Referencing and academic integrity

Antony introduces this section referencing and academic integrity

  • Video transcript

    Antony: In this section, we'll look at referencing and academic integrity. It's really important at university that you acknowledge all of the research that you use and find in your assignment. It shows your tutor all of the hard work that you've done. On these pages you'll find guidance on the different referencing styles that you'll need to use and some of the tools that can help to make this process easier.
    Over the academic year, we also hold workshops on referencing and academic integrity so please keep an eye out for these. Remember, we are here to help you.

While we want everyone at Sussex to be independent thinkers, there are some academic conventions that we need you to follow! These are the features of referencing and citation, and also the rules of academic integrity. Many students worry about referencing and how to get it right, as well as making sure that they are not unintentionally cheating. The good news is that, because neither of these things aren’t really classified as ‘skills’, they aren’t aspects of life at Sussex that students are expected to memorise and get better at. You simply need to follow the guidance here correctly, and you can come back again and again whenever you have another assessment to write.


We also run workshops on academic skills throughout the year.
Find out about academic skills workshops and other support.

Although reading all the advice here is a very good idea, answering the questions below can give you an idea of where to start:

  • do you know the different ways that you can use another thinker’s ideas in your writing?

    If no. Try looking at the section below on how do I reference quotes and ideas? for various methods

  • are you up-to-date with the rules for your school’s preferred referencing system?

    If no. Keep checking the referencing styles section below as changes are occasionally made

  • do you want some help organising all your references digitally?

    If yes. We have some advice for this below under referencing management tools


Your assignments should result from your own hard work and they need to show academic integrity. That said, your work is not limited to just your views and opinions. Instead, it should be developed by thinking about ideas put forward by others.

Be honest about anyone else's ideas that you have used or mentioned in your work and acknowledge these sources clearly. This practice is referred to as citing or referencing and it is crucial to maintaining academic integrity.

Whenever you directly copy the words of another author (quoting) or put their ideas into your own words (paraphrasing) you must acknowledge that you have done so. This practice helps to:

  • substantiate the knowledge and theories that you present in your work
  • show that you have researched your material, and that the ideas you present have been considered in light of documented material on the subject
  • demonstrate that you have read a range of sources
  • allow your readers to identify and retrieve your sources for their own use
  • avoid plagiarism.

Go to the English Language for Academic Study Canvas site for more information about referencing, paraphrasing, summarising and quoting.


Carlee and Saira talk about referencing and academic integrity

  • Video transcript

    Carlee: So in my high school assignments I had to do referencing as well. So that was something that, if I recall correctly, it was probably drilled into us like how to write and cite academic sources and you have to cite academic sources, otherwise you're going to get in a heap of trouble. And I don't like getting in trouble, so I was like, okay, cite my references. And I think when I went to university, I learned that they cite very differently. So I think at the time I was citing in high school and MLA format and once I got into uni, especially because I'm a psychology student and I was at the time as well, we cite in APA, which is the American Psychological Association formatting and referencing. So I've been very lucky that I've used APA since the beginning of my university experience. I have many friends who have to know a bunch of different ones, whether that's APA or Harvard or something else that engineering students use, I think, that they have to be able to navigate all of these different ones. But for APA, for me, it was just kind of keeping up to date once APA seven came out, the seventh version, and how referencing changed a little bit.

    Saira: Yeah, I'd say in general with exams for me I haven't really had to experience anything that I've had to panic about because when we first came to university we had a seminar on it. So one of my seminar tutors actually explained everything to us. And also when it comes to referencing, that's something I guess people could accidentally put something in. And then their similarity score's really high, but they don't realise that could just be solved by referencing. So we had a good session on that to help everybody understand it. But I would say one thing, that for me, I've experienced as well is that if it does come to, for example, coursework, where, you know, the question's released early, everyone has to submit their own work, even though you want to help each other, I'd say stick to helping each other understand the content because when it comes to writing your own essay, you want it to be original and unique because if everyone's is the same, you're not really going to get a good grade. So if you have something special, you do want to make sure, okay, this is my idea. I want it in there and I don't really want everybody to just copy me because it's not really going to look that great then. So that's the way I think about it anyway.


What information should I include in a reference?

The ideas you reference may come from books, journal articles, newspaper reports, web pages, videos, lecture notes, module teaching materials or any other source. You need to include certain details about these sources in your work so that your reader can find the original material easily.

There are several different referencing systems. Although most of them require you to include the same information, they ask you to present that information in different ways. Schools and departments at Sussex use different referencing systems so you should check which one you need to use.

Whichever referencing system you use, when making notes you should record the page numbers for each idea or quote. You should also note down the following information for each text:

  • Name of the Author (s)

    Put the surname first and then any initials and any title (for example, Sir or Lord, but not academic or other titles).

    Asian Naming Convention

    In Western naming culture, generally a person's surname is listed as the last name, for example, John Smith. However, in Asian culture, a person's surname is generally listed first, in other words, Smith John. This applies to Chinese, Malay, and Indian naming conventions. Therefore the author Cheng Tun-jen's surname is Cheng, and his first name is Tun-jen.

  • Date of Publication

    This usually appears on the fly-leaf of a book. Make sure that you have the latest date since previous editions of a work may differ substantially. If you are referring to more than one work by the same author in the same year, you should differentiate them by small-case letters (i.e.2002a, 2002b etc.) There is no need to include the edition number.

  • The Title

    Make sure that you copy this out accurately. If the text cited is merely a chapter in a book edited by someone else, you must include the full details of the main volume.

  • The publication Details

    For books, this will include the place of publication and the name of the publishers. You will find this information on the fly-leaf.

    For periodicals, you should include the name of the periodical, the volume, issue or part number and the page references.

    For websites, you should note the web URL/address and the date you accessed the site.

    For films and video, you should note the name of the director.

Reference list/ Bibliography

Any sources you cite within your text should also be included in the reference list or bibliography at the end of your work.

Check with your tutor whether they would like you to submit a reference list, which only includes texts you have cited, or a bibliography, which includes all the relevant books you have read.

Creating citations, bibliographies and references

You can use Reference Management Software to collect, store and cite references. As a Sussex student you can access many of these useful tools for free.

Create an easy, one-off bibliography with Zotero Bib.

You will need to learn how to reference correctly, even if you use reference management software to assist you, as the software often dispalys references incorrectly.

Microsoft Word also has some tools which can help you with creating citations and references in your work. It takes a little time to learn how to use them, but you will save yourself a lot of time and effort in the long run. Create a bibliography.


  • Latin abbreviations commonly used in citation for referencing or in bibliographies
    Abbreviation Usage
    et al.

    This is used where there is more than one author to mean 'and others'

    e.g. Pears, R. et al.


    This is used when citing from the same book again in footnotes and bibliographies. It means 'in the same place' and is used when citing from the same book again directly after a previous citation, e.g.

    1. C. T. Martin, The record interpreter: a collection of abbreviations, Latin words and names used in English historical manuscripts and records, 2nd edn (London: Stevens, 1910), p. 16.

    2. ibid., p. 25. The reference in no. 2 is the same as in no. 1 except that the page is different. Unless you are citing from exactly the same page, you follow ibid. with the new page number.

    op. cit.

    This is used when referring to a source that has previously been cited and means 'in the work cited', e.g.

    1. C. T. Martin, The record interpreter: a collection of abbreviations, Latin words and names used in English historical manuscripts and records, 2nd edn (London: Stevens, 1910), p. 16.

    2. R. Pears and G. Shields, Cite them right: referencing made easy (Newcastle upon Tyne: Northumbria University Press, 2004), p.50.

    3. Martin, op. cit., p. 20.

    The reference in no. 3 is the same as in no. 1 except that the page is different.


    This is used where a word occurs frequently throughout a text,

    e.g., an entry in an index reading 'coal: 78-86 passim' means that coal is mentioned throughout pages 78 to 86.

How do I reference quotes and ideas?

If you are using someone else's words, the words must be indented or in quotation marks. These actions show that you are not claiming the work is your own. You must also provide a reference to show where the words came from, to help the reader find the source. See Direct quotes for more information.

If you are using your own words to describe someone else's ideas, you still need to give a reference to their work. See Paraphrased ideas for more information.

  • Direct quotes

    A direct quote is where you have used the exact words (or graphs, or other information) from someone else's work. Direct quotes can be very useful for supporting an argument or establishing a point of view. Whenever you use a direct quote, you must indent the quote or put it in quotation marks.

    Direct quotes should be in quotation marks ("") if they are relatively short. Longer quotes should be put in a separate paragraph, and indented. In this example from a student's essay, look at how the two quotes are presented differently:

    Fletcher points out that scholars have interpreted the Rwandan genocide as being organised by the state:

    The most common explanation for the Rwandan genocide interprets the violence as a state project, whereby elites were able to manipulate and bully the population into carrying out their programme of mass slaughter (Fletcher 2007, p.28).

    Straus agrees with this, saying that scholars have presented the Rwandan genocide as “a state-organised, planned extermination campaign” (Straus 2004, p.86).

    Fletcher, L. (2007) 'Turning interahamwe: individual and community choices in the Rwandan genocide'. Journal of Genocide Research, (9)1, pp. 25-48.

    Straus, S. (2004) 'How many perpetrators were there in the Rwandan genocide? An estimate'. Journal of Genocidal Research, (6)1, pp. 85-98.

    In this example, the longer quote has been put in a separate, indented paragraph. The shorter quote has been put in inverted commas. In both cases, it is clear where the student has quoted someone else's work.

    Next to the direct quote, you must include a citation to show where the quote came from. In addition, you must include a full reference to the original work. You can see the student's references at the bottom of the example above.

  • Paraphrased ideas

    You may wish to write another person's idea in your own words. This can be helpful for making a point in a short amount of space. It also shows that you have understood the idea fully and can make use of it as part of your argument.

    When you are paraphrasing someone else's idea, you still need to make it clear where you found the idea, and include an accurate reference. Look at the example below, which is a paraphrased version of the direct quotes we looked at before.

    Both Fletcher and Strauss point out that most scholars have interpreted the Rwandan genocide in the same way. These authors argue the genocide is commonly interpreted as a campaign organised by the Rwandan state. (Fletcher 2007, pp.25-48) (Straus 2004, pp.85-98)

    Fletcher, L. (2007). 'Turning interahamwe: individual and community choices in the Rwandan genocide'. Journal of Genocide Research, 9:1, pp 25-48.
    Straus, S. (2004). 'How many perpetrators were there in the Rwandan genocide? An estimate'. Journal of Genocidal Research, 6:1, pp 85-98.

    Because the text has been completely re-written, there is no need to indent the text or put it in quotation marks. However, citations and references have still been provided. This shows the student is not claiming to have come up with the idea themselves.

Common knowledge

You do not need to quote information which is common knowledge e.g. Everest is the highest mountain in the world. It can seem hard to judge which information is common knowledge. If you are unsure, it may be best to provide a reference.

You could try checking in an encyclopaedia in the library (not Wikipedia); information which is common knowledge will usually not be referenced in the library's encyclopaedia.

What is the difference between a reference and a citation?

A citation is a 'link' in the text, whether a number or author and date, that connects the data/information/ideas being discussed with the more detailed information in the reference list or bibliography.

The reference list or bibliography provides the full details of the source cited. It enables the reader to further investigate ideas or validate the writer's comments.

Here is an example of citation using the Harvard referencing system:

(Fletcher 2007, p.27)

The citation points the reader in the right direction, but it does not include much information. In the numeric system, citations are just numbers like this (1) or this ¹.

Here is an example of a reference using the Harvard referencing system:

Fletcher, L. (2007) 'Turning interahamwe: individual and community choices in the Rwandan genocide', Journal of Genocide Research, 9:1, pp25-48.

A reference should include full details of the source. Every citation should have a relevant reference later in the text. For more details, see What information should I include in a reference (above)?


Referencing styles

There are several different referencing styles used in academic study. Although most styles require you to include the same information, depending on the style you have to present that information in different ways.

Schools and departments at Sussex use different referencing systems. If you are unsure which referencing style you are required to use it is best to speak with your School office, or consult your module handbook.

Find guidance for the most commonly used reference styles at Sussex below.  Click on the individual styles to learn more.

APA | Harvard | Chicago | MHRA | MLA | OSCOLA | Numerical | RSC | Vancouver


Reference Management Tools

Reference management software and web-based tools allow you to:

  • collect, store, organise and format references
  • create bibliographies and in-text citations
  • cite as you write in Word and other word-processing software
  • annotate, store and share PDFs.


Saira, Sara and Reuben talk about academic integrity and Zotero

  • Video transcript

    Saira: Form my understanding, to put it simply, academic integrity is essentially knowing that any work you submit is your own and that you're doing everything honestly and making sure that pieces that you submit are original.

    Sara: Since we do fill out like a lot of consent forms about academic integrity, I think it's producing your own work and not plagiarising or not doing it with other people.Of course, it's important to get ideas from other people. It's important to talk to them, but to make sure you're not taking their ideas or not, everyone is just writing the same thing. I think it's important to not only the work but to yourself to have that kind of integrity, to not steal anyone else's work, and to make sure what you're producing is a piece of what you wrote and what you think.

    Reuben: A tutor in my Foundation Year recommended using a program called Zotero as it's the most accurate one for getting references and for saving quotes. So if you are reading on a laptop or something, as you go through, you save the quotes and you highlight them all the way through. And then you can also press a button and it will help you do all your references for you and help you with the bibliography.
    I think there's an add-on package you can get, which means it saves all the annotations for you. I think it might be incorporated now into Zotero and you can just press a button and it saves all of your quotes that you've highlighted and then you can go back and when you click on the quotes, it takes you to exactly where they are within the text. But for anyone with dyslexia or anyone really, it is brilliant, it's literally saved my life. And I'm getting, from someone who really struggles to read and write. I'm getting really good grades now, and I think that is my main tool that I've used.

These tools are particularly useful when writing a dissertation or long assignment in which you cite the work of others.

To find out which referencing style to use in your work, refer to your course handbook or contact your school office.

As always, we recommend you pay attention to academic integrity and ensure you avoid plagiarism (see below).

The Library at Sussex provides detailed guides for the most popular tools:

You can also refer to a regularly updated Wikipedia guide to reference management software.

See the table below for a quick comparison:
SoftwareCostOnline/DesktopStorageWord processorCitation stylesAdvantages
Endnote The software is already installed on Sussex computers; You can also install on your own device for free, if you are a Sussex student or staff member. Both: Synchronise across all devices Unlimited Word, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Pages 6000+ Collect the largest number of references; collect references easily from PubMed, Web of Science; online support
Endnote Basic Free (with Sussex subscription) Online only 50,000 references; 2GB for attachment imports Word 21 Free, though limited version of EndNote
Mendeley Free (owned by Elsevier, an information and analytics company) Both: Synchronise across all devices 2GB free Word, LibreOffice, NeoOffice, OpenOffice 9000+ Integrated PDF tools; enhanced sharing with other researchers; online support
Zotero Free, open source Both: Synchronise across all devices 300MB free Word, LibreOffice, NeoOffice, OpenOffice 9000+ One-click capture with most databases; store a diverse range of sources; online community
Juris-M Free, open source Both: Synchronise across all devices 300MB free Word, LibreOffice, NeoOffice, OpenOffice 9000+ Enhanced legal and multilingual referencing
Zotero Bib Free, open source Online only NA: One-off bibliographies stored in local browser Word, LibreOffice, NeoOffice, OpenOffice 9000+ Create one-off bibliographies without opening an account; may be especially useful for undergraduates


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity means not cheating. It is what good academic practice is based on. Just as you expect the experts and academics that you learn from to be honest in their work, the same is expected of you.


It is really important to review this section because cheating can be intentional or unintentional. It is much harder to argue that something you did wrong was unintentional than to not do anything wrong at all!

What is Academic Misconduct?

Academic misconduct is cheating. There are various types of cheating, which are covered here. The full definitions of the various types of academic misconduct are published in the Examination and Assessment Regulations 2022/23, Section 2 on Academic Misconduct and there is more information on the Student Hub.

Sometimes students commit academic misconduct without fully understanding why they have done something wrong. To protect yourself from committing academic misconduct, you should understand what it is and learn some of the common mistakes students make.

Avoiding Academic Misconduct – Three ground rules:

  1. remember that all the work you submit has to be your own. If you refer to another person's work, you must acknowledge it properly
  2. if you are unsure whether what you are doing is correct, ask for help. Your tutor or Academic Advisor can help you with academic enquiries. Student Mentors and RLF Writers in Residence also offer free assistance
  3. if you are suffering from difficult personal circumstances, don't keep it to yourself. You can receive confidential help from the Student Centre if you have been affected by mental or physical illness, or problems such as bereavement.

Academic Integrity Values

The University of Sussex has a set of Academic Integrity Values which all students are expected to follow. These values are:

  • honesty: The work you produce for assessment is your own and where you have used others' work, this is clearly acknowledged by including references in your assessments. Your school will tell you which referencing system to use
  • trust: Your tutors and fellow students can trust you to be honest about the work you produce and submit for assessment
  • fairness: You agree that all students should be fairly treated and that you do not try to gain advantage by presenting work for assessment that is not your own
  • respect: You treat other members of the academic community with respect: fellow students, your tutors and the administrative staff
  • responsibility: You take responsibility for your own learning and follow the University of Sussex Academic Integrity values and assessment regulations.

Link to Canvas for more material.


Carlee and Amelia talk about their understanding of academic integrity

  • Video transcript

    Carlee: I think academic integrity to me means that I know with confidence the work that I'm submitting and the work that I'm producing is a reflection of my ability and is a reflection of me. And so I think if I were to use something or improperly cite a source or just completely copy/paste something from another source and turn that in, if I were to get marked off on that, not because I plagiarised or because I copy pasted over, but because it was wrong, I'd be like, Oh, well, that wasn't my work. So it doesn't really matter, you know? And I think sometimes you can kind of rationalise it in that way, but this is sounding kind of negative. But it's more so to me knowing that when I'm writing something, these are my thoughts and this is my effort that I'm turning in and I'm trying to show to my tutors.That's a reflection of my knowledge and my understanding. And so, I mean, academic integrity does come in a lot of different ways. It is making sure that you are citing material. If you've paraphrased from someone and just saying, Hey, this wasn't my original thought, this was theirs, but this is what I think about their thought.

    Amelia: Like, everyone hates citing and like, it's like you write your essay and then you cite usually, and then you're like ugh, and it takes like 3 hours to usually get everything in correctly and do it correctly.And then and I feel like we're only kind of taught it as like, just don't plagiarise and this is why you have to do it. But then in my foundation year, the way we looked at it and it is so annoying but was like, look at how these researchers found their information and the idea of collectively using information together is a nicer way to look at it. And any academic research you read has a million citations in it. It's never absent. You can't do your work alone. And it's important like knowledge only gets increased off of other knowledge.


Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person's work as if it were your own.

This can happen accidentally if you have not referenced your work properly. If you have used a quote or idea from another source without referencing, it could look like you are trying to pretend you came up with the work yourself. Make sure you understand how to reference your work properly!


  • How to avoid plagiarism

    All the points below will help enable you to avoid plagiarism.

    Leave plenty of time!

    Put assignment deadlines in your diary at the start of every term, and make sure you begin work well in advance. If you need to rush your written work at the last minute, it can be more tempting to copy out whole passages from texts, or make mistakes with correct referencing.

    Reference while making notes

    When you are researching your topic, take down full details of your sources as you go along. If you're quoting verbatim (using a direct quote, word for word) or using diagrams, make a note of the page numbers too.

    Reference as you go

    When you're writing your assignment, include the references as you go along. Remember to check your School's preferred referencing system.

    Check your references at the end

    If you have used direct quotes, make sure you have used quotation marks. Make sure any long quotes are indented and have a citation. Double-check your references and bibliography.

    Use your own words

    This helps you to engage more with the material. Don't worry that another author can 'say it better' than you: your tutors are interested in your ideas and opinions, and do not expect a perfect writing style.
    Also, make sure you clearly distinguish your ideas from those of other writers. See Australian National University: Style and authorial voice

    Don’t reuse material

    Unless specifically allowed in module or course documentation, the use of the same material in more than one assessment exercise will be subject to penalties. If there is substantial overlap or repetition in the subject matter of your assessments within a single module or across other modules, your mark will be adjusted so that you do not receive credit for using the same material twice. 

    Use Turnitin

    Turn it in logo

    Try using the Turnitin Draft Check site, which will appear in your list of Canvas modules. You can check your draft assignments for any text matches.

    Avoid essay-writing services

    Many companies claim to offer ‘custom-made' essays online, often advertising their services through Facebook and other social media. They may claim to be legitimate, safe, and even approved by universities.

    These companies run a very effective scam. Often the essays they sell are stolen from other resources and are very easily identified by tutors and examiners. Remember that your work at Sussex has to be your own, and examiners will be able to tell the difference.

    Get help for free

    The University offers plenty of free services to help you with your writing - including essay-writing workshops, student mentors, RLF Writers in Residence, English Language for Academic Study and Academic Advisors. Access the Support and Workshop pages.

    If you need help with your writing, see one of them, or see your tutor. If someone offers to help you for money, you should ask yourself whether they really have your interests at heart.

Student stories

Read the three student stories below and think about how they could have avoided plagiarism:

1. Salila

Salila did lots of reading for her essay and took plenty of notes. However, she did not write down all the reference details and did not show where she had copied quotes directly. When she came to write her essay, she was not sure where her notes were from, or which were her own words. Although she tried her best to remember, her tutor has spotted that in some cases she has quoted word for word without using quotation marks, and that in some instances her referencing is very unclear. Her tutor has asked to speak to her about plagiarism.

  • Show suggestion

    Salila did not intend to 'steal' other people's ideas, but she has still committed plagiarism by presenting someone else's work as her own. She should have been much more careful when taking notes. Whenever note-making, you should write down the source for each note you take, and you should make it clear where you are quoting directly from the text.

2. Thomas

Thomas had two essays and a presentation due in the same week. Having completed the first essay and presentation, he was left with one day to do the second essay. He started work on it in the morning, but by 2pm he began to panic. He searched on the internet and found a website where he could download essays. He used an essay with a similar topic and made a few changes to try and make it look like his own work. His tutor noticed it was suspicious, and he has been told his work is under investigation for plagiarism.

  • Show suggestion

    Thomas' poor time management left him in a very difficult situation. But rather than try to seek help, or hand in his work late, he was dishonest. By doing so, he may have put his degree at risk. It would have been better to have submitted no work at all (and receive a 0% mark) than try to cheat (and receive a worse punishment).

3. Jim

Jim took notes from different sources on the internet by copying and pasting. When it came to writing his essay, he took ideas from all the sources he had read. Finding it hard to put the ideas into his own words he often copied word for word but did not use quotation marks.

  • Show suggestion

    Jim has committed plagiarism because he has presented other people's words as his own. If you quote word for word from a text, then you must show this by using quotation marks, and providing a full reference.
    If you "copy and paste" text from a source to use in an essay, make sure you make it clear to yourself that the text is not your own e.g., ensure copied sections are kept in a separate document, kept in a different font, or highlighted, or placed in quotation marks. Remember don't copy unless it is a usable quote. You might find it helps your learning to write your notes by hand because it will encourage you to use your own words, and this will also give you more opportunity to understand the information.


Elena talks about plagiarism and collusion

  • Video transcript
    Elena: Academic integrity involves various different aspects, such as, I don't know, cheating, but that one's quite obvious and easier to avoid. The two most challenging aspects of academic integrity to avoid is plagiarism and collusion. So with plagiarism, many papers which are plagiarised are done by mistake. They are not done intentionally. And that is that can be because of maybe incorrect referencing or mistakes during referencing or just you're working on this project and it's really late at night and you read something on a website or an article and then you try to rephrase it.But because you're so tired, you just use the same exact words that the article used. So most of the time it's not done on purpose. But for this reason it's very important to raise the awareness to students for students, and maybe also provide them with information and with guidance of how to prevent this and how to not make them fall into the trap, fall into the pithole. So yeah, I think that's very important. And I think that the Sussex Skills Hub also has a very, very good section on plagiarism and how to prevent it, on academic integrity. Another one is collusion, which can happen also by mistake. Well, for collusion, if you're working, especially on a lab (report) together with your partner, you obviously will have the same results. You obviously will be discussing the results together, and this can then affect what you write and it can be very similar to what your partner writes, even though you're doing it separately because or you discuss, it's the same dataset, it's the same results, it's your same thinking process. So that can be also challenging. So it's important to make sure, yes, you can help your peers. Yes, it's good to help your peers to develop your teamwork and collaboration skills. But you always must think about the possibility of collusion and maybe don't tell exactly to your peer. If someone asks you for help, don't tell them, Oh, you need to change this or you need to change this. This is not good. This is right. This is wrong. You need to lead them into understanding, Oh, this might be improved or Oh, this is actually really good. Why don't you try and make this section better? Why don't you try using the method you used in this section to improve this section? So I think that's how you can also prevent collusion.


Collusion means working on an assessment with someone else but claiming it as all your own work. Collusion can occur if you and your peers discuss an assessment you are doing in too much detail. The marker will notice something wrong when they come to mark your work, and they notice it is very similar to the work of others.


  • How to avoid collusion
    Know what is expected of you

    You should never work directly with other students on your module or anyone else when creating your work. This includes students from other universities. Even if your tutor has encouraged you to talk about your work together with other students, do not assume it is okay to write your work together.

    If you are asked to do a joint assignment, this will be made very clear to you by your tutor and in your handbook. The assessment hand-in sheet looks different to a normal one. If you are unsure whether you are expected to work as a group, or what the boundaries are, be cautious and speak to your tutor first.

    Avoid discussing questions in detail

    Do not discuss an assignment in detail with other students if you are working on the same question. Even if they do not work directly alongside you, they may come to the same conclusion following a conversation they had with you, and this could be classed as collusion.

    Be careful with your work

    Do not lend your work to course-mates or leave it where they can access it. If you share a laptop or computer, it is your responsibility to make sure your work is protected - use a passcode so that others cannot access it. It is collusion to knowingly allow others to use your work. Even if you trust them, you could get a nasty surprise if it turns out they copied some of your ideas.

    Proof-reading guidance

    It is OK to have someone proofread your work, to check grammar and spelling mistakes, but this cannot be a student on the same module taking the same assessment. (Read our proof-reading guidance for the rules on proofreading at Sussex). But you should never accept help from anyone in creating new content for your work. As a general rule, the person helping you should not change the meaning of what you have written. 

Exam misconduct

Exam misconduct includes any form of cheating in exams, whether you are taking your exams in an examination hall or remotely. Make sure you know what materials you are allowed to take into exams or use when completing your submission remotely. If you are allowed to use texts, this will be made very clear to you. Also, do not take your mobile phone or any other such device into an exam room. 

Remember, just as in normal exam conditions, misconduct in exams taken remotely includes using material provided by someone else and sharing material or helping another student.


Academic misconduct can occur if you ask someone else to write an assignment for you, sit an examination (in-person or remotely) for you or pay for an essay online. This is known as Personation. Personation includes using software (unless explicitly permitted in the assessment guidance) to generate text or help you with your assessments.Personation can also occur if you use a proofreader so please follow the proof-reading guidance.

Fabrication of results

Fabrication of results is the act of making up or altering results for a practical project. It's better to hand in inconclusive results, or even none at all, than to try and make them up.

Breach of research ethics

Breach of research ethics includes failure to gain ethical approval; carrying out research without appropriate permission; breach of confidentiality or improper handling of privileged or private information on individuals gathered during data collection; coercion or bribery of project participants. Students conducting research with human participants, including research which contributes to assessment, must apply for ethical approval before carrying out the research. Students are responsible for complying with the requirements set out as part of the approval process including consulting with their supervisor, in the submission of formal amendments for subsequent changes in their approved research.