ACADEMIC DISHONESTY AMONGST POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS: THE EVOLUTION OF MISCONDUCT BASED ON EXPERTS’ KNOWLEDGE
1 University of Balearic Islands / Stockholm University (SPAIN)
2 University of Balearic Islands (SPAIN)
3 Stockholm University (SWEDEN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:There is no doubt that academic integrity is one of the main characteristics when trying to define high-quality education. However, the phenomenon of academic dishonesty and misconduct is a rising question at an international level that has become more complex and sophisticated due, specially, to the massive -quasi monopolistic in some cases- use of information and communication technologies in the teaching-learning processes. Traditionally, academic dishonesty focused primarily on cheating while taking an exam or writing assignments, but the development of ever smaller technological communication devices, and the appearance of the Internet with its unlimited possibilities of access to information and resources to edit written content, opened new ways to academic misconduct. And there are many evidences that these dishonest behaviours have even increased during the pandemic COVID-19 (Comas-Forgas et al., 2021).
This paper concentrates on the problem of academic malpractices in the context of postgraduate education in the Ibero-american context, by analysing the evolution (increase, decrease or stabilization), during the last 5 years, of 24 academic dishonesty behaviours based on the opinion and expertise knowledge of a sample of experts in the field. The study conducted was based on a modified Delphi panel in which 25 experts (to be considered expert all participants had to published previously a minimum of 3 double-blinded reviewed scientific articles on the field of academic integrity) from 9 iberoamerican countries participated. The Delphi study was conducted at the end of 2021 and consisted on an iterative questionnaire that was administrated during 3 rounds to all participants seeking their consensus on assessing the evolution of the 24 before mentioned dishonest behaviours committed by postgraduate students.
Results show that the dishonest behaviours amongst iberoamerican postgraduate students that have increased, in opinion of the experts’ panel, are: cheating in an evaluable online activity with the help of technological devices, plagiarism, produce fragmented publications of the same work/study (salami slicing) and contract-cheating (paying someone to elaborate an assignment or dissertation). On the other hand, the misconducts that have decreased are: subtract/get the statements of an evaluation test before its realization, impersonate another person in an assessment test and using cheat sheets during exams and tests.
The evidences obtained by the study are very useful to design and implement strategies and policies to confront academic dishonesty focusing in the more urgent necessities based on the opinions of experts.
This paper is part of the project IAPOST grant RTI2018-098314-B-I00 funded by MCIN/AEI/ 10.13039/501100011033 and by “ERDF A way of making Europe” and of the activities of the “Iberoamerican Network of Researchers in Academic Integrity” www.red-ia.org. Paper linked with the scholarship “Grants for the requalification of the Spanish university system for the period 2021-2023” awarded to Dr. Comas Forgas by the “Spanish Ministry of Universities”.
 Comas-Forgas, R., Lancaster, T., Calvo-Sastre, A., & Sureda-Negre, J. (2021). Exam cheating and academic integrity breaches during the COVID-19 pandemic: An analysis of internet search activity in Spain. Heliyon, 7(10), e08233.
Keywords: Academic integrity, postgraduate, Delphi method, higher education.