Academic Integrity: First Resources

Adapted from the former IDC

Academic Integrity

Lakehead University takes a serious view of offenses against academic honesty such as plagiarism, cheating, and impersonation. Academic dishonesty definitions, examples, and disciplinary procedures are outlined in the university regulations and policies below.

Why Do Students Plagiarize?

There is always a context for a student's academic dishonesty. It is important to consider that context, even if in the end it does not diminish the penalty. There are a number of reasons why students plagiarize.

  • Ignorance - "I didn't know that was plagiarism"
  • Insecurity - "Their words are better"
  • Time management - "Too much work"
  • Difficulties with language - "English is hard"
  • Norms among students - "Everyone else is doing it"
  • Competition - "I need a 70%"
  • Institutional laxity - "Lots of people are getting away with it"

Prevention Strategies

Inform Students of University Policies

Research suggests that it is unrealistic to expect students to make themselves familiar with all aspects of a student code of conduct.

Put information about the policy on course outlines and talk to students about it.

Note: Make sure that students are clear about their rights as well as their responsibilities.

Actively Initiate Students as Junior Scholars into the Community of Scholars
  • Educate students about the research culture, protocols and practices of your specific discipline.
  • Explain to students why we use secondary sources, and actively teach them how to do it
Design Assignments that Discourage Plagiarism
  • Offer compulsory teaching sessions on academic writing and citation skills where students can apply the skills to discipline-specific content as part of their core assessment tasks
  • Have students submit multi-stage assignments
  • Have students write a short meta-essay in which they talk about why they structured their essay the way they did, why they used the sources they did, Etc
  • Require your students to complete a tutorial(s) on Academic Integrity, such as this tutorial out of Indiana or the Academic Integrity module available by self-enrolment through Lakehead's Academic Writing and Research E-Learning. (AWARE) D2L unit. For the later, certificates are available for each contained module or the entire Academic Integrity upon successful completion of the test(s).  
Learn to Recognize Signs of Stress in Students
  • Encourage students to come and talk to you about problems meeting deadlines or understanding an assignment
  • When necessary, inform students of counseling services, as well as other student services on campus
Always Talk to a Students about a Suspected case of Plagiarism
  • Do not ignore plagiarism: students need to know that there is a consistent and transparent process for dealing with plagiarism.
  • Listen to the student’s reasons for plagiarizing; while there should always be some kind of penalty, one should take account of the student’s circumstances
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