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Academic Integrity means using high quality, credible sources. It also requires good note-taking, and clear acknowledgement of sources used in your work.
In the academic community it is important to use credible sources of work. When you find a work you should ask the following questions.
Who wrote it?
- The author of a source should be named and should represent a reputable university or research institution.
- An internet search for the author should reveal their academic qualifications and ideally some other publications in the field.
When and where was it published?
- The article should be published in a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal recently enough to be relevant.
- If it is published on a website, check who administers the site. If it is an individual, a commercial organisation or a lobbying group the source may be biased.
What does it say?
- The author should take a balanced approach to their subject, writing precisely and avoiding emotive language.
- They should use discipline-specific language.
How was it supported?
- The author should outline the relevance of their work and provide background information.
- They should explain their methodology or approach.
- They should support their conclusions with evidence.
- They should provide a broad list of relevant references.
Ways to identify high quality, credible sources of information
As you research you topic, you should keep a list of the bibliographic details of the work that you read whenever you take notes.
This approach ensures that when you start drafting your assignment, you do not accidentally report someone else’s ideas as your own. This can happen if you forget to write the reference clearly in your notes. While accidental, this is still considered plagiarism.