Affidavit: What is it and what is it needed for?

Anyone who writes a scientific paper uses secondary sources. The use of the foreign ideas must be expelled in order to avoid plagiarism. For this purpose, the own bachelor thesis, the master thesis o.Ä. attached an affidavit. But what exactly is meant by this document? And what must be in it? The following article gives a comprehensive overview of the affidavit.

“I wrote the work myself”

While doing housework at the school can usually do without the explanation, the “declaration of independence” is an integral part of scientific work. This means that at the university a term paper or project work may never be submitted without a sworn statement. With this, the author guarantees that this work is his intellectual property: The work was created independently and without any external help; apart from those indicated, no other sources were used as a tool.

Important: In order for the affidavit to be recognized, it must be signed by hand.

The affidavit as a code of honor among scientists

The independent production of a dissertation o.Ä. is a matter of honor! Only those who adhere to the code of honor of science are entitled to obtain an academic degree. Therefore, the affidavit is criminally binding and not a mere formality; it refers to the Criminal Code and should not be confused with the declaration of honor or self-employment.

Note: Similar to the citation methods, each university and, if applicable, each department has its own rules or templates, as far as the wording of the declaration is concerned. Who writes a scientific work should definitely use the prescribed by the own university formulation!

That’s in the explanation

The affidavit contains in particular two points:

The assurance that the thesis presented to the lecturer was written independently and that only the cited sources were used

The statement that the work submitted for consideration has not yet been submitted to another examining authority and has not yet been published.

In addition, the affidavit may contain a permit authorizing the examiner to publish.

Good to know: To what extent it is necessary to indicate, that for the scientific work also Internet sources were used and that these are indicated in the document, is to clarify with the faculty. Since these sources must be included in the references and are also subject to citation, this fact is usually unnecessary.

Template / pattern for an affidavit

“I hereby certify that I have done the work on my own and have used no other than the specified aids. All passages that are taken from the text or the meaning of other works, I have identified in each case with a precise indication of the source (including the Internet and other digital sources of information) as borrowing. This also applies to inserted drawings, pictorial representations, sketches and the like. I have not submitted any part of this work to another body for the purpose of obtaining a study and / or examination. I acknowledge that the proven omission of the indication of origin is considered an attempted deception or a plagiarism and punished with appropriate measures. “(Source: University of Kassel)

The explanation at the end or the beginning of the scientific work

It usually forms the last page after the bibliography and illustration index. It is therefore part of the attachment and thus has neither a page number nor an outline number. However, it should be listed as a separate item in the table of contents.

Optionally, the affidavit can be right at the beginning of the bachelor thesis. In this case follows directly on the cover sheet. If you are unsure which rule applies to your own university or department, you should ask your supervisor for advice.

Who does not stick to the code of honor …

Who makes an affidavit without having adhered to the code of honor for independent writing, can be convicted of deception. If a lecturer proves that references to the sources are missing or that some parts of the paper have been taken over by other authors, the examination will be graded as “insufficient”. In particularly serious cases, however, even more far-reaching consequences threaten: An intentional attempt to deceive can lead to an exmatriculation!

The content of this article is summarized

  • In a sworn statement, the author of a scientific paper affirms that he or she has created it independently, ie without outside help, and solely using the specified sources.
  • The ideas of other authors were identified.
  • The exact wording of the statement may vary from university to university. Therefore, you should use the template of his department.
  • The declaration may also include permission to publish the work.
  • An affidavit is required in particular for larger works, such as a master’s thesis or a dissertation.
  • This is an official, criminally binding document. It is handwritten and forms the last part of a scientific work.
  • This receives no page number and no outline number, but is listed in the table of contents as an extra point.
  • In contrast to this document, the so-called declaration of independence or the honorary declaration does not refer to the criminal code. The latter are thus a mere formality; the affidavit is not that!
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