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Durham e-Theses
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Academic misconduct in higher education: perceptions, self-reports and perspectives

Smith, Helen M. M. (2008) Academic misconduct in higher education: perceptions, self-reports and perspectives. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



In the last two decades the international research literature has demonstrated a growing awareness of student cheating, with high levels of self-reported cheating, especially in the United states (U.S.). Much of the early literature on student cheating originated in the U.S. but from the mid 1990s onwards there was increased interest in student cheating in Europe and the rest of the world. The aim of this research was to explore perceptions and self-reports of, and attitudes towards, cheating in undergraduate programmes. There was an element of comparison involved, in trying to identify differences between students studying for degrees in healthcare professions and psychology. A mixed methods approach was adopted. First, students (n=159) completed anonymous questionnaires that invited them to i) rate the perceived frequency of use in "students on a course like theirs" of each of 27 behaviours that ranged from signing as present students who were absent from classes to copying in examinations; іі) self-report their own use of the same behaviours. Second, volunteer students (n=10) and academics (n=12) from the same programmes as the questionnaire sample were interviewed. Questionnaires were analysed using SPSS to identify within-group and between-group differences; interview transcripts were analysed using the constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Ninety six percent of the sample believed that "students on a course like theirs" cheated in some way, exact percentages ranging from 24%-96%, depending on the cheating behaviour. When it came to self-reporting, the students in the sample self- reported significantly less cheating than they perceived in their peers. Whilst there were significant differences between healthcare and psychology students in their perceptions of cheating, no such difference was found in their self-reports. Interviews revealed that almost 60% of students believed that academics rarely investigate suspicions of cheating. Fifty percent of academics confirmed that view.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Thesis Date:2008
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:34

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