Practicing Academic Integrity

Making Ethical Decisions

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To practice academic integrity, you must be able to make ethical decisions. Sounds easy, right? For a number of reasons, this can be harder than it sounds. Ethical decisions can be influenced by a number of factors including competing priorities, time management, peer or family pressure to do well academically, lack of attention to or awareness of expectations, and fear of failure, to name a few. The following strategies may help you in evaluating ethical decision-making and avoiding common pitfalls.

Remember our definition of academic integrity? To practice integrity, you can start by asking yourself three questions:

  • Is this my own work?
  • Does this work represent my knowledge and understanding of the course content?
  • Am I only using authorized resources when completing the work?

If you answered “no” to any of these, you are likely not completing your academic work with integrity. If you are not sure about a particular aspect, you have a responsibility as a college student to figure out how to get clarification.

Put another way: Imagine your instructor or faculty member is standing behind you, watching you complete your academic work. What would they say? Would they approve of the way you are completing your work?


There are a number of strategies you can use to practice integrity and avoid engaging in academic misconduct. Click each card to learn more about each strategy.

Students struggling with a difficult course, feeling uninterested or disengaged with course content, or perhaps are concerned about an academic disadvantage where they believe other students are engaged in misconduct, may be tempted to minimize academic misconduct in the moment. It is important to remember that practicing academic integrity is building a habit toward personal integrity and ensures you are gaining what you need for your future career while representing yourself honestly in the realization of your degree.


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Iowa State University Academic Integrity Tutorial Copyright © 2022 by Dean of Students Office is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.