Academic Integrity

It is important when you are writing a piece of work that it is clear which words or ideas are yours and which came from someone else.

When you are writing a piece of University work you will almost always need to include sections or ideas from other people’s work. This can be from books, the internet or from lectures. This is standard academic practice. It is important that whoever is reading the work is clear which words or ideas are yours and which came from someone else. This is known as referencing.

Coventry University uses the APA Referencing Style to reference other people's ideas, text, or diagrams. If you started your course before the 1st September 2020, you may continue to use the Coventry University Guide to Referencing in Harvard style until you graduate. If you study a Law course you will use OSCOLA. For support and advice on this, see the online referencing guidance or contact your Academic Liaison Librarian.

If you do not reference properly, even by mistake, it will be treated as plagiarism. The University views plagiarism as cheating. It is possible to plagiarise written work, ideas, images, sounds, computer code, performance, or other work. Anything which you present as your own which is in fact somebody else’s work is plagiarism.

In General:

  • Always give yourself time to check your work thoroughly (and, if you like, to submit a draft to Turnitin), before you submit it for assessment. Students who push deadlines to the limit risk cutting corners and breaking the rules.
  • You should check your course’s specific requirements to make sure you understand what is asked of you

Examples Of Plagiarism:

  • Copying and submitting the work of a fellow student
  • Creating a piece of work by cutting and pasting various sections of text and/or images found on the Internet into a document without referencing the sources
  • Unacknowledged paraphrasing from someone else’s work
  • Including pictures, diagrams or charts in your work without explaining where they came from
  • Resubmitting work you have already had marked or may be being marked on another module at the same time

It is your responsibility to understand what is expected of you whilst you are a student at Coventry University. You can learn about good academic practice by attending the appropriate lectures, reading study guides, attending workshops at the Centre for Academic Writing and asking your tutors for guidance if you are not sure.

How Can I Avoid Plagiarism?

Every course or faculty handbook has guidelines on the appropriate way to reference the work of others. It is important that you read and understand these.

If you have any queries about the appropriate way to reference other people’s work ask your personal tutor or module leader for advice. You can also get help from the library and the Centre for Academic Writing (CAW). If you have been accused of plagiarism you should contact your Students’ Union Advice Service for advice immediately by completing an Enquiry Form.

As a general guide, be aware that in all the following circumstances you must include a correct reference when:

  • quoting sections from a book
  • ‘paraphrasing’ or summarising someone else’s argument
  • using another student’s notes (even in group work projects)
  • including points from lecture notes
  • using graphs or illustrations that you did not create
  • copying computer code


This occurs when two or more students work together in the preparation and production of work which is ultimately submitted by each in an identical, or substantially similar, form and/or is represented by each to be the product of his or her individual efforts. 

The University will see this as an offence whether it is done deliberately or not. You could even be found guilty of collusion if another student copies your work without your permission, if you have knowingly given them access to the work.

How Can I Avoid Collusion?

  • Make sure you do not share your work with other students
  • If the assessment is a piece of group work, make sure (by checking with your tutor/lecturer and course handbooks) that you understand what the rules are.
  • If the assessment is an individual piece of work, it is acceptable to discuss ideas and strategies with fellow students. However, never help a fellow student to produce work for an individual piece of assessment. Not only will you deprive them of the learning opportunity, you could also both be liable for collusion. All individual work must be the sole work of the individual concerned.
  • Likewise, never send or show your work to a fellow student, even your best friend. It is your responsibility to ensure that no-one else copies your work and you can never be 100% sure that your friend will not be tempted to use your work

Where Can I Go For More Help?

Centre For Academic Writing (CAW):

CAW offers a wide range of academic support.  You can visit them in person by going to the Frederick Lanchester Annex, CV1 5DD. You can also call them on: 024 7688 7902 or email:


Lanchester Library

The library offers information literacy sessions to students at all levels, including advice on good academic practice and how students can avoid it. All Subject Librarians are happy to make one-to-one appointments with students, whenever they need help.

You can find more information on what resources and support are available at Lanchester Library by visiting the University’s website.


Your Faculty

Contact your Faculty Support Office to ask if there are any workshops, study groups or written materials you can access with more information about good academic practice and how to avoid collusion and plagiarism. 

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