Avoiding Infractions

Students around a table looking at a laptop.

We recognize that standards of academic integrity vary in different parts of the world and that the expectations we hold in the United States and at UB may be new to you. Misunderstanding of academic integrity standards is not a valid reason to violate them. Please use this website as a resource and reach out to the Office of Academic Integrity or your individual instructors if you have questions.

Acceptable vs. Unacceptable Student Behavior

Acceptable Behavior Unacceptable Behavior

Asking your professor for help.

Using Chegg, CourseHero, or other websites to get answers to questions you are supposed to answer on your own.

Asking your TA for help.

Getting work from friends who have taken the class before.

Asking a friend to explain a concept.

Copying a friend’s work.

Scheduling a session with a campus-approved tutor (departmental tutor, TASS, CEW).

Paying a service to write a paper or complete an assignment for you.

Watching instructional videos online, as long as these are not prohibited by your instructor (e.g., Khan Academy).

Googling answers online.

Accessing whatever resources your instructor recommends.

Posting your instructor’s materials to any space (website, social media, text message, etc.).

Avoiding Violations of Academic Integrity

Violations of academic integrity occur when we fail to adhere to the general principles outlined above. More generally, we need to respect and give due credit to the work and ideas of others. And we must faithfully represent to others our own efforts in any work we submit. In general, we offer the following advice in order to avoid violating the academic integrity policy:

  • Clarify expectations with your instructor in advance.
  • Give proper attribution when using the exact words or the ideas of others. Failure to do so violates the integrity policy.
  • Avoid using unauthorized online resources, like Chegg, Course Hero, Study Soup, etc. Please ask your instructor what resources are allowed in your course, as many of these are strictly forbidden.
  • Keep print-outs of all materials you consult for your work, with complete citations (including web addresses and the date retrieved for online materials). It does not matter if violations are unintentional; you are still held accountable to the policy.
  • Be sure that your paraphrase substantially rephrases the idea. Paraphrasing means more than simply changing a word here or there.
  • Do not collaborate on assignments unless your instructor explicitly states that working with others is permitted. Even then, be sure to footnote any contributions and the person(s) who should be credited.
  • Never misrepresent work as your own if it (or any part) is not.
  • Do not facilitate integrity violations by others.
  • Do not use any assistance during examinations that is not explicitly authorized by the instructor.

Some types of academic integrity violations are obvious: buying a ready-made term paper and turning it in as your own or copying test answers during an exam. However, other violations may be less obvious. For example, not all instructors allow students to collaborate on homework or receive substantial help from others on projects. When in doubt, discuss the matter with your instructor, just to be sure.

Differences in Common Academic Integrity Norms

Common U.S. Academic Integrity NormsCommon International Academic Integrity Norms

Originality.

Memorization.

Actively pursuing and creating knowledge.

Reproducing/copying texts.

Critiquing others’ ideas and questioning authorities.

Absorbing information.

Creating new documents which push knowledge boundaries.

Practice by summarizing others’ works.

Individual submission of assignments.

Group studying and sharing of notes and other materials.