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Dishonest Practice Information for Students

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What is dishonest practice?

Dishonest practice is seeking to gain for yourself, or assisting another person to gain, an academic advantage by deception or other unfair means. The most common form of dishonest practice is plagiarism.

Dishonest practice in relation to work submitted for assessment (including all course work, tests and examinations) is taken very seriously at the University of Otago.

All students have a responsibility to understand the requirements that apply to particular assessments and also to be aware of acceptable academic practice regarding the use of material prepared by others. Therefore it is important to be familiar with the rules surrounding dishonest practice at the University of Otago; they may be different from the rules in your previous place of study.

Any student involved in dishonest practice, whether intentional or arising through failure to take reasonable care, will be subject to the University's Dishonest Practice Procedures which contain a range of penalties.

If you are ever in doubt concerning what may be acceptable academic practice in relation to assessment, you should clarify the situation with your lecturer before submitting the work or taking the test or examination involved.

This website is designed to inform you, respond to your questions about dishonest practice, and help you comply with practices and policies of the University of Otago.

In addition to browsing the pages of this website, you can also watch a short movie which gives an overview of dishonest practice and how it is handled at the University of Otago.

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Forms of dishonest practice

The policy on Dishonest Practice applies but is not limited to:

1. Plagiarism - The policy on Dishonest Practice makes a distinction between unintentional plagiarism (Level One) and intentional plagiarism (Level Two).

a. Although not intended, unintentional plagiarism is treated as dishonest academic practice. It is usually due to lack of care, naivety, and/or to a lack to understanding of acceptable academic behaviour. This kind of plagiarism can be easily avoided.

b. Intentional plagiarism is gaining academic advantage by copying or paraphrasing someone else’s work and presenting it as your own, or helping someone else copy your work and present it as their own. It also includes self-plagiarism which is when you use your own work in a different paper or programme without indicating the source. As with other dishonest practice intentional plagiarism is treated very seriously by the University.

2. Unauthorised Collaboration occurs when you work with, or share work with, others on an assessment which is designed as a task for individuals and in which individual answers are required. This form does not include assessment tasks where students are required or permitted to present their results as collaborative work. Nor does it preclude collaborative effort in research or study for assignments, tests or examinations; but unless it is explicitly stated otherwise, each student’s answers should be in their own words. If you are not sure if collaboration is allowed, check with your lecturer.

3. Impersonation is getting someone else to participate in any assessment on your behalf, including having someone else sit any test or examination on your behalf.

4. Falsification is to falsify the results of your research; presenting as true or accurate material that you know to be false or inaccurate.

5. Use of Unauthorised Materials. Unless expressly permitted, notes, books, calculators, computers or any other material and equipment are not permitted into a test or examination. Make sure you read the examination rules carefully. If you are still not sure what you are allowed to take in, check with your lecturer.

6. Assisting Others to Commit Dishonest Practice includes impersonating another student in a test or examination; writing an assignment for another student; giving answers to another student in a test or examination by any direct or indirect means; and allowing another student to copy answers in a test, examination or any other assessment.

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