Predicting Students’ Intention to Plagiarize: an Ethical Theoretical Framework

Journal of Academic Ethics 15 (1):43-58 (2017)
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Abstract

This article investigates whether acts of plagiarism are predictable. Through a deductive, quantitative method, this study examines 517 students and their motivation and intention to plagiarize. More specifically, this study uses an ethical theoretical framework called the Theory of Reasoned Action and Planned Behavior to proffer five hypotheses about cognitive, relational, and social processing relevant to ethical decision making. Data results indicate that although most respondents reported that plagiarism was wrong, students with strong intentions to plagiarize had a more positive attitude toward plagiarizing, believed that it was important that family and friends think plagiarizing is acceptable, and perceived that plagiarizing would be an easy task. However, participants in the current study with less intention to plagiarize hold negative views about plagiarism, do not believe that plagiarism is acceptable to family, friends or peers, and perceive that the act of plagiarizing would prove difficult. Based on these findings, this study considers implications important for faculty, librarians, and student support staff in preventing plagiarism through collaborations and outreach programming.

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