Cheating Behavior Among Undergraduate Students Psychology Essay

The journal articles that are reviewed here have common keywords which are students and cheating, which can be classified as academic dishonesty. The research in the first journal is about cheating behavior among undergraduate students. The critical review in the first journal basically criticized the Methodological issue and theoretical issue which involve the sample of the study, procedures and how the research is beneficial to others. The research in the second journal however is about Academic dishonesty and perceptions of Pakistani students. The critical review in the second journal criticized about the Methodological issue and theoretical issue which involve Sample of the study, research instrument and procedure of study.

Journal 1

Cheating behavior among undergraduate students

Batool, Saeeda; Abbas, Anam; Naeemi, Zahra. International Journal of Business and Social Science, ISSN 2219-1933, 01/2011, Volume 2, Issue 3, p. 246


This research paper has taken into consideration the factors that persuade students at the undergraduate level to cheat. The basic purpose of this research paper is to analyze the reasons that persuade students to cheat at the undergraduate level. In this paper, the factors taken in to account are student CGPA, parental pressure, lack of preparation for a particular exam, student’s time consumed in extracurricular activities and gender on the level of cheating done by students. Specifically, for this paper the term ‘cheating’ means the following; cheating on quizzes, exams and assignments. For research and data collection purposes, the total sample size taken is 300 undergraduate students from five different universities. With the data that was collected, analysis was done through cross-tabulation and other tools for defining the relationship between the dependent and independent variables. Lastly, this paper also talks about the relationship between the factors that cause undergraduate to cheat.

Journal 1

Critical Review

Methodological Issue

Sample of the Study

A total of 300 undergraduate students were involved in this research. 60 undergraduate students were selected from five different universities and colleges. The universities and colleges that were involved were NUST Business School, Bahria University, FAST, Islamic International University and Shifa Medical College which are all situated in Islamabad. Even though the sample size of each institution was equal, the data from this research cannot be generalized worldwide due to the small sample of this research and the race of the sample. Even though the sample size of the study was equal, but it is unknown that whether the male ratio and female ration are equal in each sample size. Moreover, the data that were collected were all from the undergraduates in Islamabad, which composed of mostly Middle Eastern students. In addition, the institutions were not chosen at random, due to the institutions were chosen based on the authors’ ability to conduct the study. Thus, it will be inappropriate to use the title of this research which is “cheating behaviors among undergraduate students” due to the data cannot be generalized.

Aside from, that it is unknown that whether the participants were selected randomly or the participants voluntarily participate the research. But, in this case, the researcher most probably adapted the method of convenient sampling. Even though, convenient sampling allows researcher to collect data easily, but it also has the element of selection bias which might affect the results of the research.

Research Instrument

In this research, the researchers use questionnaire as the instrument to collect data from participants. The use of questionnaire in this research allows the researchers to collect standardized data from a large group of participants efficiently. However, the specific individual differences among the participants cannot be observed due to the research method that was used which is questionnaire. Not only that, the instruments that was used (questionnaire) might not be reliable, because it was constructed by the researcher himself and it is not proven to be reliable. Aside from that, the questionnaire itself also limits the participants from giving personal reasons that caused them to cheat; because the questionnaire is a closed ended questionnaire that only allows participants to rate the provided factors that caused them to cheat in the exam. Besides, the participants were required to provide his or her information when answering the questionnaire. Information like, name, contact number (optional), current semester, gender, institute and CGPA were required. The need of providing information might jeopardize the accuracy of the data. Even though participants were told that information that were provided will remain confidential, but some participants might still feel embarrassed to answer the questionnaire truthfully due to the possibility of others might know he or she has a low CGPA.

Even though the use of questionnaire has a number of limitations, but it does have its own advantage which is, it does not have any ethical issue. However, the researcher should use more methods to collect data, instead of just using one method which is questionnaire to collect quantitative data, the researchers should use mix mode research methods to collect both qualitative and quantitative data in order to get a more reliable and accurate data. For example, researcher should combine other methods like face to face interview or use a surveillance camera to observe the students behavior during exams. Although the use of surveillance camera might breach the code of ethic, but this method has very minimum risk to the participants and the benefit of it, is greater than the risk. Because, with the use of surveillance camera, researcher will be able to collect a more accurate data, due to the participants are unaware of they were being observed and will act naturally, thus eliminating demand characteristic.

Theoretical Issue

In this research paper, the researcher provide the reader a clear definition of ‘cheating’ which was student who copied content from another student. There are a total of five hypothesis and five variables, and all of the hypothesis are clear and specific. The hypotheses are, ‘Students with high CGPAs are not inclined to cheat, Males have a higher tendency for cheating than females’, ‘A high degree of parental pressure with respect to getting good grades causes students to cheat’, ‘Lack of preparation for an assignment, quiz or exam increases the chances of cheating’, and ‘Involvement in extracurricular activities reduces the time students devote to their studies which in turn causes them to cheat’.

Even though the researches stated a few hypotheses that causes the students to cheat during exam, but those hypotheses might only be a few factors that causes students to cheat, in order to fully investigation why undergraduates students cheat, more factors should be added into the research. Besides, the research paper did not provide the reasons why the mentioned factors caused students to cheat in exam.

In the results section of this research paper, the researcher stated that, the correlation analysis shows that all variables are positively linked together, and the occurrence of one somehow causes the other factors to appear as well. This statement is contradicting, because the two variables that were mentioned (parental pressure and student’s urge to cheat in exam) in this research were not correlated as shown in the results section.

In the first hypothesis, the researcher stated that, students with high CGPAs are less likely to cheat because they are satisfied with their results and are fear of getting caught when they cheat. But this can be happen another way round, the students with high CGPAs might want to satisfy their need of high CGPAs and thus, they cheat in the exam.

In the third hypothesis, the researcher stated that, there is close to zero level of relationship between parental pressure and the students’ urge to cheat. Meaning, high degree of parental pressure do not cause students to cheat in exam. However, there might be an error here, just because the result for this hypothesis is not significant, it does not mean this hypothesis is not true. It just simply means that, there is not enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis.

Even though, there are some flaws in this research, the conclusion of this research is clear and consistent with the research paper, no additional information was added. Besides, the researcher also includes the limitations and suggestions for future research.

It is a social norm now that people receive education everywhere and as the number of people increases, the syllabus studied will be changing in accordance to the number of keystone discoveries made by people as well. In other words, the standards in education will increase directly proportional to the number of students pouring in to pursue education year by year, causing a ripple effect that drives an increase in the number of cheating cases in accordance to the number of students taking exams yearly. This research paper is beneficial and important; because it helps educationists around the world understand why students cheat in exams. Aside from that, students that were caught cheating in the exams can be traumatized by embarrassment, by identifying the factors that causes students to cheat; the unnecessary traumatized experience can be minimized.

Journal 2

Academic dishonesty and perceptions of Pakistani students

Mian, Sajid Nazir; Aslam, Muhammad Shakeel. The International Journal of Educational Management24. 7 (2010): 655-668.Summary

Academic dishonesty has been a matter of great concern in higher education for last few decades. The dishonest behavior of students at graduate and undergraduate level has become a severe issue for education and business sectors, especially when the students exercise same dishonest practices at their jobs. The present research aims to address this matter by investigating the perceptions of students towards academic dishonesty and exploring the security and penalties for dishonest acts of students. A well-structured questionnaire was used to collect the data from 958 respondents studying at graduate and undergraduate levels in different Pakistani universities. It has been found that students involve in academic dishonest acts more frequently about which they believe to be less severe. Moreover, they also suggested lower or no penalties for the same dishonest acts which are perceived as less severe. The results provide a strong implication for academicians to develop the moralities and ethics in students so that institutions may provide ethically cultivated professionals to the business community. The research paper is pioneer in its nature to explore the academic dishonest acts of students and their perceptions regarding some of the dimensions of academic dishonest and integrity in Pakistani university students.

Journal 2

Critical Review

Methodological Issue

Sample of the study

In order for the data that were collected can be generalized, a total of 1000 questionnaire were distributed to senior graduate and undergraduate students that attend professional class like business, engineering, public administration and commerce in several Universities in Pakistan. Even though, 1000 questionnaire were distributed, the questionnaires were later filtered, and only 958 of it were found usable, contributing a total of 638 males and 320 females which age from 16 to 30. Despite the researcher’s effort of collecting data from senior students in order to generalize the data, the data is difficult to be generalized because Pakistan is comprised of multiple ethnicities and the cultural background of the ethnicity might be one of the factors that causes student to cheat. Besides, the research stated that he only collect data from senior students, which is a form of selection bias, because junior students in university might cheat in exam and assignments as well.

Research Instruments

In this research, the researchers use a well-structured self-administrated questionnaire as the instrument. The questionnaire is divided into two parts, with the first part focuses on demographic factors like gender, age, CGPA, program and subject major. The second part of the questionnaire however focuses on 13 of the most common unethical academic acts that student may involve in. Students were asked to describe how frequently does he or she involves in unethical acts by using five point Likert Scale (with one stands for never and five stands for always involve). The use of Likert Scale in the questionnaire is very beneficial, it is easy to construct, easy to read and complete, and it also has a highly reliable scale (Page-Bucci, 2003). With the use of Likert Scale in the questionnaire, the reliability of the questionnaire is increased. On the other hand, even though the researcher has taken in the gender, CGPA and etc. as demographic factors, but ethnicity was not included in those factors. The accuracy of this research might not be high, because the questionnaire did not include ethnicity into the demographic factors, due to cultural background might also cause student to cheat in exam. Asides from that, the use of questionnaire limits the participants from giving his or her own opinion about academic dishonesty, and thus, the individual difference is not being observed. However, the use of questionnaire did not breach any code of ethic.


The questionnaire was distributed to students in class at various universities in Pakistan. Students took approximately 15minutes to complete each questionnaire. The collected data were later tested using Cronbanch’s alpha (SPSS16) and it produced a co-efficient of 0.85, and the researcher has proved that the value of this alpha is greater than 0.5, which make it reliable and valid. In spite of this, it is unknown that whether the classes in the universities were chosen randomly or is it selected based on convenient sampling. Aside from that, it is also unknown that, were the participants voluntarily took part in the research or they were given extra credits to take part in the research. Because, if the participants were given extra credits for the effort of taking part in the research, the participants might display demand characteristic and felt obligated because they were given extra credits.

Aside from that, participants should be given the questionnaire individually instead of asking all the participants to take the questionnaire in class, because participants might felt embarrassed when they were filling in the questionnaire nearby their peers and friends, and they might end up giving a socially desirable answer, which will contribute social desirability bias and jeopardize the results of this research.

Theoretical Issue

In this research there are no specifically mentioned hypothesis, instead, this research focused on investigating the perceptions of students towards academic dishonesty and exploring the security and penalties for dishonest acts of students. Even though this research is lack of hypothesis, but it is good that the hypothesis is not available in this research, because it will eliminate the expectation bias in this research and thus, making this research more accurate.

In the results section of this research, the researcher stated that, based on the statistics, the female has a higher CGPA ranging from 3.00 to 4.00, male however, has a low CGPA which range from 2.50 to 3.50, and this reflects that females are more hardworking and ultimately achieving good grades as compared to their male counterparts. This statement however, is not entirely true as the ratio for males are higher as compared to the females. 67percent of the participants are male and only 33 percent of participants are female, due to the overwhelming number of males against females, the results on the overall findings for the male’s CGPA is expected to deteriorate.. Not only that, male participants on another hand might be hardworking as well, but they were involve in extra activities and affecting their grade, so the statement of female participants are more hardworking as stated in the results part might not be true.

Aside from that, the researcher also found out that approximately 90 percent of the total respondents were found to be never involved or rarely involved in dishonest acts like copying exam from cheating material, stealing the exam material. And this is most probably due to participants perceive this as a more severe acts and they suggested higher level penalty for these dishonest behaviors. However, students perceive issues like copying assignment/ project report from internet without citation as a less severe act and the statistics shows that participant involved in this act occasionally and thus they suggest a lower level penalty for this dishonest behavior.

In the end of this research paper, the conclusion is consistence with the rest of the research paper which is participants suggest lower penalties for the less severe dishonest behavior that they usually involve in and suggest a higher penalties for the dishonest behavior that they rarely involve in. Aside from that, this research also confirms the finding of another research which is student consider exam related behavior as more severe than collaborating on home assignments and projects.

This research paper is important, because it stresses on the ethics of undergraduates, and the ethical issues can be brought up to work and ultimately the society structure. However small of an issue it may seem to this society, it will eventually develop into greater issues if neglected as people do not realize the severity of dishonest behavior.

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