What Is Academic Dishonesty?

Academic dishonesty, also known as academic misconduct, occurs when you engage in dishonest behavior involving academic activities such as teaching, learning, and research. When we think of academic dishonesty, we usually think of cheating students, but the reality is that anyone in the academic environment can be guilty of academic dishonesty. 

What is considered academic dishonesty?

Many different actions can be considered academic dishonesty. The most common forms of academic misconduct include: 

Plagiarism: presenting another person’s words as your own without attribution

Cheating: providing or receiving prohibited assistance on a quiz, test, paper, or another formal academic exercise from a person, material, or device

Fabrication: falsifying data, facts, or citations in a formal academic exercise

Deception: offering false information about a formal academic exercise to a teacher

Sabotage: intentionally preventing other people from completing their work

What are examples of academic dishonesty?

“Academic dishonesty” is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of conduct. Some examples of prevalent types of academic dishonesty are detailed below.

Copying Someone Else’s Work

Plagiarism occurs when someone attempts to pass off someone else’s work as their own. This could involve submitting someone else’s paper as your own, or simply taking portions of someone else’s work and incorporating them into your own work. Students may also attempt to avoid being caught by plagiarism detectors by replacing words in someone else’s work with synonyms or piecing together copied material from multiple sources.

Paying Someone Else To Do Your Work

“Outsourcing” schoolwork to a friend or online service might seem like a convenient way for students to meet deadlines, but it is also a type of academic dishonesty. This includes paying someone else to write a paper or take a test on the student’s behalf.

Excessive Collaboration

While each professor will likely have their own policy on group work, forming a study or discussion group can often be a valuable tool for students. However, when students collaborate on assignments to the point that their work is excessively similar, they may find themselves in hot water for academic dishonesty.

Using Your Own Past Work

It can also be considered academic dishonesty for a student to resubmit a past assignment that was completed for a previous class. Even if the paper is 100% the student’s original work, resubmitting it without asking the professor’s permission may be academic misconduct.

Using Sources and Citations Dishonestly

Another way that students can commit academic misconduct is to fabricate citations to meet an assignment’s requirements. Some people may also use an excessive amount of sources that say the same thing in order to meet a word count. Both of these actions may be considered academic dishonesty.

What is the most common form of academic dishonesty?

Plagiarism is widely considered to be the most common form of academic dishonesty. This is due to the fact that such a wide range of misconduct can be considered plagiarism, and many students may accidentally plagiarize without intending to cheat.

What is the punishment for academic dishonesty?

Academic dishonesty can result in severe discipline, such as failing a class or assignment, being placed on probation, or even being expelled from a college or university. Additionally, suppose students engage in academic misconduct while working on a university project with an outside sponsor. In that case, they could face fines and lawsuits, and the university might lose future funding and projects.

For this reason, it is best to avoid even the appearance of misconduct. However, if you’ve been accused of academic dishonesty, an education lawyer can help you fight the charges against you. Each university will have its own policies and procedures in place for student discipline, and you generally will be entitled to receive a hearing of some sort before being expelled or otherwise disciplined. 

An education lawyer can present arguments in your favor to show that you did not engage in academic dishonesty or that you did not do so intentionally in the case of accidental plagiarism. In some situations, the best argument may be that, although you did behave dishonestly, your actions were not bad enough to warrant expulsion. Each case is different, so it’s essential that you strategize with an experienced education attorney to ensure the best results possible. 

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