Title

Self and Peer Perceptions of Ethical Behavior among Engineering Students

Presenter Information

Sara Johnson

Department

Psychological Science

Major

Psychology

Research Advisor

Henslee, Amber M.

Advisor's Department

Psychological Science

Funding Source

CASB FYRE Pilot Program

Abstract

Background: The prevalence of academic dishonesty (e.g., cheating, plagiarism) is a concern across all academic disciplines, including engineering and STEM fields. In a review of 115 articles, Marfarlane, Zhang, & Pun (2014) reported rates of cheating as high as 82%. Engineering students report more academic integrity infractions compared to students in other academic disciplines (Newstead, Franklin-Stokes, & Armstead, 1996; Harding, Mayhew, Finelli, & Carpenter, 2007; Yeo, 2007). Yang et al. (2013) found that engineering students attribute their academic dishonesty to self-interest concerning scholarships and future job offers. Additionally, complicated scientific or mathematical ideas and phrases, and students’ inability to paraphrase them properly may account for higher rates (Yeo, 2007). Factors that contribute to unethical behavior include one’s prior unethical behavior as well as self-perception of integrity and perceptions of peer behavior (e.g., social norms). Objective: To investigate S&T freshmen engineering students’ self-perception and peer perceptions of ethical behaviors. Method: Students participated as a part of their grade for FE 1100, but were not penalized if they chose not to participate. Surveys of self and peer perceptions, and demographics were administered to approximately 1,300 students at the beginning of the fall semester. Data from students who failed to complete the surveys were omitted. Preliminary Results: Approximately 19% of freshmen engineering students reported a previous history of academic dishonesty. On a Likert scale of 0 (not at all) to 7 (extremely), participants’ self-perception were positive (M = 5.6, SD = 1.2). Data analysis is ongoing. Discussion: Results may be helpful in targeting ethics education to incoming S&T students as well as ongoing efforts throughout the college curriculum.

Biography

Sara Johnson is a freshman student majoring in Psychology. She is involved in the College of Arts, Science, and Business (CASB) First Year Research Experience (FYRE) Pilot Program.

Research Category

Social Sciences

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hall

Start Date

4-11-2017 1:00 PM

End Date

4-11-2017 3:00 PM

Comments

Joint project with Dr. Gayla Olbricht and Luke Settles (Master’s student) in the Mathematics and Statistics Department.

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Apr 11th, 1:00 PM Apr 11th, 3:00 PM

Self and Peer Perceptions of Ethical Behavior among Engineering Students

Upper Atrium/Hall

Background: The prevalence of academic dishonesty (e.g., cheating, plagiarism) is a concern across all academic disciplines, including engineering and STEM fields. In a review of 115 articles, Marfarlane, Zhang, & Pun (2014) reported rates of cheating as high as 82%. Engineering students report more academic integrity infractions compared to students in other academic disciplines (Newstead, Franklin-Stokes, & Armstead, 1996; Harding, Mayhew, Finelli, & Carpenter, 2007; Yeo, 2007). Yang et al. (2013) found that engineering students attribute their academic dishonesty to self-interest concerning scholarships and future job offers. Additionally, complicated scientific or mathematical ideas and phrases, and students’ inability to paraphrase them properly may account for higher rates (Yeo, 2007). Factors that contribute to unethical behavior include one’s prior unethical behavior as well as self-perception of integrity and perceptions of peer behavior (e.g., social norms). Objective: To investigate S&T freshmen engineering students’ self-perception and peer perceptions of ethical behaviors. Method: Students participated as a part of their grade for FE 1100, but were not penalized if they chose not to participate. Surveys of self and peer perceptions, and demographics were administered to approximately 1,300 students at the beginning of the fall semester. Data from students who failed to complete the surveys were omitted. Preliminary Results: Approximately 19% of freshmen engineering students reported a previous history of academic dishonesty. On a Likert scale of 0 (not at all) to 7 (extremely), participants’ self-perception were positive (M = 5.6, SD = 1.2). Data analysis is ongoing. Discussion: Results may be helpful in targeting ethics education to incoming S&T students as well as ongoing efforts throughout the college curriculum.