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SPARK: Guidelines for Working With Integrity

A resource for students wanting to improve their academic and research skills.

Guidelines for Working with Integrity

In the context of academic writing and research, integrity guidelines are meant to ensure that student credits are earned, awarded, and administered fairly, and that student work is in compliance with the ethical standards of related fields of practice.

The sections below review general principles of academic integrity.

Play Fair

Don’t cheat. Don’t obstruct your peers’ ability to complete coursework, for example by hoarding library resources or disrupting examinations. Don’t lie about extenuating circumstances to gain extensions. Do not obscure your reliance on sources, invent sources, or falsify data to fulfill assignment requirements.

To cheat is to attempt to gain an improper advantage in an academic evaluation. Some forms of cheating include getting a copy of an exam or finding out an exam question before it is officially available; copying another person’s answer to an exam question; consulting an unauthorized source during an exam; submitting the work one has done for one class or project in a second class without permission; submitting work prepared in collaboration with other members of a class without authorization from the instructor; submitting work prepared in whole or in part by another person and representing that work as one’s own. Also, searching for assignment answers on the Internet and using sites like Quizlet or Course Hero to access assignments or exams uploaded by others breaches both academic integrity and the professor's copyright.

To obstruct is to interfere with the scholarly activities of another in order to harass or gain unfair academic advantage. This includes interference or tampering with experimental data, with a human or animal subject, with a written document or other creation (e.g., a painting, sculpture or film), with a chemical used for scientific study, or with any other object of study.

Do Not Enable Breaches of Academic Integrity by Others

It is academic misconduct to encourage or help others to commit a breach of academic honesty. Providing academic work to another person if there is any expectation that the receiver will misuse it may be considered aiding and abetting.

Examples of aiding and abetting include sharing a lab report/formula/assignment/old exam/computer program with another student. Both the owner of the lab report/formula/assignment/old exam/computer program and the person who copied it may be charged with a breach of academic honesty.

It can be challenging and stressful to resist strong pressure from friends, peers, and classmates to participate in activities that may constitute a breach. If you need strategies for coping with stress, see Counselling Services.

Complete Coursework Responsibly

Complete coursework unaided unless otherwise specified or approved by your instructor. Disclose to your instructor any: collaboration with peers; consultation with tutors; use of editing or translation services; or reuse of coursework for multiple courses. 

Do your own work. It is a breach of academic honesty to have someone impersonate you in class or in a test or examination. Both the impersonator and the individual impersonated may be charged under the University of Regina Student Code of Conduct.

Engage with Sources Responsibly and Transparently

When working with research sources, use approved documentation styles to cite sourced information and represent it in a fair and accurate manner.

Representing someone else’s ideas, writing, creative works, or other intellectual property as your own constitutes plagiarism, and is a form of academic dishonesty. Any use of the work of others, whether published, unpublished or posted electronically (e.g., on web sites), attributed or anonymous, must include proper acknowledgement. Common types of plagiarism include: 

  • buying research papers and submitting them as your own
  • copying and pasting text or images from other sources without proper acknowledgement
  • copying and submitting someone else’s work as your own 

See the Academic Integrity Checklist in Resources for help in avoiding plagiarism. Read more about plagiarism in the Creating Bibliographies module.

Represent Your Research Process Fairly

Your written work should convey accurately the number of sources you consulted, the extent to which you have relied on each source, as well as the methods by which you gathered and analyzed data.

This principle directly relates to falsification and fabrication.

It is a breach of academic honesty to fabricate (make-up) research or results. This includes: statistics, experimental results or data, research methodology, facts, quotations, references or bibliographic material and research and the ideas of others.

It is also a violation of academic honesty to falsify information. This includes:

  • dishonest reporting of research, lab results or data
  • misrepresenting the research and ideas of others
  • falsely reporting having met the research responsibilities for a course, for example, pretending to have completed a lab exercise
  • modifying graded, returned research reports then submitting them for re- grading as if they were the originals

Gather and Share Data From Human and Animal Subjects Ethically

Standards of research ethics provide guidance and oversight to ensure the ethical acceptability of all research involving humans, animals or biohazardous materials.

If your research involves gathering information from people or animals, or handling biohazardous materials, discuss the ethics review process with your instructor. You must have approval before proceeding with such research. For additional information see the University of Regina's Research Office.