‘Academic integrity’ describes the values held to be essential in university study in the UK. The five core values we work to at the University of Reading are:
You practise academic integrity in your academic writing by working with the five values in mind, and particularly by using correct and accurate referencing. This shows that you can:
The values of academic integrity will influence the way you work in all aspects of your studies at university. For instance:
These are just a few examples, but you will see how academic integrity works in practice by bearing the values in mind as you carry out your studies at university.
You may have used a simplified referencing system at school or college, with citations only given for direct quotes. At university, you need to give a citation whenever you refer to an idea that you derived from your reading. This is the case whether you use a direct quote, a paraphrase, or just a mention, and whether the idea came from a book, journal article, website or other source (published and unpublished). Essentially, if someone else had the idea first and you learnt about it from them, you need to give them an acknowledgement.
There are many different styles of referencing, and you will need to find out which one is used in your department and how to set out your citations and bibliographies. You will need to learn how to cite a variety of sources correctly, and get into the habit of doing this accurately and with attention to detail.
In the UK, critical analysis and building new knowledge are key aims of academic study at university. This means you will be expected:
- to read widely, perhaps beyond what your tutors suggest, so you can gather a range of ideas;
- be critical by questioning everything you read and hear, even what you are told in lectures;
- and draw your own conclusions based on evidence and understanding.
You then need to support these in your writing by reference to what you have read, and to acknowledge the sources with correct citations.