You will be given information in advance
You will receive in writting, advance notice of a meeting or hearing along with any evidence being presented against you.
Any evidence presented should be reviewed carefully
In cases where a turnitin report is provided, you should give consideration to the overall similarity percentages, individual similarity percentages and any patterns to the highlighted similarities.
In particular you should look for;
- Solid blocks of identical similarities which can be indicative of copy and pasting
- Blocks of near identical similarities where there are a few words that differ or where the ordering of words is slightly different; which can be indicative of poor paraphrasing or an attempt to purposefully mask someone else’s work as your own
- If similarities are wide spread throughout the assessment or if they are concentrated in one area of the assessment.
- If there is a similar structure to a highlighted similar source
Considering your response
If you have a clear idea about the issues raised in advance then you could writing down your thoughts in advance. You could present these thoughts in writting to the university or simply use as notes for your own use in the meeting. We recommend you write down your responses and thoughts prior to and during an interview so you can be confident that you have raised everything you wish to do so before the conclusion of the meeting.
You should try to anticipate possible questions that might arise during the investigation. An advisor from Sunderland Students’ Union is well placed to help you consider possible questions and your response in advance. They can discuss with you any response or evidence you are planning to provide, as well as how you might best frame your response so it is as strong as possible. The Advisor can also help you review the evidence raised against you and help you better understand the nature of the allegations if any of it is unclear.
Be open and honest with yourself and staff
Try to remain open minded throughout the process, if you have done something wrong it is best that you genuinely explore that with staff to improve your work and avoid misconduct in the future. Likewise if you believe you have not committed misconduct, make sure you say that- you should never admit to an allegation you disagree with , but be open to challenge from staff. You should be honest with yourself and staff if you believe misconduct has occurred or have concerns it may have, even if you did not mean for to commit misconduct.
Admitting to misconduct
There are up to 3 opportunities to admit to any misconduct if it has occurred, the stage 1 meeting, the investigation and the panel hearing. If during the investigation you admit to misconduct you will not need to attend the panel but the panel will still meet to discuss an appropriate outcome.
If academic misconduct is found, then the university will consider if you have either admitted the offence or demonstrated openness and willingness to engage with the misconduct process at the earliest opportunity when deciding a penalty.
If you have extenuating circumstances which affected your assessment, there is a University policy with regard to extensions and extenuating circumstances which can deal with such cases in a supportive and appropriate way.
This means that such circumstances will only be considered in regards to penalties applied and not in the decision as to whether or not academic misconduct has taken place.
If you do highlight such circumstances, it may also present the university with an opportunity to consider if there any support you might need in the future and to offer guidance relevant to you.