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Academic Integrity: Fabrication

A guide to avoiding plagiarism, cheating and fabrication


The NCU academic integrity policy defines fabrication as "intentionally falsifying or inventing any information or citation on any academic exercise."

Types of Fabrication

Making up data or information

Most students would not have the audacity to simply make up a quotation and attribute it to a scholar, but there are subtler ways of fabricating information. The following are a few examples of making up data and are not acceptable in academic work:

        • Intentionally changing data in original research.  Whether it is adding or adjusting data to fit a desired/expected result, omitting data that does not fit with a preferred interpretation, or simply making up an entire data set, making up data is fabrication.
        • Intentionally changing or misrepresenting a quotation or idea. Paraphrasing is one thing, but misrepresenting someone else's thoughts or words to fit an argument is fabrication.

Making up a citation

You must acknowledge the actual sources of the information you use for your research.  The following are examples of fabricated citations and are not acceptable in academic work:

        • Finding a quote on a website or in a review, article, or book and citing that quote as if you got it from the original work.  Even if the work you got the quotation from has citation information for the original, you may not represent your research as being more thorough as it really was.  If you want to quote an author, find his or her original work.  Otherwise you must acknowledge that the quote is secondhand and cite the source you actually used.
        • Misrepresenting the way in which you accessed a source.  Many works are published in multiple formats (print, online, audio, etc.), and most citation styles include instructions for indicating how you accessed a work.  It can be tempting to use the print format for citing a source that you really found online since it is often simpler (don't have to include the database, URL, time of access, etc.) and you may not have documented where you actually found the source, but this is fabrication.  There may be differences between the different formats, and it is important to cite the format you actually used.
        • Making up a source.  Relying on the volume of work professors have to grade, some students will make up a citation hoping that the professor will not check to see if it is real.  This, obviously, is fabrication.

Falsifying attendance

Having someone sign an attendance roster on your behalf, swipe your ID, or otherwise indicate that you were present for something for which you were not actually present is a form of fabrication.