Heroes & Villains

Exploring academic good practices which are essential to mastering your studies at University

How to use this site:

Read the information below first, as it will inform you of what to expect from working through this site. There are eight main sections to the site - each covering all aspects of Academic Honesty and Integrity.

Each section contains information essential to your studies along with quizzes and links to other useful resources. Much of the information is downloadable as a PDF (so that you can print off and read at a time that best suits you). You can of course also save the PDF (or Word document) electronically onto your mobile device.

We urge you to read all information carefully.

A brief description of each section is given below it and is accompanied with direct links. While using this site also consider the other resources the University has to offer, you can access these by clicking on the links below.

Remember to use the Study Chat Facebook window on the right also to post any ideas, questions or solutions you may have!

 

What this site offers for YOU:

The Heroes and Villain’s site will address many aspects of effective study, illustrating the importance of understanding concepts such as: the contested nature of knowledge, making meaning, critical thinking, building argument and the signposting of authorship and ideas in our writing. 

We explode a few myths about academic writing, for example, it is not fully true that we should never put our own ideas in our work. We argue instead that the best academic writing should allow the author to be present in their work, provided the arguments and ideas presented have been developed through careful consideration of the evidence (prioritising the findings and arguments of authorities in the field) and are presented in an academic style.

We also define academic good practices; by contrasting these with ‘academic poor practices’, demonstrating how an incomplete understanding of expectations substantially increases risks of unintentionally committing ‘academic crimes’, such as plagiarism and collusion.

What constitutes plagiarism is by no means straightforward, we aim to show that although few students set out deliberately to steal the ideas of others, lack of understanding of what constitutes plagiarism results in many more students being alleged to have committed plagiarism.

So, we will explore the very nature of plagiarism in an academic setting, and why this has been – and continues to be – such a troublesome area, fraught with misunderstandings.

Likewise, we will explore complexities and pitfalls to be aware of when collaborating by assessing what exactly constitutes acceptable forms of academic collaboration versus unacceptable forms, and legitimate collaboration versus collusion.

A central argument throughout this site, is that with a clear and full understanding of academic good practices (and appropriate planning and time-realism), we can effectively reduce the possibility of committing unintentional plagiarism (or other forms of academic poor practice) to zero.

 

We urge you to read this website carefully. It deals with difficult concepts and is not intended to be read in one sitting.

Instead, we recommend taking your time. Bookmark the site and refer back to it regularly – as you progress through your studies and develop your skills and expertise as a student: as you become more confident as a participant in your ‘learning community.’

Take the various quizzes to test your understandings, and check out the numerous links, such as sister study-skills website, The Study Hub or Library Matters. We have included a number of links to sites containing useful further reading.

Please do let us know what you think! It’s really important to us that we get your feedback on the helpfulness of all the information here. Your constructive feedback will assist us greatly in enhancing the content on this site for students.

Better still, your experiences engaging with your studies could be invaluable: we’d love to document these. Anything you think will be helpful advice for other students would be fantastic to have.

The Sections:

1. Academic Honesty & Intergrity

Are you fed up with being told don’t do this and don’t do that? Wouldn’t it be better to explore what good academic practice is? Well, that’s exactly what this brand new website does! Especially designed for students, it is packed with everything you need to know about good academic conduct and practices.

Read more for information on how to be academic, being part of your academic community and also, check out the 5 ‘fundamental’ values which are key to becoming truly academic as students.

2. Cheating

Do you actually understand what constitutes cheating? Are you 100% sure that you will never cheat? A lot of students don’t know that they are cheating or have cheated - until they get an email accusing them of exactly that. Want to reduce the chances of accidently cheating to zero?

Read more for information on all forms of cheating such as plagiarism and collusion. You can even find Top Tips on how to avoid cheating and do some fun quizzes to test you’ve understood.

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3. Understanding plagiarism

Ok, so you’ve read the above sections but now it’s time to really understand what plagiarism is - and how easy it is to plagiarise without even realising! Many people don’t appreciate how complex plagiarism is: there are in fact many ways in which we can commit it (unintentionally or otherwise!). This section will explore ways to avoid plagiarism, by just a making few simple changes to the way we research and write up our assignments.

Read more to view various scenarios, fun quizzes and loads more!

4. Collaboration and Collusion

What is collaboration and what is collusion? Have you come across these terms before in academia? When is collaboration acceptable and when is it unacceptable? And what exactly is the relationship between collaboration and collusion? These days students commonly work together but often don’t know where acceptable collaboration ends and where collusion or other inappropriate collaboration begins. Do you know? Reap the benefits of legitimate collaboration, and be super-wise so as to never unacceptably collaborate or collude.

Read more to gain a full understanding and test your knowledge!

5. Building an Argument

Have you ever considered how important it is to build your own argument? How important it is to give your own interpretation of the facts and information others have written about? It is, in fact, a fundamental aspect of academic writing! The idea is that you use the ideas of others, to develop carefully considered arguments of your own!

This section explores the best ways to do this, and provides an array of advice to support your academic success.

Read more to find out what assessors are exactly looking for, effective referencing and the logic behind it, how to engage your ‘audience,’ find ‘your voice,’ and generally just produce superb academic work!

6. Being time-realistic

Are you time-realistic with regard to how long it takes to produce good, genuinely academic work? Can you handle multiple deadlines? Did you know that being time-unrealistic can vastly increase risks of plagiarising?

Read for further information on understanding a realistic amount of time to allow for appropriate planning, research and writing-up your assignments. Also find out here about being time-realistic for revision and exams.

7. Understanding Academic Misconduct

The University takes academic misconduct allegations very seriously and therefore have set penalties for this. They range from a formal warming to expulsion.

Readfor advice on what to do if you do receive an academic misconduct allegation and to see Top Tips from Students’ Union Academic Casework Advisers as well as find helpful links to a whole range of other resources.

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