Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Nordgren, R. D.

Subject Headings

Cheating (Education), Students -- Conduct of life, Cheating, Perceptions of cheating


Research has shown that academic misconduct is an issue of concern in most subject areas across both secondary and post-secondary education. However, variation in both investigators' research interests and definitions of the behaviors being investigated leave many unanswered questions regarding the seriousness and nature of the problem, as well as how educators and their students perceive these behaviors. Although comprehensive data have been collected and continue to inform the field, most major studies of academic dishonesty have assigned what is referred to in the research as "cheating behaviors" based on the researchers' experiences with cheating or the definitions used in previous research. Very few studies have investigated both faculty and student perceptions of the seriousness of pre-defined cheating behaviors, and a surprising lack of research exists which asks participants to define the behaviors they consider to be cheating. This, then, was the foundation of this research. This research took place at two Northeast Ohio universities, selected for their similar academic offerings and service to comparable communities. Faculty and student participants from all colleges at both universities were self selected by completion of an online survey that was sent via e-mail. Both faculty and students perceptions of cheating behaviors are complex. Faculty and student perceptions of the reasons people cheat fell into four categories. When asked to list cheating behaviors, each group listed behaviors which fell into four categories. A factor analysis indicated that there are between five (students) and six (faculty) underlying factors of cheating behaviors. In each case faculty consider student-cheating behaviors to be more serious than students do. In comparison, faculty-cheating behaviors fell into five categories that when comparison could be made, students reported these behaviors to be more serious than faculty did. Students' perceptions vary across colleges of study on the seriousness of many behaviors howev

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