Analysis of Academic Misconduct Using Unobtrusive Research: A Study of Discarded Cheat Sheets

By Pullen, Robert; Ortloff, Victor et al. | College Student Journal, December 2000 | Go to article overview

Analysis of Academic Misconduct Using Unobtrusive Research: A Study of Discarded Cheat Sheets


Pullen, Robert, Ortloff, Victor, Casey, Saundra, Payne, Jonathon B., College Student Journal


Cheating is the bane of higher education and strikes at the heart of established values in American culture. Causal factors run the gamut from large classes, impersonal relationships with professors, competition for jobs, gaining higher GPAs in order to enter graduate school, to a culture that appears to accept cheating readily as a normal part of life. While other studies on cheating have examined attitudes, definitions, and justifications, this analysis takes a refreshing digression into the techniques used to cheat, namely the form and format of discarded cheat sheets. The review of actual cheat sheets focused on disciplines represented, type of information recorded, format and construction, method of concealment and the disposal process.

Cheating is the bane of higher education. It strikes the heart of established values in American culture and is present in classrooms and laboratories alike. The academic community has been studying cheating in depth for more than 60 years (Drake, 1941) and has produced many suggestions for its cause and prevention. Causal factors run the gamut from large classes, impersonal relationships with professors, competition for jobs after graduation, higher GPAs to enter graduate school, to a culture that appears to accept cheating readily as a normal part of life (Barnett, 1997, Hajela, 1997, Wilson, 1999, and McCabe & Drinan, 1999). A recent assessment by McCabe and others points to poor role models, lack of parental guidance, and easy access to virtually untraceable sources using the Internet (Clayton, 1999).

The lack of success in preventing all forms of cheating is evidenced by the continued high levels of cheating measured in self-report studies, several of which have been reported in this journal. Frustrating attempts to thwart this continued problem is the apparent lack of desire of professors to challenge students when they suspect a cheating incident has occurred (Maramark & Maline, 1993, Innerst, 1998, and McCabe & Drinan, 1999).

In a comprehensive review of the literature, Stern and Havlicek (1986) found estimates of cheating ranging from 50% to 91%. Recent studies of cheating reinforce the prevalence of the problem with many finding self-reported admission of cheating in the 80% to 90% range (Smith, Ryan, & Diggins, 1972; Sierles, Hendrick, & Circle, 1980; Stern & Havlicek, 1986; and Eskridge & Ames, 1993). A different measure of the seriousness of the problem comes from Whitworth (1990) who adopts an "if you can't beat them. join them" approach and recommends that students be allowed to use crib notes for exams, much like professors use notes when they talk or write. Nevertheless, there is a general consensus, based upon empirical research and anecdotal experience, that academic cheating is a serious, widespread problem.

Nelson and Schaeffer (1986) offer a dissenting view in raising the issue of the difficulty of inferring cheating behavior from self-reported admissions of cheating based upon questionnaire data. Others have echoed that concern and have suggested that actual cheating behavior be studied as a way of validating the information gathered about admission of cheating (e.g. Karlins, Michaels, & Podlogar, 1988). Relatively few studies of actual cheating behavior have been published (for exceptions, see Karlins, Michaels, & Podiogar, 1988; and Ward & Beck, 1990). This is not surprising as it is much easier to study attitudes (Eskridge & Ames, 1993), definitions (Stem & Havlicek, 1986)and justifications (Stevens & Stevens, 1.987) than to study a behavior that is intentionally hidden. In addition, there are ethical problems with the study of cheating in the areas of right to privacy, preventing harm to subjects, and securing informed consent.

This study significantly adds another dimension to the current focus on cheating behaviors. While other studies have examined attitudes, definitions, and justifications, this analysis takes a refreshing digression into the techniques used to cheat, namely the form and format of discarded cheat sheets. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Analysis of Academic Misconduct Using Unobtrusive Research: A Study of Discarded Cheat Sheets
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.