Student and faculty perceptions of plagiarism in health sciences education

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Journal of Further and Higher Education


Academic misconduct is a problem encountered by many academic programmes, including programmes in the health sciences. The primary purpose of the present study was to assess doctoral student and graduate faculty perceptions of academic misconduct, specifically plagiarism. We used a cross-sectional survey design, and separate surveys were developed for students and faculty. The student survey measured student perceptions of the prevalence of plagiarism among students in general and assessed the occurrence of each student’s plagiaristic behaviours. The faculty survey measured faculty perceptions of the prevalence of plagiarism among students in general and among students in their courses specifically. Two hundred and thirty-eight students and 92 faculty completed the surveys. Students were doctoral health sciences students enrolled in a campus-based, online or hybrid programme. Compared with the self-reported behaviour of students, faculty believed more students were involved with plagiarism. Self-rated knowledge about plagiarism was significantly higher among online students and faculty than among campus-based students and faculty (p<0.001). Both students and faculty believed the most common plagiaristic activity was citing and referencing a full-text source when only the abstract was read, but only a few students reported personally doing this. Additionally, more campus-based students than online students reported working closely with another classmate on an assignment when they were not authorised to do so (p<0.001). In the present study, surveyed students and faculty believed plagiarism was prevalent among the general student population; however, few students self-reported this behaviour.

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