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Research in Higher Education

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 687–704 | Cite as

Circumstances surrounding cheating: A questionnaire study of college students

  • Randy L. Genereux
  • Beverly A. McLeod
Article

Abstract

A questionnaire assessing beliefs and behaviors associated with cheating was administered to 365 college students. Circumstances rated most likely to increase cheating were low instructor vigilance, unfair exams, an instructor who does not care about cheating, and dependence of financial support and long-term goals on good grades. Circumstances rated most likely to decrease cheating were high instructor vigilance, fair exams, high punishment for getting caught, essay exams, widely spaced exam seating, and valuable course material. Principal components analyses revealed several factors underlying planned cheating: difficulty/negative consequences of cheating, pressures, instructor personality, social norms, and interest in the course. These factors relate to the determinants of behavior specified by the theory of planned behavior. Self-reports indicated that 83 percent of respondents cheated in college and that the two most common types of cheating were giving (58 percent) and getting (49 percent) exam questions to and from other students before an exam. Acts of helping someone else cheat were more commonly reported than corresponding acts of cheating for oneself. Students with high cheating scores tended to be male rather than female, to have a low goal grade-point average, and to believe that the prevalence of cheating in college is high.

Keywords

Principal Component Analysis College Student Financial Support Social Norm Common Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randy L. Genereux
    • 1
  • Beverly A. McLeod
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of Behavioral SciencesMount Royal CollegeCanada

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