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

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2.2 Honest qualifications

Individuals choose to study towards qualifications for a wide range of reasons. You might be studying to follow a passion, to start a new career, or to help to progress in an existing one. You might be studying out of choice or be obliged to study for work-related reasons. Indeed, your reasons might be a combination of these, or something not listed here.

Take a moment to reflect on your reasons for studying.


Reflecting on your reasons for studying is a useful activity. Without doubt, studying can be hard work. Studying may involve financial commitment, alongside setting aside appropriate time. Thinking about your longer-term goals can aid motivation.

Regardless of your reasons for studying, gaining a qualification demonstrates that you have achieved a particular level of study.

  • It shows that you have gained subject-specific knowledge. Your study pathway may have involved developing numerical or computer-coding skills, or the ability to analyse musical compositions. You have begun to gain expertise in a particular area.
  • Studying towards your qualification will have developed transferable skills, such as the ability to write in a particular style, prepare reports, essays or case studies; or to give presentations to a variety of audiences.
  • A core part of your study towards your qualification will have involved the ability to source and critique material from your academic discipline, and to demonstrate the ability to appropriately acknowledge these sources. Your study demonstrates your credibility.
  • You will also have demonstrated the ability to successfully manage your time and perform to a certain standard.
Image of pebbles representing people. One has a mortar board and a rolled up certificate.

It follows that individuals who plagiarise – i.e. who use the work of another person without appropriate credit – are devaluing their qualification. Anyone who draws heavily on the work of others, without demonstrating their own academic input, has not met the expectations for that level of study. Any qualification gained in such a way will not represent their real knowledge, competencies and skill set.

Take a moment to consider the following scenarios, which may help you to put the impact of plagiarism into context.

Imagine driving over a bridge designed by someone who used plagiarised material in their assignments, which assessed their understanding of loads, forces and appropriate building materials.

Imagine being given an injection by someone who had paid someone else to do their assignments on calculating dosage.

Imagine a particular recommendation for a change in policy, which had been written by someone who had plagiarised their reports and essays on aspects of social, demographic and economic reforms.


Plagiarism has implications beyond the assessment itself.