A multi-faculty exploration of academic dishonesty


  • Ian Bates School of Pharmacy, University of London, 29– 39 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AQX, UK
  • J Graham Davies School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton, Lewes Road, Brighton BN2 4GJ, UK
  • C Murphy School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular,University of Brighton, Lewes Road, Brighton BN2 4GJ, UK
  • A Bone Brighton Business School, University of Brighton, LewesRoad, Brighton BN2 4AT, UK


Dishonest, academic fraud, learning behaviour, biomedical science


Background: Academic dishonesty by students, in a learning context, is known to occur, but remains a complex issue. What constitutes  academic  “cheating”  may  vary  between  institutions,  cultures  and  attitudes.  What  is  meant  by  dishonesty  in academic contexts is also unclear. It may be related to factors such as advances in learning information technology, a greater movement towards coursework assessment, the relevance of programmes to future career aspirations, and more external factors such as culture, traditions and gender. 

Method: We surveyed students from six different programmes at a multi-faculty university in the UKðn¼1162 students),using a previously validated, self-completion questionnaire. Results were subject to descriptive and comparative analysis.Students studying pharmacy, humanities, business, biomedical science, physiotherapy and education were sampled. 

Results: The prevalence of admitted dishonest behaviours varied according to degree programme (ANOVA,p,0:0001Þand gender (t-test,p,0:001Þ:There was also variation in what is perceived as dishonest behaviour, with students being ambivalent about some behaviours (e.g. “cut and paste” from internet sources). 

Conclusion: The  extent  of  dishonest  behaviour  in  this  sample  varied  between  the  different  faculties.  There  was  also considerable  variation  between  the  types  of  dishonest  behaviour exhibited  by  students.  There is  a clear  need  to  further examine the causes and learning habits associated with cheating behaviour in higher education 



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Research Article