I'm currently working on an essay topic that a mate of mine happened to have done before on another course. He gave me his reference list on some ideas that coincide with my topic and stance, but I'm afraid that if I use them it might count as academic dishonesty. Am I in the clear?

1 Answer 1


For purposes of homework it would be good to acknowledge the source to clear up any claim of misrepresentation.

I hope you actually read the referenced articles, however. Otherwise, I'd worry about the honesty of it. If you just copied the references without further exploration you are on very shaky ground. And if you didn't go beyond those references in a search then you haven't learned anything from the assignment. The professor would be justified in marking you down, of course.

Assignments aren't about producing results. They are about learning. If you bypass the learning step you are defeating yourself in the long run.

Moreover, if you are using the other person's work, generally, without citation, you are engaged in plagiarism.

  • Oh yes I did read all of the references. I intend to add more but I'm just scared that it may be seen as academic dishonesty since a highly similar reference list might raise suspicion.
    – Felix
    Feb 22, 2021 at 17:15
  • 2
    @Felix: The bibliography is not a part of an academic paper for which there is a premise of originality: if the references you cite are authoritative and standard, if anything it could only be worse to cite other references. You seem to perhaps be worried that a similar bibliography will alert your instructor to other similarities with your friend's paper. But an expert reading the paper will see whatever similarities exist in the paper itself. That's where you should worry about the originality and independence of your work. Feb 22, 2021 at 18:30
  • Why on earth did this answer get a downvote? It seems like eminently sensible advice. The third paragraph should be inscribed in golden letters above the door of every lecture room worldwide.
    – user116675
    Feb 22, 2021 at 22:09

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