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Academic Integrity Tutorial by DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Fairfield University

Types of Academic Dishonesty

Academic Dishonesty: Cheating

Cheating is the most well-known academically dishonest behavior.

But, cheating includes more than just copying a neighbor’s answers on an exam or peeking at a cheat sheet or storing answers on your phone. Giving or offering information in examinations is also dishonest.

Turning in someone else’s work as your own is also considered cheating.

True Story

Ed Dante (a pseudonym) makes a living writing custom essays that unscrupulous students buy online. You can read his story at The Chronicle of Higher Education. Purchasing someone else’s work and turning it in as your own is cheating.

Academic Dishonesty: Collusion

Collusion, such as working with another person or persons when independent work is assigned is considered academically dishonest.

While it is fine to work in a team if your faculty member specifically requires or allows it, be sure to communicate with your faculty about guidelines on permissible collaboration (including how to attribute the contributions of others).

True story

In 2012, 125 Harvard students were investigated for working together on a take-home final exam. The only rule on the exam was not to work together. Almost half of those students were determined to have cheated, and forced to withdraw from school for a year.

Academic Dishonesty: Falsifying Results & Misrepresenting

Falsifying results in studies or experiments is a serious breach of academic honesty.

Students are sometimes tempted to make up results if their study or experiment does not produce the results they hoped for. But getting caught has major consequences.  

Misrepresenting yourself or your research is, by definition, dishonest.

Misrepresentation might include inflating credentials, claiming that a study proves something that it does not, or leaving out inconvenient and/or contradictory results.

True Story

An undergraduate at the University of Kansas claimed to be a researcher and promoted his (unfortunately incorrect) research on how much a Big Mac would cost if the U.S. raised minimum wage. His study was picked up by the Huffington Post, NY Times, and other major news outlets, who then had to publish retractions.


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