Perceptions of the Prevalence and Seriousness of Academic Dishonesty in Australian Universities
Australian Educational Researcher, Forthcoming
4 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2011
Date Written: July 12, 2011
Academic dishonesty is a fundamental issue for the academic integrity of higher education institutions, and one that has lately been gaining increasing media attention. This study reports on a survey of 1206 students and 190 academic staff across four major Queensland universities in relation to student academic misconduct. The aim of the survey was to determine the prevalence of academic misconduct, and to investigate the extent to which perceptions of dishonesty are shared between students and staff, as preliminary steps toward developing effective strategies to deal with the academic dishonesty/misconduct problem. Results indicate a higher tolerance for academic misconduct by students in comparison to staff, particularly with respect to falsification of research results and plagiarism, as well as considerable underestimation by staff of the prevalence of virtually all forms of student academic misconduct. Overall, the study’s findings confirm the significance of the issue of academic dishonesty within the Australian tertiary sector, indicating considerable divergence between students and staff in terms of perceptions of the seriousness and prevalence of student academic misconduct. We suggest that university administrators need to examine this issue closely in order to develop mechanisms for managing and curtailing the level of academic misconduct, since a failure to do so may lead to a further undermining of the academic integrity of the Australian tertiary sector.
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