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Students views, experiences and suggestions with respect to academic honesty in higher education: a phenomenological study

The purpose of the study was to examine the views and experiences of university students on academic honesty. To this end, a phenomenological design, as a type of qualitative research, was used. The sample was selected through the method of maximum variation qualitative sampling and included 18 undergraduate students from different faculties at a state university in Ankara. The researchers prepared a semi-structured interview form and conducted interviews with students. Before the data collection process, the approval of the ethics committee was obtained; cognitive interviews were held; and expert opinions were gathered through cognitive interviewing to check the validity and clarity of the interview form. The qualitative data obtained from the interviews were analyzed using descriptive analysis. The findings suggested that most of the students were not adequately and specifically informed about academic honesty and they did not have any specific training on it. However, they knew the general content of academic honesty. The students listed the academic dishonesty behaviors that they mostly observed as cheating, using others’ academic work without citing, resubmitting an academic work/ presentation they did earlier and copying from the Internet sources without citing. Moreover, the main reasons of academic dishonesty were reported as the desire to get higher grades and the inadequacy of the time given for studying for exams and for completing assignments. It was also revealed that the students were generally unresponsive to academic dishonesty behaviors. Lastly, the students indicated their need for more information and training on academic honesty to be provided by the faculty members and administrators.