Myths about Cheating and Plagiarism

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Myth: Working with others isn't considered cheating.

Fact: Not always, but it depends. 

Generally speaking, you're expected to complete all of your academic work independently unless your instructor has told you otherwise. Therefore, if you work with others on a class assignment that was intended by the instructor to be an individual assessment, the instructor may consider this academic misconduct. 

Always check with the instructor if you aren't sure, and acknowledge the people who helped you on an assignment.

Myth: Copying ideas, copying words or paraphrasing from the Web isn't cheating.

Fact: Copying or using someone else's ideas or words without attribution is always cheating, even if you've paraphrased. 

If you use the Internet or any source in completing a class assignment, you must cite that source within the document and at the end in your bibliography or references. You should engage in this practice even if the instructor doesn't grade for proper citation – get in the habit! 

Myth: Using old exams to study or prepare for a test isn't cheating.

Fact: You cannot use old exams in preparing for or taking a test if it was not explicitly authorized by your instructor. If you come across some old exams for your particular course, ask your instructor if you can use them to study.

Myth: It's not plagiarism if I copy only a sentence or two verbatim.


Fact: If you use any other person's phrasing or actual sentences, regardless of the extent or length, cite your source. This is true for using other people's ideas, too.
If you're not sure, talk to your instructor about the proper citation format.

Myth: If my instructor didn’t say I couldn't do it, then I can.


Fact: Texas State University instructors won't verbalize every unauthorized behavior. As a Bobcat, you're expected to know some of the basics of academic integrity. For example:
  • You must cite your sources.
  • You must complete in-class tests and take-home tests independently.
  • You must complete your own homework assignments.
If you are in doubt about academic integrity, always return to this default position: Produce independent work unless you are told otherwise (or ask your instructor for guidance).