Ensuring academic integrity

Top tips for ensuring academic integrity

Acting with academic integrity and avoiding academic misconduct is important if you want to do well on your degree programme and learn the skills and knowledge you need for your future career. Here are some tips to ensure academic integrity:

Learn about academic integrity

Get to know the basic rules of academic integrity and the specific policies and rules that Heriot-Watt has set. Learn what is considered academic wrongdoing and what will happen if you do it. Make sure you complete the academic integrity module provided on your programme.

Take good care of your time

Plan ahead for your homework, projects, and study sessions. Managing your time well helps keep you from getting stressed out at the last minute, which can lead to cheating or other forms of academic misbehaviour. Attend a session on time management with the Skills Hub.

Learn how to study well

Find out how to find, assess, and use reliable sources for your assignments. The Skills Hub will help you develop key academic skills for successful studying. Instead of taking short cuts or cheating, work on developing good study habits and improve your study skills. Engage with the course material and conversations, and if you need help, talk to your lecturers or tutors. If you have never studied at a British university before, join the Heriot-Watt Introductory Academic Programme.

Use correct citations and references

Learn the citation style (for example, Harvard, APA, IEEE) that your programme requires from your programme leader or your course lecturer, and always give credit to the sources you use in your work. This includes direct quotes, information that has been paraphrased, and ideas or thoughts that come from somewhere else. Learn more about citation and referencing.

Learn the rules of collaboration

Working together can be a great way to learn, but it is important to know the difference between authorised collaboration and unauthorised collaboration (also known as collusion). Follow your lecturer’s rules for group work and make sure that everything you do is original and correctly cited and referenced.

For guidance on how to work effectively in a group and the tools to help you, find more information on the Group working section of the Skills Hub.

Ask for help when you need it

If you are having trouble with course material, talk to your programme leader or your course lecturer first. You can also make an appointment with someone from the Global Effective Learning Service. This service aims to enhance learning and support you through the provision of classroom-based workshops and one-to-one appointments. The Academic Writing Centre also provides workshops and individual consultations to help you perform to the best of your ability during your degree programme. During these sessions you can check that you understand how lecturers expect you to interpret assignment task instructions and find out what lecturers are looking for in your coursework assignments.

Dealing with stress

If you are struggling with your studies, speak to one of the student success advisors. With the benefit of recent experience and successful study at Heriot-Watt, the student success advisors are able to advise you from a position of really knowing what it is like being a student here and can offer advice based on their own experiences. They also have an overview of the other support resources available at Heriot-Watt and can point you in the right direction if you need it. Student Wellbeing Services aim to provide a range of support, guidance, and activities to help you to be your best and get the most from your university experience.

Get to know your personal tutor

Every student has a member of academic staff allocated to them as a personal tutor who will be a key source of advice, guidance, and support during your time at Heriot-Watt. Your personal tutor is your first point of contact if you need advice on any issue, both academic and non-academic, and can refer you to other support services where relevant for non-academic matters. Personal tutors provide a clear point of contact for you throughout your degree.

And finally...

By following these tips you will be able to act with academic integrity, improve your learning experience, and make sure that your academic achievements are a true reflection of your skills and hard work.