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Academic Integrity


Why study smart?

Studying is central to your time at university. Studying Smart ensures you make the best out of the range of opportunities you have whilst you are a student  - to learn, develop new skills, critically engage with old and new ideas, and contribute to the wider research community.

Whilst at university, you are held to the principles of academic integrity, which is an expectation that students will behave with honesty, respect, trust, fairness and be responsible in the way they carry out and present academic work. You will be contributing to a community of learning, and be expected to use evidence in a way that is honest, accurate and acknowledges the work of others.


Study smart skills and good practice

We have put together 5 key points that are important in developing good academic practice. Follow these to ensure you study smart and avoid academic misconduct.

  1. Why Study Smart? - Be a critical and engaged thinker

  2. Tips and Tools for Studying Smart: Learn how to research, reference and reflect with confidence. Invest in planning & time management, accurate note-taking and referencing. If you are struggling, ask for help.

  3. Support and Wellbeing - Know what to do if things don’t go to plan

  4. Avoiding Academic Misconduct - Understand and follow the rules around academic integrity

  5. Feedback and Feedforward - use the feedback you have to learn and strengthen your academic work


1. Why study smart?

Studying Smart is more than just about avoiding plagiarism, referencing correctly and writing what you think your teacher wants to hear. Studying Smart is being curious about what it means to produce academic work and be a scholar at a university. In your field of study, you are part of a learning community and that’s really exciting!  

As part of a learning community you are responsible for being as critical as you can when building and developing knowledge.

  • Question what you are reading

  • Be critical about common sense understandings and mainstream narratives

  • Think about the context and reliability of sources - could it be Fake News?

  • Connect your work to your own values and experiences - lecturers want to know what you think

Studying Smart also means asking for help when you need it. As part of the University community, there are many different people who can support you, so don’t hesitate to use them. See Support and Wellbeing below.


2. Tips and tools for studying smart

Planning & Time Management

Writing a piece of work and revising can often take longer than you think. Plan your work and revision in advance, putting in interim deadlines if you are working towards multiple deadlines. If you like to put off work, or get easily distracted, the workshops and strategies below will help you recognise this and how to plan accordingly.

Workshops

The University runs a number of workshops focussed on supporting students with a range of academic and wellbeing issues, including ‘Pushing through procrastination’ and ‘Practical Productivity Skills

Useful Resources

  • Google Calendar - you can use this to plan your deadlines

  • Google Keep - make lists and notes, or take photos and record audio to help manage your academic work

  • Freedom - an app that blocks the internet, social media and apps to help avoid distraction

  • Self Control for Mac and Chrome - a free app that helps you avoid distracting websites

Note-taking & Referencing

One key aspect of good essay writing is accurate and structured note-taking. Ensure that you carefully document the source of information including full citation details. If you are noting down quotes, a top tip is to use a different coloured pen, or quotation marks. See below for more ideas.

Workshops

The Library and IT Services run workshops to improve academic skills, including Digital Skills Training such as ‘Where did I read that thing?: Reference management

Useful Resources

  • Library Skills Guide on Referencing

  • University’s Academic Integrity pages signpost you to the Referencing Guides used by your Department, as well as Academic Integrity Tutorials. These will help you gain the skills needed to reference and approach your assignments with confidence. There is also lots of  information about what is expected from your writing and how to use Turnitin. Turnitin is text-matching software to help you identify where your work matches other sources, so that you can reflect on your academic writing.

  • Replay Lecture Capture - videos of presentation slides and audio on a range of different topics including ‘From Note-taking to Note-making’ and ‘Making the most of your lectures’

  • The Writing and Language Skills Centre - offers 1:1 appointments, drop-ins and workshops on all aspects of academic writing


3. Support & wellbeing

If you’re struggling with your writing, planning, or referencing, it’s really important that you seek advice and guidance so you can develop your skills, and do the best you can in your assessments. It is particularly important to avoid Academic Misconduct (see below).

Speak to your supervisor, tutors or module leaders for help and support relating to academic work and use opportunities to get formative feedback.

Also make use of your Academic Liaison Librarians; Writing and Language Skills Centre, and Maths Skills Centre.

Despite the best planning in the world, sometimes things happen that affect your ability to study. If the unexpected happens and there are exceptional circumstances affecting your academic work, make sure to tell someone, for example your supervisor, your Department, your College Tutor, or your student union. It is possible to submit an Exceptional Circumstances claim in the run up to, or up to 7 days after, an assessment. You will need evidence of the circumstances, but this can be submitted at a later date. If your claim is successful, this  could result in an extension, or another opportunity to be assessed. YUSU’s Advice and Support Centre can guide you through the Exceptional Circumstances process.

Workshops

The University runs a number of workshops focussed on supporting students with a range of academic and wellbeing issues, including ‘Pushing through procrastination’ and ‘Using anxiety as a positive

Useful Resources

  • Your supervisor - contact your supervisor for help with your academic work

  • Exceptional Circumstances Guide - a simple guide on exceptional circumstances

  • Wellbeing guidance - the University’s top tips for wellbeing, as well as self-help resources, workshops available to students

  • Disability Support - can offer and arrange academic support and adjustments for students who have a disability or a long-term health condition that has a significant impact on their ability to study

  • Help and Support - on and off campus support for students who need to talk to someone, including the Open Door Team referral form.

  • Independent Advice and Support from your Student Union : YUSU and GSA Advice Services


4. Avoiding academic misconduct

Not planning in advance and managing your time effectively, or poor note-taking, has the potential to lead to academic misconduct. Make sure you Study Smart to avoid finding yourself in this situation.

If  you are contacted by the University about a suspicion of academic misconduct in your work,  the Advice & Support Centre at YUSU and the Graduate Students’ Association (for Postgraduate students) can support you through an Academic Misconduct investigation. Look through our Academic Misconduct page for more information.

Workshops

Workshop on ‘Turnitin: Text-matching software to help check your work is plagiarism free and reflect on your academic writing.

Useful Resources

YUSU Guide on ‘Avoiding academic misconduct


5. Feedback and feedforward

When you get feedback after completing an assessment, you want to know how best to make use of it in future. Ensuring that your feedback is constructive and that you can build on it going forward is really important, so you can prepare for your next assessment with a clear idea of your strengths and areas for improvement.

If the written feedback you receive isn’t entirely clear, then you should always feel able to speak one-to-one with the marker to find out how best to improve going forward. Feedforward doesn’t just have to be written down, nor should it be understood as something static - it is an evolving process, and the best thing you can do for your learning is to consistently check your progress against your targets.

Useful Resources