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Ethical Decision-Making in Higher Education: A sociological examination of graduate students' understanding of appropriate academic sharing

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Date Issued:
2014
Abstract/Description:
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.
Title: Ethical Decision-Making in Higher Education: A sociological examination of graduate students' understanding of appropriate academic sharing.
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Name(s): Parham, Jennifer, Author
Boote, David, Committee Chair
Biraimah, Karen, Committee Member
Vitale, Thomas, Committee Member
Owens, Tom, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: 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.
Identifier: CFE0005394 (IID), ucf:50452 (fedora)
Note(s): 2014-08-01
Ed.D.
Education and Human Performance, Dean's Office EDUC
Doctoral
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): graduate students -- academic integrity -- cheating -- academic dishonesty -- academic sharing -- ethics in education
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0005394
Restrictions on Access: public 2014-08-15
Host Institution: UCF

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