A survey of Samford University students regarding plagiarism and academic misconduct


  • Professor Robert H Schrimsher
  • Lori A Northrup
  • Susan P Alverson




The purpose of this study was to obtain students' attitudes and opinions at Samford University regarding plagiarism and academic misconduct by means of an internetbased survey system composed of yes/no questions and Likert-type rating scales. Data from 681 of approximately 4,500 Samford University students (15% return rate) were analysed. Research indicates that plagiarism and other incidents of academic misconduct are on the rise for a variety of reasons. Students seemingly have the notion that internet information is public knowledge and is thus free from intellectual property rights; therefore, they do not seem to think internet information needs to be cited for academic purposes. The vast majority of Samford students agreed that if one submits a paper written by someone else, this would constitute plagiarism; and that it was unacceptable to copy/paste information from the internet without proper citations. Slightly less than a majority of students disagreed that cheating was widespread at Samford; and a majority indicated that faculty should clarify their expectations regarding academic integrity. The results are somewhat similar to other plagiarism and academic misconduct studies.