Good Academic Practice

What is Good Academic Practice?

Good academic practice is the use of a formal, academic style. This includes review of appropriate reference materials that are related to the reading lists of the modules that you are studying. You may choose to include other reference sources, but you need to make sure they are published, scholarly works.

It also includes the use of a recommended referencing style, such as Harvard, APA, MHRA, MLA, IEEE, IOP, Footnote/Endnote, or others. Your department can give you guidance and more information and referencing examples are available through Aberystwyth LibGuides. Information will also be available through other resources your department provides (e.g. on Blackboard). 

If you're not sure where to find information about referencing or how to use it, talk to someone. You can get advice from your tutor and more information is available from your subject librarian. Training is also available through the Skills Coordinator Tutor.

How to achieve good academic practice

When studying at university, it is crucial to adhere to academic good practice principles. This involves being:

  • honest
  • fair
  • respectful
  • responsible
  • ethical, and
  • acting with integrity to produce independent and scholarly work

To achieve good academic practice:

  • evaluate academic issues independently
  • use research from academics in your field
  • discuss and evaluate concepts and theories
  • demonstrate understanding of key literature
  • develop your own arguments

Academic work relies on the ideas and work of others. Properly engaging with sources and giving credit when using their ideas is essential. Effective use of source materials can enhance credibility and provide a platform for discussion. Expressing ideas in your own words demonstrates understanding and supports your argument. A key principle of good academic practice is properly citing and referencing the work of others. Visit our Referencing webpage for helpful guidance on this and how to get it right.

To support good academic practice, think about:

  • Taking good notes
    • Taking good notes is important when it comes to studying and can also help you steer clear of unintentional plagiarism.
    • Take a look at the Notetaking page for top tips!
  • Managing your time
    • If you're writing essays and projects, it's a good idea to use some techniques to make the most of the time you have, such as…
      • Make a to-do list with deadlines
      • Plan how to approach each task
      • Schedule time for other activities too
      • Organise your documents
      • Reward yourself and take breaks after completing tasks
    • This will help you steer clear of plagiarism, since rushing to finish before a deadline could lead to not properly paraphrasing or referencing important information.
  • Referencing everything
    • To avoid plagiarism, always reference your sources
      • Visit our Referencing webpage for helpful guidance on this and how to get it right.
  • Asking your Subject Librarian for advice and guidance on developing your good academic practice skills.

Failure to adhere to good academic practice is unethical and may result in disciplinary action.

The University views failure to adhere to good academic practices as Unacceptable Academic Practice. Visit the What does Unacceptable Academic Practice mean? page for further information on this.

Aberystwyth University Statement on Good Academic Practice

Useful link: Aberystwyth University Regulations on Academic Practice

Essential aspects of academic practice

Below is a series of guides on specific aspects of academic practice. These guides can be used at any time during your studies and are recommended as essential reading. After consulting these guides, you should compare them directly with your department's style guide to see how you can individualise any of the information to your study needs. We also use extended versions of these guides in courses for students who need extra guidance on Academic Practice.

What is Unacceptable Academic Practice?

What is Unacceptable Academic Practice?

The University regulations on unacceptable academic practice (UAP) are strict and they govern cases where a student has been alleged to have undertaken unacceptable academic practice (intentionally or otherwise).

The definition of ‘unacceptable academic practice’ is multifaceted but will in general involve instances of alleged plagiarism (e.g. using another person’s work without attributing it to them), conducting poor or inadequate referencing, re-cycling your own work from other assessments, and even collusion (i.e. working with another student to present their work as your own, or vice versa).

What does the University say about Unacceptable Academic Practice?

It is Unacceptable Academic Practice to commit any act whereby a person may obtain, for themselves or for another, an unpermitted advantage. 

The University recognises the following categories of Unacceptable Academic Practice. These are not exhaustive, and other cases may fall within the general definition of Unacceptable Academic Practice.

What are the categories of Unacceptable Academic Practice?

(i) Plagiarism

  • Plagiarism is defined as using another person's work and presenting it as one's own, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Examples of plagiarism include:
    • Use of quotation without the use of quotation marks
    • copying another person's work
    • unacknowledged translation of another person's work
    • paraphrasing or adapting another person's work without due acknowledgment
    • unacknowledged use of material downloaded from the internet
    • use of material obtained from essay banks or similar agencies
    • presenting work generated by AI as if it were your own

(ii) Collusion

  • Collusion occurs when work that has been undertaken by or with others is submitted and passed off as solely the work of one person.

(iii) Fabrication of evidence or data

  • Fabrication of evidence or data and/or use of such evidence or data in assessed work include making false claims to have carried out experiments, observations, interviews or other forms of data collection and analysis. 

(iv) Unacceptable Academic Practice in formal examinations

  • introducing into an examination room and/or associated facilities any unauthorised form of material
  • copying from, or communicating with, any other person in the examination room 
  • communicating electronically with any other person, except as authorised by an invigilator
  • impersonating an examination candidate or allowing oneself to be impersonated
  • presenting an examination script as one's own work when the script includes material produced by unauthorised means
  • failing to comply with written directions to candidates in formal examinations

(v) Recycling of data or text

  • Recycling of data or text in more than one assessment, when this is explicitly not permitted by the Department.

More information: 

Students Union Advice:

Useful links