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The Efficacy of Policy Statements on Plagiarism: Do They Change Students' Views?


Concern about academic dishonesty has led to studies designed to explore its nature, prevalence, and causes. Nevertheless, to date there has been little empirical work designed to test the efficacy of measures to reduce cheating behavior. Many authors agree that there should be institutional statements about academic dishonesty that give definitions and state the penalties for cheating. The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of such statements in terms of their influence on perceived severity and perceived incidence of plagiarism in undergraduates. We found that having the students read a carefully worded statement about plagiarism was an effective way to change the perceptions of how seriously plagiarism breaches academic guidelines. Our data further suggest that providing guidance about avoiding plagiarism that encourages students to take a more serious view of the issue is likely to have positive effects on future behavior.

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Brown, V.J., Howell, M.E. The Efficacy of Policy Statements on Plagiarism: Do They Change Students' Views?. Research in Higher Education 42, 103–118 (2001).

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  • plagiarism
  • cheating
  • dishonesty
  • copying