Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1587–1608 | Cite as

Perceptions of Plagiarism by STEM Graduate Students: A Case Study

  • Michelle Leonard
  • David Schwieder
  • Amy Buhler
  • Denise Beaubien Bennett
  • Melody Royster
Original Paper


Issues of academic integrity, specifically knowledge of, perceptions and attitudes toward plagiarism, are well documented in post-secondary settings using case studies for specific courses, recording discourse with focus groups, analyzing cross-cultural education philosophies, and reviewing the current literature. In this paper, the authors examine the perceptions of graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines at the University of Florida regarding misconduct and integrity issues. Results revealed students’ perceptions of the definition and seriousness of potential academic misconduct, knowledge of institutional procedures, and views on faculty actions, all with a focus on divergences between US and internationally-educated students. The open-ended questions provide anecdotal evidence to highlight personal experiences, positive and negative, aimed at the faculty, international students and undergraduates. Combined, these findings outline an important part of the campus academic integrity culture at a major American university. Recommendations for local actions also are discussed.


Plagiarism STEM Honor codes Research misconduct Academic integrity Graduate students 



The authors are deeply grateful for the guidance, mentoring and expertise of Dr. Donald L. McCabe, who not only permitted the adaptation of his survey, but also served as an external consultant on the NSF Grant project, Gaming Against Plagiarism, EESE IIS #1033002.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Leonard
    • 1
  • David Schwieder
    • 2
  • Amy Buhler
    • 1
  • Denise Beaubien Bennett
    • 1
  • Melody Royster
    • 1
  1. 1.Marston Science LibraryUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Library West, George A. Smathers LibrariesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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