Avoiding collusion


“Collusion is the act of collaborating with someone else on an assessment exercise which is intended to be wholly your own work, or the act of assisting someone else to commit plagiarism” (Maguire, 2003).

Maguire C (2003) Guidance for BVC providers: a common approach to plagiarism and collusion London: Bar Council

Joining the academic community involves discussing ideas and concepts with other people. Lecturers present their ideas at conferences and you will be involved in discussions with friends and colleagues in seminars and on your own time. Talking about ideas and theories is an important way of developing your understanding of your subject. However, working too closely on a particular assessment with someone else might lead to collusion. It might be that your department asks you to work in a group for one of your assignments. If so, be clear about how you are going to work and how you are going to be assessed, i.e. whether you are being asked to produce an individual piece of work or a group project.

How do I know what's acceptable and what is not?

Acceptable practice:

  • talking about books or lectures with another student
  • comparing essays and feedback after the assignment has been marked
  • working in the library together
  • including ideas that another student expressed in a seminar, including a reference and in-text citation

 Unacceptable collusion: 

  • writing an essay structure with another student for work that is submitted individually
  • asking another student to edit your work 
  • rewriting a friends conclusion for them so that they can submit it on time
  • showing another student your essay before the assignment is due

 Work through the Academic Integrity Tutorial which describes collusion and other forms of misconduct in more detail.