own words. Double-check that the author’s thesis statement agrees with what you have written.

If you are talking about a specific point that an author has made, it’s usually best to use a quotation.

In general, it is a good idea to put a quotation in the middle of a paragraph. Have one sentence leading into it (providing context for the quotation) and another leading out (clarifying why the quotation is relevant to the argument that you are making).

For specific details on how to format quotations, see the library’s style guides.

First, talk to your instructor so that you’re clear about their expectations. For further clarifications, you can consult the library style guides or ask a reference librarian.

The most important thing is to keep well-organized notes. If you copy something from an article or book (whether it’s an idea or a quotation), always write the source next to it in your notes. Most accidental plagiarism happens because students forget where they got something from.

Resources

The UVic library has citation help, a variety of style guides online and tips about plagiarism.

Watch a short video on academic integrity.

Visit Learn Anywhere for learning strategies in an online environment.

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