Instilling a strong research culture is a key strategy of several educational institutions for enabling their students to gain greater heights in learning. Teaching students to practice rigorous research methods is a skillful way of educational institutions to impart the value of knowledge discovery. Therefore, integrity in the manner of conducting research is crucial for producing high-quality findings. Otherwise, both the efforts of, and findings from conducting research could become meaningless because there would be no effective presentation of new knowledge. In that case, the observance of academic honesty stands as an essential virtue for students in conducting research. This study explores further on that matter by explaining that maintaining academic honesty comes necessitates the emergence of certain rules and recommendations. Imbuing the value of academic honesty requires the involvement of particular processes, which students must fully understand and take with considerable wariness.
Academic Honesty As Understood By Students
It is crucial to come up with a discussion on how students understand academic honesty first, before proceeding to the various ways on maintaining it. Roughly, academic honesty refers to the non-observance of any form of cheating by students in accomplishing various outputs for school. In the case of conducting research, academic honesty requires students to provide findings that credit original sources. This means to say that students should not just copy any other information they may have acquired from interviews, surveys, books, journals, and other sources without citing any authors (McCabe, Trevino, & Butterfield, 2001). Inevitably, conducting research requires the use of various sources to verify the claims made by students in their outputs. The presence of information contained in various sources enables researchers – students, in this case, to verify knowledge they are seeking to produce. Therefore, a research output that has no sources bears no substantial effect on any quest for verifying knowledge because arguments without citations from either primary or secondary sources ultimately would turn out as just mere assumptions or allegations made by students (Whitley & Keith-Spiegel, 2001). In sum, the absence of citations makes research outputs less authoritative, more so with the added weight of academic dishonesty in the event students copy information from other sources without due citations (Langa, 2013).
Students view academic honesty with considerable importance in terms of obtaining not just satisfactory school grades but also valuable learning factors. Maintaining academic responsibility is primarily a responsibility of students to gain substantial knowledge in the rubrics and findings from research outputs, as professors evaluate those in the form of giving school grades (Langa, 2013). In that sense, there is a strong understanding that getting high remarks for school grades should not become the main objective of students. Rather, the learning that comes from conducting research with academic understanding in mind should stand as the priority point (Whitley & Keith-Spiegel, 2001).
Therefore, if professors allow students to commit academic dishonesty, the whole point of learning to conduct research loses its sense! Not only do students lose opportunities to obtain satisfactory records in their school grades or disciplinary standings but also they stand to waste valuable time spent for receiving reprimands from school authorities instead of continuing their other classes. It is in that long-term aspect where the responsibility of students to maintain academic responsibility becomes wider in scope (Langa, 2013).
Educational Institutions on Coping with Maintaining Academic Honesty
Authorities at educational institutions hold the regulatory responsibility of preventing their students from committing acts of academic dishonesty. With that comes the need for educational institutions to produce frameworks enabling them to enforce academic honesty, particularly in the realm of conducting research. Where the concern involves the production of knowledge, academic honesty stands out as a prime virtue. In line with that Melendez (as cited by McCabe, Trevino, & Butterfield, 2001) emphasized the importance of instating “academic honor codes” to ensure that students would gain discouragement from committing academically dishonest acts. Said honor code contains four crucial elements. The first point involves an affirmative pledge written by students alleging the originality of their outputs. The second point concerns the majority membership of students in the judicial body that would assess cases of academic dishonesty. The third point includes examinations without the presence of not even one proctor.
The fourth point encourages the formation of a rule enabling students to report academic dishonesty. Of the foregoing points, the fourth point stands as the most distinctive. The distinctiveness of the fourth element lies on the premise that it entails the initiative of students to act against academic dishonesty (Melendez as cited by McCabe, Trevino, & Butterfield, 2001). It may be difficult for students to conduct peer reviews on their works with one another, especially when they are unaware of the technicalities surrounding academic dishonesty. Therefore, it is crucial for educational institutions to advance their education on academic honesty. Proofreading on grammar, sentence structure, and evaluation of citations stand as among the important aspects students need to know for initiating peer reporting of academic dishonesty (McCabe, Trevino, & Butterfield, 2001).
In that way, educational institutions could have a better idea on the importance of maintaining academic honesty.
Whitley and Keith-Spiegel (2001) suggest that educational institutions themselves should take on a more proactive role in terms of preventing the rise of cases of academic dishonesty. Students should gain due information constituting the characteristics of academic dishonesty for them to avoid unwanted violations. In that aspect, educational institutions should work with the students on constructing an academic policy based on the tenets of academic honesty. Programs should reach entire campuses to promote integrity in terms of producing academic works (Whitley & Keith-Spiegel, 2001).
Through those programs, attracting the participation of students could make them more knowledgeable on the issue of academic dishonesty, as they gain knowledge on checking outputs in terms of their originality. Students have to keep in mind the value of integrity in conducting research for them to become keener on checking the quality of their research outputs and other academic activities that would fit the bill of academic honesty (McCabe, Trevino, & Butterfield, 2001).
The importance of academic honesty largely concentrates on the role of educational institutions as regulatory agents of their own students. Verily, it is important for students to learn how to assess academic honesty alongside its value so that they could take on the initiative to conduct peer reporting. In addition, it is crucial for educational institutions to incorporate policies and sets of programs seeking to eliminate academic dishonesty, so that such program would not prevail among students any more.
Langa, C. (2013). Investigation of students’ attitude to academic honesty – empirical study. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 76, 426-430.
McCabe, D., Trevino, L., & Butterfield, K. (2001). Dishonesty in academic environments: The influence of peer reporting requirements. The Journal of Higher Education, 72(1), 29-45.
Whitley, B., & Keith-Spiegel, P. (2001). Academic integrity as an institutional issue. Ethics & Behavior, 11(3), 325-342.