Finchilescu, Gillian & Adam Cooper (2018). Perceptions of academic dishonesty in a South African university: A Q-methodology approach. Ethics & Behavior, 28(4), 284-301. (doi:


Abstract: The prevalence of academic dishonesty is a matter of considerable concern for institutions of higher education everywhere. We explored students’ perceptions of academic dishonesty using Q methodology, which provides insights that are different from those obtained through surveys or interviews. South African students ranked 48 statements, giving reasons why students cheat, on an 11-column grid, anchored by strongly agree and strongly disagree. Q factor analysis was used to identify groups of individuals who share the same perspective. The three perspectives that emerged viewed academic dishonesty as (a) moral transgressions, (b) pressure transgressions, or (c) confused transgressions. These suggest different approaches to addressing the issue.

Gillian Finchilescu <Gillian.Finchilescu@WITS.AC.ZA> is in the Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.