Academic Dishonesty

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Research Question: What factors have lead to the growth of academic dishonesty in higher education from the 1940s to the present and how have the methods in which academic dishonesty is employed changed? More specifically, how has academic dishonesty changed throughout the years at Trinity College, both quantitatively and qualitatively?

Relevance: To most educators, the essential element to the success of their mission is academic integrity. It can be said that higher education as well as society will benefit from standards of integrity that pave the way for vibrant academic life, promote scientific progress, and prepare students for responsible citizenship. Despite efforts to maintain this academic integrity within such institutions, academic dishonesty is a major concern associated with many levels of education, especially in higher-level institutions such as colleges and universities. Academic dishonesty consists of any deliberate attempt to falsify, fabricate, or tamper with information or any other material that is relevant to the student’s participation in any academic function. Although there are many different ways in which students partake in being academically dishonest, with the invention of new technologies such as the Internet and cell phones it has become increasingly easier for students to obtain information and wrongly declare it as their own.

Research Strategy: After I had read the email sent out on Monday night from the dean of students about the summary of academic and non-academic judicial cases resolved by the Honor Council or administrative panels for the academic year 2011-present date, I decided to change my research topic to be about academic dishonesty. I read through the nine cases and realized the different ways in which academic integrity had been violated, including directly copying another student’s work, plagiarizing from internet sources, and receiving information for an exam via text from a teacher’s assistant. From here I began my research on academic dishonesty in colleges and universities about why it has increased and in what ways has it changed over the years. I first went to Google scholar and typed in phrases such as “Academic dishonesty in higher education,” “Plagiarism in colleges and universities,” “Academic Integrity,” and “Academic dishonesty and the internet/technology.” I also went to the Trinity College Library homepage, went to Trinity Online Resources (TOR) and looked under Educational Studies and searched some of the same phrases. Although I have not done this yet, I want to look for sources within the Trinity College Library that contain cases and records of academic dishonesty that have occurred beginning in the 1940s to present day. I want to do this in order to be able to detect whether there were any significant changes in the number of reported cases throughout the years as well as determine if the ways in which students cheated or plagiarized have changed overtime.


Maramark, S., & Maline, M. B. (1993). Issues in education: Academic dishonesty amongcollege students. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

Academic Dishonesty: Honor Codes and Other Contextual Influences. Donald L. McCabe and Linda Klebe TrevinoThe Journal of Higher Education , Vol. 64, No. 5 (Sep. – Oct., 1993), pp. 522-538

Diekhoff, George M., Emily E. LaBeff, Robert E. Clark, Larry E. Williams, Billy Francis, and Valerie J. Haines. “College Cheating: Ten Years Later.” Research in Higher Education 37.4 (1996): 487-502. Print.

Rettinger, David A., and Yair Kramer. “Situational and Personal Causes of Student Cheating.” Research in Higher Education 50.3 (2009): 293-313. Print.

Koljatic, Mladen. “Comparison Of Students’ And Faculty’s Perceptions Of Occurrence Of Dishonest Academic Behaviors.” Psychological Reports 90.3 (2002): 883. Print.

Akbulut, Y., S. Sendag, G. Birinci, K. Kilicer, M. Sahin, and H. Odabasi. “Exploring the Types and Reasons of Internet-triggered Academic Dishonesty among Turkish Undergraduate Students: Development of Internet-Triggered Academic Dishonesty Scale (ITADS).” Computers & Education 51.1 (2008): 463-73. Print.

ERIC – World’s Largest Digital Library of Education Literature. Web. 04 Apr. 2012. <>.

“An Ethical Dilemma: Talking About Plagiarism and Academic Integrity in the Digital Age More.” An Ethical Dilemma: Talking About Plagiarism and Academic Integrity in the Digital Age (Ebony Elizabeth Thomas). Web. 04 Apr. 2012. <>.

Jones, D. L. R. (2011). Academic dishonesty: Are more students cheating? Business Communication Quarterly, 74(2), 141-150.;

Witherspoon, M., Maldonado, N., & Lacey, C. H. (2010). Academic dishonesty of undergraduates: Methods of cheating. ().

2 thoughts on “Academic Dishonesty”

  1. Emily, this is an intriguing question that no one in Educ 300 has addressed before, in my recollection. I suggest that you move forward by revising your research question slightly, perhaps in this way:
    Has the Internet facilitated the growth of academic dishonesty since the 1980s in higher education in general, and Trinity in particular?
    The advantages of framing your question this way is that it puts the Internet at the front and center, examining dishonesty cases roughly 15 years before and after 1995, and also allows you to look at larger national trends, with Trinity as one case study.

    With this revised RQ in mind, the most appropriate sources for you to examine further on your list are:
    Maramark 1993, McCabe 1993, Diekhoff (pre Internet boom)
    Jones 2011, Witherspoon 2010 and others like it (post Internet boom)

    Other suggested search strategies would include:
    for national trends — as we discussed, use WorldCat with this search strategy [su:Cheating (Education) su:College students] and look for longitudinal studies or scholarly books/articles on the influence of the Internet on this practice over time

    for Trinity case study sources, go to the Watkinson Library and ask to meet with Peter Knapp, Trinity archivist, show him your RQ, and ask about annual summary reports of academic dishonesty cases from the Dean of Students office (bring a printout of the recent email you mentioned as an example). Depending on what he says, you also may need to go to Joan Murphy, admin asst at the Dean of Students Office, to ask about annual reports. If you do find summary reports, consider making a chart of number of cases/total enrollment, and also consider other factors that may influence data collection (for example: creation of an Honor Council?)

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