Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity can be defined as "compliance with ethical and professional principles, standards, practices and consistent system of values, that serves as guidance for making decisions and taking actions in education, research and scholarship" (NAIN Lexicon of Common Terms).

Our awarding body, QQI, sets out further guidance regarding Academic Integrity, and their National Academic Integrity Network continues to work towards a sector-wide strategy to ensure academic integrity is maintained in the Irish Higher Education context.

Our Academic Impropriety Policy is set out in our Quality Assurance Handbook, Part B, Section 3.3.

Table of Contents:


Academic Impropriety Committee

The Academic Impropriety Committee convenes as required throughout the academic year. The purpose of the Committee is to assess if Academic Impropriety has occurred in cases put before it (Quality Assurance Handbook, Part B, Section 3.3.8).
Lecturers or invigilators are responsible for compiling the necessary documentation to raise a suspicion to the Committee for their review. A case cannot be investigated without this documentation.
Learners are presumed innocent until a suspicion has been reviewed and academic impropriety has been identified by the Committee. Only the Secretary of the Committee has the authority to input an 'Academic Impropriety' finding on a learner's record, following the determination of the Committee that, on the balance of probability, that academic impropriety has occurred.
The Committee membership comprises members of the academic faculty, library staff, the Quality Assurance Officer, a learner representative, and the Assessments & Regulations Manager (or an appropriate nominee, as Chair).

FAQ Quick-Guide for students invited to a meeting with the Academic Impropriety Committee.


Why is Academic Integrity Important?

Academic Integrity is important for a number of levels. Academic Integrity is more than simply referencing with the right full-stop in the right place, it is responsibly crediting other's work where appropriate, allowing others to verify information and undertake further research themselves, and enabling an examiner to understand the level of understanding a learner has regarding a topic.

Breaches of academic integrity can have significant negative impacts on students and learners, on an institution and its lecturers, and on a national level:
Breakdown of the negative impacts of academic impropriety on learners, institutions and the public. 


Academic Integrity in Online Exams

Academic Integrity is important to maintain in every assessment, and online exams are no different.

Although some Online Exams are taken in an Open Book environment, students must still adhere to the assessment principles to make their exam sitting valid and meaningful.

Proctoring software will be employed on online exams, details will be circulated to students directly.

Online Exam Academic Integrity 


Academic Integrity Resources

DBS Library referencing guide

DBS Library's Academic Support Classes

Computing/ ICT (coding) Referencing Guide

External links

QQI on Academic Integrity (link to external site)

All Aboard Referencing Tutorial (link to external tutorial)

When does Proof-reading become Plagiarism? (link to external article) - "Getting someone else to write an essay is clearly cheating, but what if a student has another person proofread their work?"

WHY We Reference (link to external article) - A brief article on Referencing and Citations, the WHY not the HOW: 'One risk of focusing on how to reference instead of why we ask learners to reference is that learners "are misled about plagiarism because they associate it with correct citations, not with how to handle the ideas being cited."'

Contract Cheating - Substantiating Contract Cheating (link to external resource) - key principles for reviewing assessments for determining whether they were written by external agents.

'Patchwriting' as distinct from Plagiarism (link to external resource) - an article contextualising a subset of plagiarism, called 'patchwriting', within the professional context.