Graduate students, academic integrity, cheating, academic dishonesty, academic sharing, ethics in education
Most prior research and scholarship views cheating as an individual failing rather than a sociological or organizational phenomenon. The purpose of this study was to identify the challenges students face in graduate education and the factors that affect ethical beliefs towards academic dishonesty. This study used a mixed method research approach including an online survey with approximately 1,250 responses from graduate students representing each of UCF's colleges and fifteen interviews with students in fourteen different disciplines. Results of the online survey indicated no significant differences between international and domestic students. Survey and interview data indicate that graduate students' perceptions of the perceived norms and expectations related to academic honesty are impacted by the culture of the academic program. Analyzing these data through three sociological theories of deviance - anomie, labeling, and rational choice - shows that graduate students' understanding of appropriate academic behavior depends on their academic socialization. The data also reveal that graduate students struggle with subtleties of cheating, such as misrepresentation or "fudging" of data. Especially for the doctoral students in the sample, their views were highly influenced by viewing themselves as teachers and independent researchers. This sociological analysis emphasizes the role of culture in graduate programs and students' socialization into those cultures. This doctoral dissertation also provides a deeper understanding of the social and organizational factors affecting graduate students and re-frames students' perspectives on appropriate academic behavior.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Education and Human Performance; Education and Human Performance -- Dissertations, Academic
Parham, Jennifer, "Ethical Decision-Making in Higher Education: A sociological examination of graduate students' understanding of appropriate academic sharing" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4531.