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What is good academic practice?

Joining an academic community means to follow the rules of academic integrity but what does this mean? Find out in this article.
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© University of York

Academic integrity is hugely important when you are part of an academic community. It’s more than just a university policy; when students and staff embrace academic integrity, they commit to a set of values that fosters a culture of trust, respect and intellectual growth.

Academic integrity ensures a level playing-field. It promotes the idea that learning is not just about good grades, but about personal growth, critical thinking and the pursuit of knowledge. It’s also about respecting other people’s work and ideas. When you give credit where it’s due, and don’t cheat or plagiarise, you’re learning valuable life skills like responsibility and honesty.

When everyone in the academic community follows the rules, it helps make the learning experience better for everyone.

Academic misconduct is any kind of cheating or attempt to gain an unfair advantage. Common types of academic misconduct include:

  • Plagiarism is using someone else’s words/ideas without appropriate referencing
  • Collusion is inappropriate collaboration with other students
  • Commissioning is using work written or improved by someone else, e.g. friends, family or essay-writing companies.

Universities take academic misconduct seriously, so many will have guidelines in place to make students aware of what is not acceptable. Being accused of academic misconduct can be very stressful, so the more you are clued up on academic integrity the better, particularly with the advent of AI (Artificial Intelligence). You can find out more on the University of York’s Academic Integrity pages.

The best way to avoid academic misconduct of any type is to ensure you understand the principles of academic integrity – which is fundamentally about being honest and making sure you reference other people’s work that you use in your assignments. Referencing is a key skill at university but no-one expects you to come to university knowing how to do it! You get lots of guidance and practice as you learn all about citations and different referencing styles. If you would like to find out more, you can check out the University of York’s Referencing Guide

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© University of York
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