When you write a piece of work it’s important to be clear which words or ideas are yours and which came from
You will almost always need to include ideas or information from other people’s work in your own academic
writing. This can be from journals, books, webpages, lecture slides, and so on.
It is important that whoever is reading the work is clear which words or ideas are yours and which came from
someone else. This is known as referencing.
Coventry University uses the APA Referencing
Style to reference other people's ideas, text, or diagrams. If you started your course before the
1st September 2020, you may continue to use the Coventry University Guide to Referencing in Harvard Style until you graduate. If you
study a Law course you will use OSCOLA.
For support and advice on this, see the online referencing guidance or contact your Library team here:
If you do not reference properly, even by mistake, it will be treated as academic misconduct. Academic misconduct
is when you don’t uphold academic integrity and breach the university’s regulations. The University
views this as cheating.
Take time to check your work thoroughly (and, if you like, to submit a draft to
Turnitin), before you submit it. Students who submit at the last minute risk cutting corners and
breaking the rules.
Check your course’s specific requirements to make sure you understand what is asked of you.
What are the different types of academic misconduct?
Plagiarism is where you submit the work of others without properly recognising that it is someone
else’s work and trying to pass it as your own work. It could include things like:
Copying and submitting the work of a fellow student.
Creating a piece of work by cutting and pasting sections of text and/or images, other
found online, into a document without referencing the sources.
Paraphrasing from a book or journal without referencing, for example changing one or two
words in a sentence or paragraph, so it looks different without changing the meaning or
Including pictures, diagrams or charts in your work without explaining where they came
Resubmitting work you have already had marked or may be being marked on another module at
the same time (self-plagiarism).
Collusion is when two or more students work together on something which is ultimately submitted
by each in a substantially similar or identical form and/or is represented by each student to be
their individual work.
The University will see this as an offence whether it is deliberate or not. You could be found
guilty of collusion if another student copies your work without your permission, especially if
you shared your work knowing they might copy it.
Asking someone else to complete an assessment, often in exchange for payment. This could be:
something as simple as giving another student money or buying them something
paying a company (who often try to advertise themselves in a very professional and
official way, even though this is now illegal)
hiring a private tutor to write your assessment or provide a large amount of the
Did you know that companies who you pay for writing an assessment often blackmail students
into paying more money with threats of telling the university about how your assignment was
Impersonation is asking someone else, like another student, a friend, a former teacher, or a
family member, to take a test or exam for you. Remember that exams and tests are designed to
test your own knowledge and skills, so it should only ever be you who completes an assessment or
exam that contributes to your degree.
Falsifying or fabrication is submitting or including data that has been purposefully changed from
what it should show. This can include:
Inventing data without performing an experiment or survey
Altering data, pictures, documents, reports, and presentations within your assessment
During an examination where you are required to work completely by yourself, you will commit
academic misconduct if you:
Have unauthorised materials in an exam
Have unauthorised devices such as a mobile phone and electronic watches in the
room/assessment space, whether switched off or not
Communicate with another student or anyone other than the invigilator during the exam
Continue working after the exam has finished
How Can I Avoid Academic Misconduct?
It is your responsibility to understand what is expected of you when submitting work as a student at Coventry
University and Coventry University London or at a CU Group University. You can learn about good academic practice by
attending lectures and workshops at the Centre for Academic Writing, reading study guides, visiting the Library,
and asking your tutors for guidance.
Every course or faculty handbook has guidelines on the proper way to reference. It is important
to read and understand these.
Remember, you must include a correct reference when:
Quoting sections from a book.
‘Paraphrasing’ or summarising someone else’s argument.
Using another student’s notes (even in group work projects).
Including points from lecture notes.
Using graphs or illustrations that you did not create.
Copying computer code.
If the assessment is group work, check the rules with your tutor/lecturer, and in your
You can discuss ideas and strategies with other students, but all individual work must be
the sole work of the student submitting it.
Never send or show your work to a fellow student, even your best friend. It is your
responsibility to ensure that no-one else copies your work.
Do not share or lend your laptop to anyone, use OneDrive to store notes and drafts, and
log out of public computers after you’ve finished using them.
Contract cheating companies often use social media or WhatsApp to target university students. Be
mindful of what you are seeing and be promised. Use your critical analysis skills to think
whether what a company or individual is offering helps you to demonstrate academic integrity or
whether it breaches the academic regulations.
We know that sometimes, with deadlines approaching and other personal circumstances challenging
your ability to complete an assessment, it may seem easier to choose this option, but
don’t. Remember to reach out to the support services available to you including Your Students’ Union Advice Service who can
offer free and independent advice.
Only you can sit an examination that contributes to your degree so you should never ask anyone to
do this for you. If you are worried about an upcoming exam or are too ill to sit an exam, reach
out to the support services available to you including Your Students’ Union Advice Service who can
offer free and independent advice.
If you are struggling to gather the data or research you need for your assessment (such as your
dissertation or a research project), speak with your academic team to get their help and
expertise to help you. It’s always better to ask for help rather than taking what may seem
like the easy option of making it up and hoping nobody will notice.
Follow the rules of the exam, whether it’s an online exam, or on campus . Check that your
electronic equipment is well away from your assessment space, and don’t take any notes with you
to the assessment unless you have been told you can do so beforehand. During the exam, only
speak to the invigilator.
The Consequences of Breaching Academic Integrity Standards
If you commit academic misconduct, you are not demonstrating integrity or that you have the knowledge and skills
to earn your degree fairly. Students who commit academic misconduct weaken the value of the degree for others.
Remember, your degree shows future employers your knowledge and skills. It won’t take an employer long to
realise your true capabilities if you try to cheat your way into a job. Value your degree.
If you are found to have committed academic misconduct this could have serious consequences within the university
and can include:
Having to resubmit an assessment
Have to redo an entire module
Being temporarily suspended from your course
Being expelled from the university
We know that sometimes in the lead up to assessment submissions, problems may happen which affect your ability to
complete assessments as normal. At these times, reaching out for support can be difficult when you’re already
struggling with other problems. But using shortcuts to finish your work isn’t the answer and can cause you
problems later. Remember there’s plenty of support services in the university, including Your Students Union
Advice Service who can provide free and independent advice.
A proof reader is someone who highlights errors, like spelling mistakes, in a document. Proof readers don’t
make corrections or edit the work. It’s your choice whether or not to use a proof-reader.
5 things to know when hiring a proof-reader:
You are responsible for your work - ALWAYS keep a copy of your work before proof-reading.
A proof-reader cannot add new material or rewrite anything as this is not proof-reading and will be
classed as academic misconduct as you are paying someone to do your work.
There is a list of recommended proof readers here.
Only approved proof-readers can be used without prior permission from a module leader, course director or
You cannot use a proof-reader for certain modules, like Academic English modules. This information should
be included in the module description.
You can read the full university proofreading policy here so you can make an informed decision
on whether you think a proof reader will help you based on the way in which you are permitted to hire one.
Where Can I Go For Academic Help?
The Centre for Academic Writing (CAW):
CAW offers a wide range of academic support. They offer 1-2-1’s, workshops, free online
guides and resources and more. You can visit them in person by going to the Frederick Lanchester Annex, CV1 5DD.
You can also call them on: 024 7688 7902 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Library offers information literacy sessions to students at all levels, including advice on good academic
practice and how students can avoid academic misconduct. The Library has a team of Academic Liaison Librarians who
offer both class teaching on information skills, workWe know that sometimes in the lead up to assessment
submissions, problems may happen which affect your ability to complete assessments as normal. At these times,
reaching out for support can be difficult when you’re already struggling with other problems. But using
shortcuts to finish your work isn’t the answer and can cause you problems later. Remember there’s plenty of
support services in the university, including Your Students Union Advice Service who can provide free and
independent advice.shops on topics like referencing and also 1-1 support to
students. Each course has an assigned Librarian who can help with:
Using Locate to search for books
Using databases to search for journal articles and specialist information
Advanced searching techniques
Evaluating information and choosing the best resources for your coursework
Academic integrity including referencing and reference management tools, such as RefWorks and EndNote
Take a look at our Libguides for more
information on booking both workshops and also 1-1s.
You can find more information on what resources and support are available at your campus library, visit the pages
The Languages Learning Centre:
The Languages Learning Centre - download
and resources for multiple languages, including English, and find good quality websites that can improve
your language skills.
SIGMA delivers mathematical and statistical support to all Coventry University students no matter what subject or
assessment they are completing. You can find out more information about SIGMA including the type of support they
offer, how to contact them and where they are located via the student portal.
Contact your Faculty
Support Office to ask if there are any workshops, study groups or written materials you can access with
more information about good academic practice and how to avoid collusion and plagiarism.
There is a Good Academic Practice Quiz on Moodle here.
What If I’m Accused of Academic Misconduct?
Contact Your Students’ Union Advice Service for advice immediately by completing an Enquiry Form. Please attach copies of your invite letter, your Turnitin report if
possible and any other evidence file. You can find more information and advice from Your Advice Service about academic misconduct here.