Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Faculty Expectations of Administration: Predictors of Intention to Report Student Plagiarism

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Faculty Expectations of Administration: Predictors of Intention to Report Student Plagiarism

Article excerpt


The issue of student plagiarism in colleges and universities has been receiving increased attention in recent years. The proliferation of information available on the internet has been identified as a major contributor to present day plagiarism (Decoo, 2002; Kennedy, Nowak, Raghuraman, Thomas, & David, 2000). Numerous studies have examined why students plagiarize (Perry, 2010; Williams, 2007; Park 2003). Institutional policies and standards for punishment vary among institutions (Martin, 1994). To further complicate the issue, there are many positions on what should be done to address the issue (Hrasky & Kronenberg 2011; Park, 2004; Decoo, 2002). Additionally, there is no agreement on exactly what constitutes plagiarism (Walker, 2010; Campbell, 2007; Sutherland-Smith, 2005; Park, 2003; Roig, 2001).

Several studies indicate that faculty choices about reporting plagiarism were dependent on their perceptions of the fairness of the institutions' handling of the cases (DeJager & Brown, 2010; Decoo, 2002). Other institutional issues identified in the literature are faculty belief in the need for emphasis on prevention through education (Freeman & Lind-Balta, 2010; Devlin, 2006; Park, 2004) and a need for reexamination of assessment design (Hrasky & Kronenberg, 2011).

Because the identification of a case of student plagiarism rests with the faculty, we are interested in identifying factors that influence faculty members as they encounter plagiarism and make choices about how to respond. In their study of academic misconduct, Koljatic & Sylva (2002) found a significant relationship between faculty beliefs and their choices of actions in cases of academic misconduct. More specifically, this study examines how faculty responses to student plagiarism are influenced by faculty perceptions of how their administration will handle a report of student plagiarism.

The methodology, survey design, demographics, and description of how the data were analyzed are the same as another paper published in Academy of Educational Leadership Journal (AELJ) by Singh and Bennington (2012). However, the questions used in this study and the target behavior questions are different.

Research question: How do faculty perceptions of administration policies on plagiarism influence faculty intention to report plagiarism?


"The survey was designed according to the theoretical framework of Icek Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) (2010) and questions developed based on a literature review of TPB and research on plagiarism in colleges and universities. Figure 1 is a model of the theory as applied in this study.

The Theory of Planned Behavior has been the basis of hundreds of research articles and the efficacy of the theory was demonstrated in a meta-analysis of 185 TPB studies (Armitage & Conner, 2001). In short, a well-designed TPB survey predicts the subject's likelihood of enacting the target behavior. The survey measures a subject's attitude towards a behavior; subjective norms; perceived behavioral control; and intention to enact the behavior.

In this study the target behavior is faculty intention to address suspected acts of student plagiarism. The subjective norms are faculty beliefs and attitudes about social pressures to enact the behavior-in this case, beliefs about social norms among students, other faculty, and administration. Perceived behavioral control identifies faculty beliefs about the ease or difficulty of addressing suspected acts of plagiarism.

The subjects for the survey were the entire faculty at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (348 faculty members as of spring 2010), including tenured, full and part time instructors. The University Institutional Review Board approved sending out the survey via faculty email.

In order to send the survey questionnaire to the interest population, the entire questionnaire was uploaded on the Survey Monkey[R] (internet based response collection tool) by enrolling in the Pro Plan for two months. …

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