Graduate School Handbook Part 5 - Personal conduct and expectations

Information about personal conduct and academic integrity.

Regulations about personal conduct

PGR5.1 Responsibilities of Postgraduate Researchers

PGR5.1.1R The rights of PGRs to supervision, tuition, resources, assessment, certification and conferment of an award are subject to remaining in good standing with the University.

PGR5.1.2R PGRs are individually responsible for providing the University with such information as it requires for admission, registration and the collection of fees, for the certification of credit and awards, and for any other purpose connected with the University’s functions.

PGR5.1.3R PGRs are required to comply with the written terms and conditions of their registration on the award, supplied with their formal offer at admission.  Non compliance with these terms and conditions may result in withdrawal of registration.

PGR5.2 Compliance with University policies – personal academic integrity

PGR5.2.1R PGRs are individually responsible for their own conduct and are required to act with integrity in relation to the production and representation of academic research and outputs, and in acknowledging the contributions of others in their work.  They are subject to the requirements of the University’s Code of Good Research Conduct and the Assessment Offences Policy, as well as the University’s policy about Intellectual Property Rights.

(See also Part 10 of this Handbook: Research Governance; research conduct and expectations, and Part 15 Investigation of Assessment Offences)

PGR5.2.2 Postgraduate researchers are also subject to the requirements of other published University policies.   These include but are not limited to: the current terms and conditions of the University; non-academic student policies such as the student conduct policy and the tuition fees policy; relevant corporate policies, and the IT acceptable use and security policies.

Further information and guidance

What is academic integrity and why does it matter?

Academic integrity is a fundamental principle of intellectual honesty to which all members of the academic community must adhere.  All researchers should acknowledge their debt to the originators of the ideas, words, and data which form the basis for their own work. Passing off another’s work as your own (i.e. plagiarism) is not only poor scholarship; it is unethical and can have serious consequences for your future career.  It also undermines the standards of the University and the degrees it awards.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, with or without their consent, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement.  All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition.

You must always acknowledge others’ work or ideas in your work.  This does not just apply to text based material, but also to other media such as computer code, illustrations, graphs etc. It applies equally to published text and data drawn from books and journals, and to unpublished text and data, whether from lectures, theses or other students’ work. You must also attribute text, data, or other resources downloaded from websites.

Forms of plagiarism

Verbatim (word for word) quotation without clear acknowledgement
Quotations must always be identified as such by the use of either quotation marks or indentation, and with full referencing of the sources cited. It must always be apparent to the reader what is your own independent work, and where you have drawn on someone else’s ideas and language.

Cutting and pasting from the Internet without clear acknowledgement
Information derived from the Internet must be adequately referenced and included in the bibliography.  It is important to evaluate carefully all material found on the Internet, as it is less likely to have been through the same process of scholarly peer review as published sources.

Paraphrasing the work of others by altering a few words and changing their order, or by closely following the structure of their argument is plagiarism if you do not give due acknowledgement to the author whose work you are using. A passing reference to the original author in your own text may not be enough; you must ensure that you do not create the misleading impression that the paraphrased wording or the sequence of ideas is entirely your own.

Inaccurate citation
It is important to reference or cite correctly, according to the conventions of your discipline. As well as listing your sources (i.e. in a bibliography), you must indicate, using a footnote or an in-text reference, where a quoted passage comes from. Additionally, you should not include anything in your references or bibliography that you have not actually consulted.  If you cannot gain access to a primary source you must make it clear in your citation that your knowledge of the work has been derived from a secondary text.
As a PGR it is assumed that you are already familiar with the referencing conventions for your discipline and this is your responsibility.  However if you are unsure how to reference correctly for your subject field you should consult your Director of Studies and use guidance available on the UWE Library resources web pages.

Use of material written by professional agencies or other persons
You must not make use of professional agencies in the production of your work nor submit material which has been written for you even with the consent of the person who has written it.  It is fundamental to your intellectual training and development that you should undertake the research process unaided.

You must not submit work for assessment that you have already submitted (partially or in full) to fulfil the requirements of another degree course or examination, unless this is specifically provided for in the specific regulations for your programme. Where earlier work by you is citable, i.e. it has already been published, you must reference it clearly.

Other types of assessment offences

Any of the following will also be investigated under PGR assessment offence regulations where found within work submitted for assessment:

  • Fabrication
    Deliberately making up research results/data, including documentation and participant consent and presenting them as if they were real;
  • Falsification
    Manipulating research processes or changing or omitting data, imagery or consents without good cause, such that the research is not appropriately represented in the research record;
  • Misrepresentation
    The misrepresentation of data: deliberately, recklessly or negligently presenting a flawed interpretation of data; undisclosed duplication of publication.

Practical support and other resources

  • The Graduate School runs researcher skills development workshops about copyright and your thesis which PGRs are encouraged to attend.  There are also workshops provided by UWE Library Services on searching and organising your literature and on managing long documents in Word 2010, which include an introduction to ‘Refworks’ – a reference management tool widely used at UWE.
  • UWE Library Services also run training workshops on good practice in paraphrasing, how to avoid plagiarism, and referencing styles, together with other study skills training.
  • See also part 10 of this Handbook: Research conduct and expectations.

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