Group Work: Why is there so much of it?

One thing that jumps out to any new student is the amount of group work Schulich requires. There is an emphasis on this because group work develops many skills needed in your future careers, such as leadership, communication, delegation and time management.

Plagiarism in Group Work

The majority of plagiarism breaches we see are from group work. It is important to remember that the entire team is responsible for anything submitted and can all be charged with an infraction.

Some easy steps to avoid this:

  • Create a group contract that clearly states you will not share the project with anybody and you will not plagiarize.
  • Agree on a citation style.
  • Communicate any issues you are having with the group and see if someone can help. Plagiarizing your portion only puts the entire group at risk and jeopardizes your relationships.
  • Prepare enough time to work on the project. Schulich only has busy programs – plan accordingly!

How can I learn more about academic integrity and group work?

Group Contracting

Drafting and signing a mutually agreed upon contract is an effective way to ensure accountability among your group members.


  • Sets expectations for the project.
  • Clarifies roles, responsibilities, schedules, and availability.
  • Defines citation style and academic integrity standards.

Here is a great example of a team contract from Carnegie Mellon University. Feel free to adjust it to fit your needs.

Citation Workshop

The Bronfman Business Library is hosting helpful APA citation workshops this term, on Tuesday, October 8 (in-person workshop) and Thursday, October 10 (webinar format). For details and registration click here.

Academic Honesty Modules on Canvas

Did you know that Schulich created a brand new Academic Honesty module this year? The modules cover a variety of topics like Citation and Plagiarism, Group Work, Cheating, and Aiding and Abetting. If you’re interested in taking the modules, please email:


Problems & #ProTips

My Problem

My #ProTip

I got the final part of the assignment from my group member but there are no in-text citations or references. I checked and some of it is copied.
  • You should not assume that it was your group member’s intention to plagiarize, as it could have been an honest mistake. Respectfully, you should send the section back and ask them to redo it properly.
But I don’t have time to send it back, it’s due in the morning!
  • Submitting a group assignment with plagiarized material would be an infraction for the entire group.
  • Submitting an assignment late might be hard, but it is better than submitting one that is partially plagiarized. 
One group member hasn’t been responding to messages or doing their work.
  • There is an expectation that groups can manage themselves and deal with issues without interference.
  • To avoid issues like this, we encourage you to have a group contract that clarifies roles and reasonable response times.
One group member never attends our meetings or work sessions. They do their work, but we always have to edit it because they’re never around.
  • Did you clarify meeting times and expectations at the beginning of the project? People have different responsibilities that may conflict with meeting times. It is important to communicate what works for everybody and be flexible to accommodate all group members.
Another group plagiarized our assignment – even the portion I had worked on myself. I didn’t share it with anybody. What happens next?
  • This is an unfortunate situation but happens more than we would like to see. Sometimes students share an assignment with another group without telling their own group. Regardless if they intended for the other group to plagiarize, this is aiding and abetting.
  • One way to avoid this is to address it in your group contract. Ensure that your contract states you are not to share the assignment with anybody else for any reason. We have yet to see an academic integrity breach from a group that created a contract in the beginning.

Your Academic Integrity #ProList