Academic integrity and writing
The issues of academic integrity and academic writing are closely connected, since writers of academic texts need to acknowledge any source that has been used. There are some key issues that pose difficulties for writers:
New to academic writing or to a specific genre?
If you are new to academic writing as such, or to the particular genre in which you are writing, struggling with the demands placed on your writing increases the risk of plagiarism if you do not know how to provide references, for instance.
To master writing in a specific register is one of the learning aims of university education. A command of academic writing can also be seen as a generic skill acquired within a number of courses and educational programmes at LU. Essays and research papers, as well as many other kinds of documents produced within the academic community, need to follow certain genre-specific formats.
Finding out how to write the kind of text you have been assigned and how to use sources and to provide references are thus essential skills for any writer at university. Read more about those matters in these sections:
Do you find reading in English difficult? Are you new to the subject?
Being new to the language register and to the style expected in an academic essay, non-native writers may need to pay extra attention to aspects of academic integrity. For instance, writers who are not fully proficient in English may find it difficult to produce texts in English that fulfil the requirements concerning correct handling of sources and originality.
A similar risk arises if the subject matter as such is difficult for you to grasp. If you do not fully understand the texts you read, you may find it difficult to draw on them in your writing.
Understanding how texts you read are structured will make it easier for you to understand them. Additionally, understanding and being able to use subject-specific terminology correctly is central. If you are a student, you might find definitions and explanations of terms in your textbook, and in research articles, writers often define concepts and terms the first time they use them. Being aware if that as a reader will help you create a glossary of your own of subject or discipline-specific terms. Read more on reading difficult texts here:
- Reading strategies
A potential problem for writers who struggle with the language or with the subject matter is a lack of independence. Often this lack of independence is seen in what is intended as paraphrases (that is, rewriting in your own words, with a reference to the source). If you do not fully understand the text that you intend to paraphrase, you risk either adhering too closely to the original text in your paraphrase or to misrepresent the source text. Lack of originality in intended paraphrases is called patchwriting. Patchwriting is usually not deliberate, but rather a result of the writers' inability to formulate their own texts. Read more about patchwriting: