Graphic illustration with paper and pen
September 5, 2018
3 mins read

Academic integrity

Academic integrity, the term you might have breezed over on syllabus day, is actually a really important aspect of university work—one that goes beyond just plagiarism.

You see, at UBC, you will be expected to conduct a lot of research for your work, which will either be an expansion of existing ideas or a brand new perspective of your own.

No matter your faculty, you’ll be a part of an academic community that is pushing the boundaries of knowledge and they need your help to do it (like how peanut butter needs jelly to be complete). Integrity means that you will do this with honesty and a moral standing that you’ll only take credit for your own ideas.

How to create new ideas

Feel empowered that you’re at UBC because you have a level of intelligence that this institution wants to help foster. This means that you’re ready to, and expected to, bring new concepts to the table.

A new idea doesn’t come from nowhere.

All of the work you do here will be building upon the ideas of those before you. Your new approach or perspective on a subject is a fantastic addition to prior research and, working in tandem, you’ll be able to find a new angle.

How to do this:
  • It’s never too early to go to office hours for feedback and guidance on how to conduct research for your assignment. If you need help you are supported academically by professors and TA’s in your courses.

  • Improve your academic writing by booking a writing consultation with the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication. Peer reviewers will be able to help your writing process.

Understand citation expectations

Citations should not be seen as a burden to your work but rather an integral part of it. You’ll want to give credit to others in your field who have done work before you and helped to inform your own perspective. Citing is basically giving credit where credit is due.

Cite unless told otherwise.

Every article you read, every picture you use, every podcast you listen to needs to be given credit if it is used in a graded assignment. University is about building on old ideas from new angles and your instructor needs to know where you’re getting information from.

How to do this:
  • If you need help on the various citation forms and when to use them, there are plenty of resources to guide you.
  • Cite as you go! It’s a nightmare to try and fish through your browsing history to find that one article you quoted from.
  • Make sure to carve out time at the end of your project to make your bibliography.

Not to sound ominous, but it needs to be stated that there are serious consequences to plagiarism. Being a university student means you must submit original work—you can’t claim the work of others to be your own.   

Learn how to research properly

Wikipedia is great for many things, but unfortunately it’s not an accepted resource tool. Research takes time as you wade through information to find the best ones to support your argument.

The UBC Library is your best friend.

Learning how to research properly will be a skill that you'll be able to use beyond your time at UBC. 

How to do this:
  • If you need help with research, you can use all the resources available to you at the library.
  • They have indexes where you can search for research by your specific subject.
  • Their collections of books & media is vast and available to use.
  • If you need peer-reviewed articles, you can easily search for those.
  • You can personally ask a subject librarian for research assistance.

You are here to help expand knowledge, understanding, and points of view. And, while academic integrity can seem intimidating, it’s not as scary (or boring) as it sounds. It’s a huge part of the community that you’re now a part of—one that wants to see you thrive in your studies.