Cheating and Feeling Honest: Committing and Punishing Analog versus Digital Academic Dishonesty Behaviors in Higher Education

Adi Friedman, Ina Blau, Yoram Eshet-Alkalai
Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning  •  Volume 12  •  2016  •  pp. 193-205
This study examined the phenomenon of academic dishonesty among university students. It was based on Pavela’s (1997) framework of types of academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, and facilitation) and distinguished between digital and “traditional”- analog dishonesty. The study analyzed cases of academic dishonesty offenses committed by students, as well as the reasons for academic dishonesty behaviors, and the severity of penalties for violations of academic integrity. The motivational framework for committing an act of academic dishonesty (Murdock & Anderman, 2006) and the Self-Concept Maintenance model (Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 2008) were employed to analyze the reasons for students’ dishonest behaviors. We analyzed 315 protocols of the Disciplinary Committee, at The Open University of Israel, from 2012-2013 that represent all of the offenses examined by the Committee during one and a half years. The findings showed that analog dishonesty was more prevalent than digital dishonesty. According to the students, the most prevalent reason for their academic dishonesty was the need to maintain a positive view of self as an honest person despite violating ethical codes. Interestingly, penalties for analog dishonesty were found to be more severe than those imposed for digital dishonesty. Surprisingly, women were penalized more severely than men, despite no significant gender differences in dishonesty types or in any other parameter explored in the study. Findings of this study shed light on the scope and roots of academic dishonesty and may assist institutions in coping effectively with this phenomenon.
digital academic dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, facilitation, academic integrity in higher education, motivation for academic dishonesty, gender differences in penalties given for academic dishonesty
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