CHARACTERIZING AND MEASURING THE CASES OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY AMONG POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS OF SPANISH UNIVERSITIES
1 Balearic Islands University (SPAIN)
2 University of Granada (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:While the study and analysis of academic integrity among undergraduate students already has a considerable corpus doctrinae and empirical evidences (Bertram-Gallant, 2008, 2010, Bretag & Mahmud, 2009, Bretag, 2013 and 2016, HEA, 2011, Macdonald & Carroll, 2006), surprisingly we find scarce research focused on academic integrity among postgraduate students (Gilmore Strickland, Timmerman, Maher & Feldon, 2010). One reason that can partially explain this deficit is the presumption that postgraduate students already possess knowledge and competences about academic integrity (both in the field of learning activities and in the field of research), so probity and rectitude in their academic tasks it is considered assured in an aprioristic way (Chanock, 2008, Gilmore et al., 2010). However, the evidence indicates that this is not the case and that, among other things, these students are not adequately prepared to cope with the increasingly accentuated academic pressures (Lovitts, 2005) such as the urgency to publish the results of their studies and investigations ("publish or perish" effect), a pressure that particularly affects doctoral students (Østvand & Andreassen, 2017) and, in an increasingly globalized context, students come from diverse cultural and academic backgrounds and contexts (Ismail, Abidin & Hassan, 2011) that present significant differences in terms of conception and perceived severity regarding academic malpractice and misconduct.
The objectives of our research were:
1) To what extent the issue of academic dishonesty amongst postgraduate students has been dealt by the Ombudsmen of Spanish universities?
2) What are the dishonesty issues dealt with by the Spanish universities’ ombudsmen?
3) What recommendations have the ombudsmen made to deal with postgraduate students academically dishonest behaviours?
The methodology followed in this research was based on documentary and content analysis of 136 reports of the university ombudsmen of all the Spanish universities, which include, among other matters, the complaints of cases of academic dishonesty sent to these bodies in each academic year. We included in the sample the annual public reports that we could download from the universities websites and we stablished as inclusion criteria: a) 3 reports per university; b) the last or newest annual reports published.
The results of our research suggest that:
a) The number of cases, denounced to ombudsmen, related to academic dishonesty amongst postgraduate students in the Spanish universities is very low in comparison to the rest of the cases
b) The most denounced cases related to academic dishonesty amongst postgraduate students have to do with academic plagiarism
c) As for the recommendations: the most common recommendations are related to applying more struct and clear academic normative and codes and the implementation of plagiarism software to detect fraudulent behaviours in the master and doctoral dissertations.
This paper is an outcome of the project "Academic integrity amongst postgraduate students: empirical approach and intervention proposals" (Reference: RTI2018-098314-B-I00) is funded and supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MCI), the National Research Agency (AEI) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Keywords: Academic integrity, academic plagiarism, postgraduate, higher education.