Medical students’ perception and involvement in academic dishonesty: A cross-sectional study in Lahore, Pakistan

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Fatima Aslam
Usman Mahboob
Qundeel Zahra

Abstract

Background & Objectives: Academic dishonesty is a complex issue prevalent in medical institutions around the globe. The aim of this study is to determine the perception and involvement of medical students in academically unethical behaviours and potential relationship between the two variables.


Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from 125 MBBS medical students of a private medical college of Lahore, Pakistan. Results were evaluated using chi-square and Fisher’s exact test to determine the association of perception with involvement.


Results: 63.2% of respondents were aware of institutional regulations on academic dishonesty but had low understanding and support for these policies. 87.2% of students had witnessed a classmate cheating in a test but majority never reported these acts. High academic workload and family pressures were the leading causes of involvement in academic dishonesty. Sharing assignment’s matter and helping a colleague in a test were some of the highly occurring form of academic misconduct. Participants considered that copying colleague’s work without permission and using electronic gadgets for help in exams was a serious offence but copying with permission was not. There was no difference between involvement score of students who had awareness about regulations as compared to students who do not have information about it.


Conclusion: This study elucidates that participants get involve in cheating besides being aware of institutional regulations on academic dishonesty and believe that there is no harm in cheating with consent. Institutions should take measures to inculcate values of academic integrity in students and help them better understand the severity of penalties.


Keywords: Academic dishonesty, medical students, perception, involvement

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