What is Academic Dishonesty – Useful Guide

What is Academic Dishonesty

The professors and administration consider any effort by a student to portray as his or her own work something which he or she has not created as a severe violation. If students duplicate other works during an examination or turn in a paper or assignment prepared, in whole or in part, by someone else, they are deemed to have cheated. If students copy information from books, periodicals, or other sources without recognizing and crediting such sources, or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them, they are guilty of plagiarism, whether deliberate or not.

Academic Dishonesty Defined

Academic dishonesty is defined as committing or contributing to dishonest action by individuals taking part in teaching, learning, conducting research, and other academic activities. Determinants of academic dishonesty are not only students but all those involved in the academic environment.

Academic Dishonesty Examples

Here are some instances of academic fraud.

Instances of Academic Fraud


Cheating is defined as the use of illegal information, resources, technologies, sources, or methods to complete academic tasks. Copying during an exam that is supposed to be done separately, for example, is an illegal activity that is considered cheating. A student is regarded to be enabling or contributing to cheating if he or she enables another student to copy from his or her work.

The following are examples of cheating.

  1. In writing papers, producing reports, solving problems, or completing other tasks, use of sources other than those allowed by the teacher;
  2. Acquisition of exams or other academic materials belonging to a member of the university faculty or staff without authorization;
  3. Any conduct that is explicitly banned by a faculty member in the course curriculum or during a class discussion.


Plagiarism is the act of taking, and passing off as one’s own, another person’s words, designs, art, songs, or other works without recognizing the source or, if necessary, getting permission from them. Copying and pasting content from websites without properly citing them is known as plagiarism.

When the source is not acknowledged, the following are considered types of plagiarism:

  1. Copying another person’s thoughts or words word for word.
  2. The mosaic (the sprinkling of one’s own words here and there while essentially duplicating someone else’s work).
  3. The paraphrase (rewriting someone else’s work while keeping their main concept or principle).
  4. Creating fake references (inventing or counterfeiting sources).
  5. Using someone else’s work as one’s own.
  6. Omitting quotation marks.

Fabrication or falsification

Fabrication or falsifications are two terms used to describe the illegal production or modification of academic papers or activities. In particular, fabrication or falsification occurs when one artificially creates data in place of data gathered from a real experiment, or when the source of data is invented.


Sabotage occurs when someone interferes with or damages someone else’s work to prevent them from completing their academic assignment. As an example, sabotage occurs when one tries to undermine someone else’s experiment, artwork, or design. It is also possible to define academic sabotage as failing to participate as needed in a team effort.

Misuse of academic Materials

Misuse of academic resources may take many forms, including but not limited to:

  1. Theft or destruction of the library or reference materials, as well as computer programs
  2. Taking or destroying the notes or materials of another student, or having such items in one’s hands without the owner’s consent.
  3. Receiving help in finding or using sources of information in an assignment when the teacher has prohibited such assistance.
  4. Illegal possession, disposal, or usage of exams or examination answer keys.
  5. Alteration, forgery, or falsification without authorization.
  6. Unauthorized exams, papers, or assignments are sold or purchased.

What Factors Contribute to Academic Dishonesty?

The following are some of the most frequent causes for students engaging in academic dishonesty.

Ineffective time management

Managing time effectively is difficult for many college students, especially in the early stage of their studies. Because of sports, extracurricular groups, fraternities and sororities, and other organizations requiring out-of-class time, they may put off studying or working on projects until it is too late. To avoid failure, cheating becomes attractive.

Academic responsibilities

Students may be required to maintain a certain grade point average in order to be eligible for merit-based aid, participate in sports, or continue to receive family support. Academic deception may even be used by high-achieving students to attain their grade point average goals. Students may resort to dishonest tactics to do better than their peers in curve-graded courses, knowing that only a limited number of As can be awarded.


Large classrooms can make students go unnoticed; if most of their contact is with instructors, they may perceive their teacher as disinterested and aloof. They may justify their dishonest behavior by believing that the teacher is unconcerned with what they do, which may increase their desire to cheat. Since online courses typically have large class sizes and students rarely communicate directly with their professors, this often poses a risk.

Failure to comprehend academic etiquette

For students who haven’t had much experience with academic writing in high school, the “rules” of academic writing may be confusing. Students often believe that internet information is public property, so they don’t need to acknowledge sources, resulting in accidental plagiarism. Instructors and faculty shouldn’t assume that their learners will “know” when they need to make citations. Furthermore, the fact that almost any subject can be found on the internet has undermined students’ ability to critically evaluate sources. Other learners merely trust the first website they find through a Google search, without questioning the precision or bias of the data provided.

Cultural considerations

The learning of academic writing norms may be particularly challenging for foreign students because of the above. Originality, intellectual property, and other concepts are not always agreed upon, and many people need extensive training and experience to learn all the “rules,” particularly if they aren’t the native speakers of English. Additionally, learners whose cultures emphasize collaboration might not know that some tasks require independent approaches.

Assignments with low stakes

While some individuals believe that cheating only happens on high-stakes, it may also happen on low-stakes assignments. Indeed, the absence of grade weight associated with such tasks may promote cheating: learners might infer that because assignments have little significance on their grades, it “doesn’t matter” if they handle them credibly or not. As a result, it’s critical to emphasize to pupils the necessity of being honest on all tasks, large or little. When determining whether academic dishonesty has occurred, the college doesn’t consider that because cheating is a form of academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty and technology

Technological advancement has provided new opportunities for scholars who are committed to cheating. Beyond just copying and pasting from websites, a whole Internet industry has grown up where students can buy essays and pass them off as their own. Wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, may also be used by students to exchange answers during examinations, snap photos of exams with their cellphones, and so on. According to research, using technology produces a “distancing” effect, which reduces pupils’ guilt about cheating.

How Can Academic Dishonesty Be Combated by Faculty and Instructors?

Dishonesty can be prevented in a variety of ways, but no one solution fits all. The professor or instructor may take measures to prevent academic dishonesty at every stage of the learning process, be it by presenting students with additional incentives so they will complete their work honestly or by making the material more difficult.

Here is how faculty and instructors can combat academic dishonesty.

Course administration and syllabus design

Student behavior norms should be communicated to them as early as possible since the earlier they are educated, the higher the chance that they will internalize those standards. Academic integrity norms should be part of the syllabus of professors to prevent this from occurring. As you plan your course, consider establishing the tone for academic dishonesty by explaining what it means, the consequences for those found to be guilty of dishonesty, and the process for reporting such conduct.

If your syllabus contains a large number of collaborative tasks, it may be beneficial to clarify explicitly which assignments are allowed to be completed collaboratively and which assignments must be completed separately. You may also indicate which kinds of cooperation are permissible and which are not (for example, exchanging ideas when brainstorming is OK, but duplicating one another’s exact phrases is not).

Include information in your syllabus on services students can access if they are struggling academically, including tutoring and office hours. Student Counseling Service, which is available to all students, can assist them with issues related to time management, executive function, and other related problems.

Having clear expectations of your students at the beginning of the course will help to establish a strong bond between you and them later. Students will feel more comfortable asking for assistance, and they will know the risks they would face if they disobeyed rules. This could serve as a strong deterrent to dishonest behavior.

Assignment design

Strive for two qualities while writing tasks such as essays and course papers: one must be unique, and the other must be particular. There is a greater likelihood of students being able to locate a pre-written paper on the Internet that meets all of the criteria the more unique and precise the subject you select and the directions you provide. It also eliminates the possibility that students would pass off papers from past years as their own original work by changing paper subjects from year to year.

If an assignment accounts for a significant portion of your student’s final mark (for example, a course paper), you may want to consider utilizing “scaffolding.” Encourage students to work their way up to the final submission by completing smaller, lower-stakes sub-assignments, such as consecutive drafts or mini-papers, before the deadline. In addition to making it more difficult for pupils to cheat (since you will have observed their writing process), it also has the added advantage of decreasing their motivation to cheat (since their grade will not be solely dependent upon the final submission)

In the case of in-class examinations, it may be beneficial to construct several copies of the test, each with a distinct answer key, in order to maximize efficiency. Making it more difficult for students to duplicate one another’s work or exchange answer keys is something as easy and efficient as arranging the questions in a different sequence in various versions of the test.

Preventing Academic Dishonesty Through the Use of Modern Technology

While students have developed more sophisticated cheating methods, educational experts and software developers have developed new tools that help prevent cheating.

There have been several software programs developed to detect plagiarism in student papers. Programs such as these compare submitted work to both the Internet and previously published work and identify words and phrases that are similar. Turnitin is one example of such a program. While these tools can be valuable in some circumstances, keep in mind that no automatic plagiarism checker is 100 per cent accurate. You will need to review student work to determine whether the apparent match detected by the software is actually plagiarism. Several of the plagiarism checkers, including Turnitin, claim ownership rights over submitted work, which could raise questions about intellectual property ownership.

Furthermore, there are techniques for detecting plagiarism after the fact, as well as methods for preventing plagiarism from occurring before it does. Endnote and Zotero are great tools for helping students organize their research materials and properly cite them. This is especially important if students are writing longer papers that include a variety of sources and sources.

What to Do if You Suspect Academic Dishonesty

If you have reason to believe that academic dishonesty has taken place in one of your classes, the University offers a variety of tools that you may use. Undergraduate students should first consult with their academic advisor, who should be their primary point of contact. By logging into Faculty Access and checking at the “Advisor” column in the course roster, you may see which advisor has been assigned to a student in your course. If you have any concerns regarding the College’s disciplinary processes, you may contact the Office of College Community Standards, which is overseen by Assistant Dean of Students Stephen Scott. For graduate students, the relevant area Dean of Students may offer information on the proper disciplinary processes to be followed in their respective fields.

Share this Post