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All my own work: exploring academic integrity
All my own work: exploring academic integrity

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2 Demonstrating your academic abilities

In the previous section you read about some examples of plagiarism from everyday life. This session will focus on plagiarism in an academic environment. In academia, you are expected to produce work that demonstrates your own academic ability.

Activity 2

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes.

Spend a few minutes thinking about why it is important to ensure that the work you produce demonstrates a true reflection of your academic abilities.

Answer

You may have thought of several reasons.

One argument is that by ensuring the work you produce reflects your true understanding, you can get a realistic idea of how your studies are progressing. If you submit your own work, your tutor is able to give you personalised, accurate feedback and help with your specific learning needs and abilities. This will help you to assess your progression through the study material and identify particular strengths as well as any weaknesses. You will be able to make your study more effective and efficient, as you will be able to focus your attention on areas that need more improvement to ensure you progress. If the work that you submit for assessment is not your own, any feedback given will hold little relevance to your own academic development.

You may have also considered that by submitting work in your own words, your tutor is able to grade your work in an appropriate and fair manner. In fairness to all students, it is essential that the work you present for grading really is a true reflection of your abilities and does not consist of work produced by other people. Any qualification classification system must be able to measure and recognise each student’s abilities, in a fair and consistent manner.

Producing study notes and assignments in your own words can sometimes be challenging and time consuming. Part of the reason it can be challenging is because it forces you to really think about what the original author is trying to say. In order to construct your own arguments, where you explain, analyse, critique or develop other people’s ideas or concepts, you need to understand the original idea.

So, producing your own work helps you to develop, as well as demonstrate, your own understanding. In other words, it helps you to learn.

A quick word about the use of direct quotes

Direct quotes are where you repeat the original author’s exact words (with appropriate acknowledgment).

You will explore the use of direct quotes in more detail later in the course. For now, however, you should be aware that using a direct quotation is quite passive. If direct quotes are used to replace rather than support your own arguments, you are unlikely to be developing or demonstrating your own understanding.

In other words, overuse of direct quotes is unlikely to help you learn.