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Academic integrity

Academic integrity, plagiarism and cultural differences explained
Academic integrity

Academic integrity is the core set of five values and principles that are the foundation of the University’s mission. These five core values underpin how students act and behave and adherence to them is a measure of the value of their degree. If students are not living up to the high standards expected of students and staff, they compromise the worth of their university education.

Academic integrity involves the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility.


An academic community of integrity advances the quest for truth and knowledge by requiring intellectual and personal honesty in learning, teaching, research and service.


An academic community of integrity fosters a climate of mutual trust, encourages the free exchange of ideas, and enables all to reach their highest potential.


An academic community of integrity establishes clear standards, practices and procedures and expects fairness in the interactions of students, faculty and administrators.


An academic community of integrity recognises the participatory nature of the learning process, and honours and respects a wide range of opinions and ideas.


An academic community of integrity upholds personal accountability and depends upon action in the face of wrongdoing.

Further information

For further information about academic integrity, how to avoid plagiarism, how to reference correctly and university policies concerning plagiarism, go to the

CDU Referencing Guide: Plagiarism

Visit Academic integrity at CDU


Plagiarism is presenting, without any form of acknowledgment, the ideas or words of another writer as if they were your own. This is more than just another form of cheating. It is literary theft. It is stealing someone else's work.

The referencing and citation of sources is a fundamental convention of scholarly research and publication. Acknowledging your sources is an opportunity to establish your credibility as an academic. It allows you to demonstrate wide reading and familiarity with current ideas. It also allows other academics to follow up sources of interest, which they may, in turn, use in their own research practice. In this way, you contribute to the advancement of your field with academic integrity.

Without an active commitment to intellectual honesty, scholarship becomes meaningless.

Plagiarism involves

Failure to credit the source

Using an author’s work (published or unpublished) without properly crediting the author. This includes paraphrasing someone else’s work without acknowledging the source.

Presenting work of others as your own

It is now relatively easy to find essays and written material online that could be copied and passed off as your own. This is regarded as another form of plagiarism and is in violation of academic integrity.

Unauthorised collaboration (collusion)

This is when students work together to prepare an assignment that is then submitted by each individual as their own work. Obviously this is different from students being encouraged to work together on a group project and asked to collaborate.

Your responsibilities as an author

As a student you are expected to pay scrupulous attention to acknowledging where your ideas for your essay come from.

This means more than just documenting the relevant sources. It means acknowledging:

  • key ideas (including methods, maps, diagrams, graphs, tables and so on)
  • direct quotations
  • paraphrased material
  • any information that you did not think of for yourself.

For more detailed information on how to acknowledge your sources fully and properly go to paraphrasing, summarising and quoting.

Some tips to avoid plagiarism

  • Cite your source (tell your reader where the information has come from).
  • Ensure that direct quotes use quotation marks or are in block format so that your reader knows where a quote begins and where it ends.
  • When incorporating brief quotes into your own sentences begin with your words then weave your source's words into your sentence.
  • Ensure that you have presented the words exactly as they appear in your source.
  • For paraphrased material, provide acknowledgment as early as possible in your paragraph. It is unwise to draw on someone's work but only give the reference at the end of the paragraph, or when you have finished making your point.
  • Be extra careful with material taken from the internet.
Cultural differences

The diverse cultural backgrounds of our students bring different understandings of scholarship and academic practice; this may lead them to unwittingly commit plagiarism.

Some cultures quote from texts and use ideas from them without referencing them. They use them as a sign of great respect to the author, but their protocol does not dictate that they should reference them.

In western universities, writers show respect for the author by acknowledging their authorship using a referencing system, such as APA, Harvard or Vancouver.

Did you know CDU Language and Learning Advisors offer a range of study support options?


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