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Understanding academic integrity and plagiarism

Providing clear references is vital both to highlight to others where your evidence has come from, & to avoid any form of plagiarism. Watch this video
EMMA: So the next few steps are going to go over referencing. Now, you probably might be a little put off by the title already. I know a number of students that I talked to are. But it is an important process that you have to learn relatively quickly if you’re going to be doing academic pieces of work. So learning to put citations in your work and create a bibliography at the end. It’s all about what we call academic integrity. Now that sounds like a very academic term, but I will explain that a little bit later.
It’s mainly so that you do avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism and that you come up with creating a really well supported and evidenced piece of work. Most universities have a statement of academic integrity. The University of Southampton is absolutely no different, and you can follow the link and the hyperlink underneath this video. So what is it and why is it taken so seriously? Well, in the same way that you wouldn’t claim that your best friend’s piece of work was your own, you have to do the same thing with academic pieces of work. It’s all about acknowledging knowledge. So where you might have obtained an idea or a statistic from, you have to say exactly where you’ve got it.
And that’s not a bad thing. It’s actually really good to make use of other people’s work, so long as you do say exactly who wrote it, when they wrote it, and several other little details that we will show you in some of the following steps. Chris talked at the very beginning about the idea of dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants. Now the way that we go about that is by taking that person’s piece of work, that giant’s piece of work, looking at some of their methods and some of their sources, and working out how it fits in with ours, like so.
And then we reciprocate by doing that by showing where we’ve got our sources from as well and also some of our methodologies, the way that we’ve gone about it so that the next person can come and build on that in the same way that we stood on the shoulder of a giant. Different disciplines have different styles of referencing. So it’s worth having a look through some of the next steps that will show you the different kind of styles that you might want to use.
Have a conversation with your supervisor, or if you don’t have one, with a colleague or a friend, and just work out a referencing system that you are comfortable with, learn how to use it properly, and stick to it. Referencing isn’t just about avoiding being caught cheating. It’s about the idea that you are adding credibility to your work. You are providing evidence that supports the points you make, making sure that your argument has real validity to it. The next few steps will take you through some of the various different referencing techniques there are. Have a look through these and make use of them, so that you know that your work will always have academic integrity.

Providing clear references is vital both to highlight to others where your evidence has come from, and to avoid any form of plagiarism.

What is academic integrity?

In this video, Emma introduces the concept of academic integrity and explains why it is taken so seriously by universities and therefore why being able to effectively reference your work is so important.

Have a look at the University of Southampton’s regulations governing academic integrity and, in particular, the principles that you should apply in the development of your research project.

Exercise: choices and consequences

Practice applying the regulations using these exercises. Try taking the part of Barry, a first year student, as he faces some difficult situations in the ‘Choices and Consequences’ interactive story. You must make his choices and face the consequences. Unlike real life, you can always ‘try again’ if things don’t turn out they way you’d hoped!

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is copying ideas and text from sources without proper citation and references. You can avoid unintentional plagiarism by making sure you know how to correctly cite and reference other people’s work.

Through this week’s activities we encourage you to:

  • find a style of referencing that is appropriate for your subject or one that you find easy to follow and use

  • investigate online tools like Mendeley to see how they can help you in recording your referencing

  • consider when and what you need to reference and to take our short quiz to see what you already know

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Developing Your Research Project

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