A Portrait of a Perfect Academic Cheater: A Jobless Male in Humanity Faculty

Cheating is nothing new in the academic world; students cheat when they’re not fully prepared for their exam. They, also, resort to cheating when working on an important paper for the class. With the incredible progress of technology, cheating became more frequent as students had more options. Some transfer data to their smartphone, others copy and paste content to their paper after finding someone else’s work online. Plus, students also plagiarize content without even realizing it; primarily because they aren’t familiar with the fine line between quotation and plagiarizing. However, not all students are the same, and some are more likely to cheat than others.

Prevalence of academic cheating

When it comes to academic cheating, we usually assume everybody does it. Rare are the occasions when you take some time to think who’s more likely to opt for this type of behavior. A study conducted by researchers at the King Saud University from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia provided a useful insight into this subject. For the purpose of the study, researchers analyzed results of two surveys on cheating and plagiarism which included 148 students who anonymously completed the questionnaire. All participants were undergraduate students in levels 3 – 6 wherein the level is equal to one semester e.g. level 1 is the first semester, level 2 is the second, and so on.

Here’s what researchers discovered:

  • 15.54% students have copied answers from others during an exam
  • 54.73% participants were pressured to give answers during an exam
  • 6.08% students wrote answers on body parts
  • 21.62% students paid someone to complete an assignment for them.

Reasons for cheating varied, including:

  • 31.52% said they cheated due to difficulty of an exam
  • 30.43% didn’t prepare enough
  • 36.96% didn’t have enough time to study
  • 9.78% mentioned having the lenient professor made them cheat
  • 7.61% students cheated because it was fun
  • 31.52% elaborated they cheated because having good grades is important
  • 11.5% students said cheating was ethical.

Who’s more likely to cheat?

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Sciences, also showed findings from other projects including a research featuring a random selection of 380 surveys of whom 157 were males, and 123 were female students. This study revealed that students in the humanity faculties were more inclined to cheat than their counterparts. No differences are found regarding the educational levels of students while there’s a clear distinction between genders. Males proved to be more likely to resort to the academic cheating than female students.

The same results were seen in research from Iran which included 132 students of whom 79 were females, and 52 were males old between 18 and 36. Analyzed data showed that cheating is quite common in Iranian language students who also mentioned the following reasons for their behavior:

  • Not studying enough for exams
  • Lack of time to study
  • Carelessness
  • Lack of punishment from professors.

As you may already noticed, reasons for cheating are quite similar in students from different countries. Interestingly, researchers discovered that regarding academic cheating occupational status plays a pivotal role. You see, jobless students were more likely to cheat than working students. After summing up the substantial amount of evidence, it’s possible to construct a portrait of a typical academic cheater. It’s a jobless male in humanity studies who didn’t study enough or decides to cheat because professors don’t punish this act harshly i.e. he has no fear of being caught because he’s aware nothing serious would happen anyway.

Personality and cheating

Now that you know the characteristics of a typical academic cheater, it’s also important to bear in mind that someone’s personality is a good predictor of this behavior as well. For example, a study whose findings appeared in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied showed that students who cheat in high school or college are highly likely to demonstrate antisocial tendencies. The research also revealed that academic cheaters tend to be manipulative, narcissistic, egocentric, and arrogant.

This study also showed that students cheated to get good grades or because they didn’t care. It’s easy to conclude that a growing number of students assume that cheating is entirely ethical. Furthermore, students who are agreeable and conscientious were less likely to cheat.

Bottom line

Growing body of evidence confirms that students from humanity studies are more likely to cheat; gender differences and employment status play important roles as well. Furthermore, academic cheaters are more apt to exhibit manipulative and arrogant behavior, which is yet another characteristic we can add to their profiles. Unfortunately, we are witnessing the increased rates of students who regard cheating as ethical and fun.

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