Types of fraud

The most common type of fraud is: pretending that something is your own work when it is not. But that is not the only type of fraud. The TU Delft definition of fraud is: any act or omission by a student that makes it fully or partially impossible to properly assess the knowledge, insight and skill of that student or another student. Here are some examples:

  • Sharing your work or answers with a student who has not completed the course.
  • Exchanging answers during an exam, e.g. what’s app during an online exam.
  • Impersonation: doing someone else’s work for them and vice versa.
  • Publishing an exam or answer model online. 
  • Piggy backing in group assignments: letting others do all the work.
  • Using explicitly forbidden materials, e.g.: book, cheat sheet, mobile phone, calculator, or having them with you during an exam.
  • Looking at and copying work from another student.
  • Trying to submit work after a deadline by lying to the teacher.
  • Possessing exam questions or assignments before an exam.
  • Paying someone to write your assignment. 


  • Presenting something as your own work while using someone else's ideas, text, graphics or code.
  • Forgetting to give credit to original authors.
  • Being co-author of work that contains plagiarism.

Learning to distinguish between citing, paraphrasing and plagiarism takes time and effort. Scientific work is always based on the work that others have done before us. This means that you will often use texts written by others. That is why it is vital that you know how to apply the rules.

Violating research principles:

  • Tampering with data/results
  • Changing citations to align them with your research theory
  • Distorting a source's original meaning (e.g. by omitting relevant context)

It can be tempting to alter research outcomes: to leave out some results that do not conform with your hypothesis, or to beef up the numbers if your survey has only 6 respondents.  Research fraud violates one of the main research principles: to carry out research work with care. In your research reports, you clearly explain and justify your starting point and conclusions, and you are transparent about the way in which you reached your results.

Regardless of your intentions or the impact and effectiveness of your actions, this is fraud. This applies to all types of assessment, from homework assignments to online exams and graduation projects.