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DOI 10.1515/libri-2014-0009 

 Libri 2014; 64(2): 109−123

Amanda B. Click

“Taking Something That Is Not Your Right”:
Egyptian Students’ Perceptions of Academic
Integrity
Abstract: This study explores the perceptions of Egyptian undergraduate students at The American University
in Cairo, an American-style private university in Egypt,
as related to academic integrity. The research questions
were developed in order to discover how these students
perceive the scholarly environment in which they learn,
if they engage in dishonest behaviors, and if so, why. The
qualitative results of this mixed-method study were collected via online survey and photovoice interviews, an
ethnographic method in which participants take photographs in response to prompts provided by the investigator. In the survey, students were asked to define academic
integrity and explain how they learned about the concept,
and also respond to statements about the scholarly environment on campus. The photovoice participants took
photographs in response to the following prompts, and
others related to their research processes: something that
shows how you feel about plagiarism, something that
shows how you feel about cheating, something that shows
how you learned about academic integrity. The results include the responses to 114 completed surveys, supported
by the photographs and content of the eight photovoice
interviews. The qualitative data was coded line by line,
and larger themes were identified. Students indicate that
their colleagues engage in academically dishonest behavior regularly, and pointed to poor time management,
pressure for high grades, and helping friends as reasons
for this. The paper argues that academic librarians are in
a unique position to promote academic integrity on campus, and provides some suggestions for advocacy.


Amanda B. Click: PhD Student and ELIME-21 Fellow, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America
Email: amanda.click@gmail.com

Introduction
Teaching college and university students about academic
integrity and supporting an ethical scholarly environment
is a cross-campus endeavor, and academic librarians can
and should play a significant role in supporting these efforts (Lathrop and Foss 2005; Caravello 2008; Madray
2008; Germek 2009; Gibson and Chester-Fangman 2011;
Wrenn and Kohl 2012). This exploratory study will contribute to the body of literature on academic integrity by
providing librarians and other educators with information
about the ways that Egyptian students at The American
University in Cairo (AUC) approach these issues. AUC is
a private, American-style liberal arts university in Egypt.
The language of instruction is English, and AUC offers undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. In the
fall of 2012, 6,600 degree-seeking students were enrolled
at AUC and 92% of them were Egyptian (AUC Office of Institutional Research 2013, 16). This study utilizes both qualitative data gathered from an online survey and photovoice
interviews to provide insight into how Egyptian students
at one university actually conduct their academic work,
and how they avoid or engage in academically dishonest
behaviors in the process.
Certainly it is impossible to make sweeping generalizations about “Arab students” or even “Egyptian students,” and in fact the findings of this study should not
be extrapolated to students at other universities in Egypt,
the Middle East and North Africa, or elsewhere. This exploratory study is simply an early step in the process of
understanding how culture effects perceptions of academic integrity. There are, however, some cultural differences
that might be taken into account when conducting this
type of research. For example, Western-style education
values creativity, critical thinking and research, and the
education systems in many Arab cultures focus more on
the memorization of texts and lecture notes (UNDP 2011)
requiring little or no use of the library (Lesher and AbdelMotey 2009). It is important to note that this emphasis on
memorization is becoming less common in the countries
that have been working toward education reform (Galal

which may affect the way that students learn and approach tasks (Hofstede 2001). because they are unlikely to be forced to face the consequences (Hutton 2006). 391). and because they think that faculty do not care if they cheat (McCabe. some research has shown a “faculty versus students” mental- . McCabe and Treviño (1997. and Treviño 2012. They found that “the perceptions of behaviors of one’s peers with regard to academic integrity showed a very strong relationship with a student’s individual decision on whether to engage in academic integrity” (McCabe. Studies have found that students engage in academic dishonesty because they have certain personality traits (Kisamore. indicating that social learning theory can explain choices related to academic integrity in non-American student populations as well. 47). making it a potentially useful tool for understanding student choices related to academic integrity. 278). Social learning theory. For example. Personality and Relationships While Kisamore. A more thorough discussion of this study can be found below. because they have strong relationships with classmates and weaker relationships with professors (Stearns 2001). 390) agree that studying situational variables is important. and Jawahar 2007). 63). Click. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right” 2008). two leading scholars in the study of academic integrity on college and university campuses.”. McCabe and Treviño suggest that social learning theory might provide the most appropriate context for educators to approach issues of academic integrity. In addition. conducted a multi-campus investigation on the “influences of individual and contextual factors on self-reported academic dishonesty. McCabe also worked with faculty at the American University of Beirut to conduct a study of students in Lebanon (McCabe. and Jawahar (2007. Stone. Stone. 392). are “less likely to perceive or engage in academic dishonesty” (Kisamore. affects how students perceive academic integrity culture and behave within this culture. Note that only English-language publications are included in this literature review as a result of the author’s language limitations. and patterns of thought and behavior” (Bandura 1986. which is related to responsibility and conformity. In addition. and Adjustment. developed by Bandura (1986). which is related to confidence and composure. Similarly. Learning by observation is “one of the most powerful means of transmitting values. there appears to be a dearth of literature addressing this topic in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Clearly there is no simple answer. and why? Literature Review Why do students cheat? Why do they plagiarize? These and similar questions have been asked often. They found that students who have high scores on Prudence. while answering the following questions: How do Egyptian students at AUC perceive academic integrity? What do they think about the culture of academic integrity at their university? Do these student engage in academic misconduct. by researchers and scholars in numerous fields. and Jawahar 2007. Their most important finding was that contextual or situational factors. have a stronger effect on behavior than individual or personal characteristics of students. Relationships also play an important role in academic integrity on college and university campuses. 105) found that students who “perceive that social norms permit cheating” engage in academic misconduct more often than other students. particularly factors that were peer-related. Arab cultures tend to value collectivism over individualism. This paper attempts to take into consideration cultural differences. Butterfield. suggests that “much of human behavior is learned through the influence of example” and that people “learn and change their DE GRUYTER behavior based on their observation of credible others in the environment” and the consequences of their behaviors (McCabe and Treviño 1997. While there is much literature about academic integrity in North America. although this observation is made under a different theoretical framework.110   Amanda B. which focuses on qualities related to successful performance. and Abdallah 2008). Imran and Nordin (2013. and Treviño 2006). Feghali. 379). Student evaluations of instructor classroom behavior and perceptions of student-instructor relationships affect ethical behavior. They studied the ways in which the personality constructs from the Hogan Personality Inventory (Hogan and Hogan 2007). because they see others cheating (McCabe and Treviño 1997). Butterfield. students who admit to academic dishonesty tend to “have lower evaluative perceptions of their instructors” (Stearns 2001. Stone. they suggest that investigating the ways that “situational factors interact with personality constructs to influence perceptions of and intentions relating to academic dishonesty” would also be useful to educators. Social Learning Theory In a seminal work from the mid-1990s. attitudes.

Most of the literature in the library and information field focuses on plagiarism. 515). The concept of collectivism versus individualism is one of the four dimensions of Hofstede’s (2001) cultural framework. 465) suggest that students that function in this type of culture may be more prone to behaviors that would be considered dishonest within the frame of Western academia. or Arab populations in North America. Jackson (2006. [and] a clear statement of community expectations regarding academic integrity. situate. working together to manage a challenging task. Caravello (2008). “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right”  ity that is detrimental to the culture of academic integrity (Kidwell. however. 418) calls for “plagiarism instruction to be infused throughout students’ . though. McCabe. –– Partnering with writing programs and centers to develop. 464) because of the collectivist nature of Lebanese society.  111 Feghali. Wozniak. and Laurel 2003). Elzubeir and Rizk. The most interesting observation from this article suggests that Islamic values such as “co-operation.” which would emphasize some of the elements found in a typical honor code such as “particularly high levels of student involvement. and Arab cultures tend to be highly collectivistic. and some literature exists to support this statement. Individualism versus collectivism is illustrated in the ways that people within a particular society live together and define relationships with others. they suggest that “judging the cheating behavior of students in non-Western contexts using Western standards may be problematic” (McCabe. support. conducted an interesting study of medical students at United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain. Of the few articles that do exist. 163-164).” Academic Integrity and Library Instruction The Association of College and Research Library’s definition of information literacy requires that individuals are not only able to locate and evaluate information. Drinan. Students surveyed in North America have also indicated that they do not believe it is the responsibility of the student body to monitor unethical behavior (Hendershott. offers ways that librarians can contribute to the cross-campus discussion of these issues. and develop better training that is coordinated with the students’ research experiences and graduate curriculum. and includes a discussion of the potential impact of Lebanese culture on academic integrity. and suggest the development of a “collectivist honor code. and often students in this type of culture prefer to answer questions or create knowledge collectively. It should be noted. most utilize weak methodology and provide little insight. and makes this the only research to discuss Islam at all (Elzubeir and Rizk 2003. A collectivistic society is one in which “people from birth onward are integrated into strong. and Cross 2000). –– Experimenting with techniques to incorporate academic integrity contents tailored to the discipline into information literacy instruction and course assignments. and dishonest behavior is promoted as students observe one another making unethical choices (Hutton 2006). Although they found that Lebanese students engage in academically dishonest behavior more often than American students. and Abdallah 2008. The students viewed unethical practices such as marking an absent classmate present for a lecture “less seriously than other aspects of educational misconduct. Research in the Middle East There is little published research in English on academic integrity among student populations in the MENA region. and Abdallah (2008) compared the perceptions of academic dishonesty of Lebanese and American students at the American University in Lebanon. that this approach to academic integrity is not unique to students in the MENA region. Click. 594).DE GRUYTER Amanda B. including: –– Actively collaborating with faculty and deans to initiate. Their research is particularly useful because it utilizes McCabe’s model to study the connection between contextual factors and student behaviors. and benevolence in all aspects of social life” may shed some light on students’ hesitancy to report unethical behavior. but also to use it in an ethical manner (ACRL 2000). This would indicate that librarians should make it a priority to teach students and other library users about issues of academic integrity. relationships between students and faculty have weakened. and Abdallah (2008.” such as falsifying information on a medical chart (Elzubeir and Rizk 2003. This indicates that students may have a different perspective than faculty or administrators when it comes to defining ethical behavior. brotherhood. Feghali. McCabe. Social network theory indicates that because relationships between students have strengthened as a result of multiple modes of social interaction. publicize and disseminate training materials for graduate students (Caravello 2008. Feghali. in her extensive literature review about academic integrity and graduate students. cohesive in-groups” (Hofstede 2010. They found that students are genuinely confused about plagiarism and are reluctant to report colleagues for academic misconduct. 593-594).

because all AUC students are required to take this course (except for a small percentage that pass an exemption exam) and thus the sections are populated with students from all classes and majors. Thus. Although the data is not included here. Participants demonstrated that they viewed. Because this is an exploratory study.” Methods Multiple methods were used to collect data in this study.g. More generally. Participants were given a week to take the photographs for ten prompts. all photovoice participants were self-selected. These students were instructed to DE GRUYTER contact the primary investigator directly. this was not a random sample of students. 1517). Surveys also provide standardized measurement. and often are the “only way to ensure that all the data needed for a given analysis are available and can be related” (Fowler 2002. 238) notes that “librarians want to foster respect for the work of scholars from whose work we draw wisdom” and should encourage students to create their own ideas and “contribute to [the] professional canon or body of knowledge. a required information literacy course that is taught by instruction librarians. The ethnographic method of photovoice is well suited to research in which the participant’s perception is sought.” perhaps by integrating librarian-developed online tutorials into courses across the curriculum. this study was piloted and survey and focus group data were collected. The full survey instrument can be found in Appendix A. Students in six sections of LALT 101 were asked to complete the survey. Viewing photographs can allow the researcher into spaces to which she would not usually have access. Photovoice is an ethnographic method in which participants take photographs in response to prompts provided by the investigator (McIntyre 2003). Lampert (2004) encourages librarians to embed academic integrity instruction in specific courses and to provide discipline based academic integrity instruction. 48). “Please briefly describe academic integrity in your own words. an anonymous online survey was selected as the best option for gathering larger amounts of data. 4).112   Amanda B. The semi-structured interview provides rich data. particularly when studying a sensitive topic like academic dishonesty.” and quantitative. In the spring of 2012. and to interpret the intentionally vague project instructions as they best see fit. as a result of participant comments in the pilot study focus group.” The survey was distributed to six sections of LALT 101 during class time. The three prompts directly related to academic integrity were: –– Something that shows how you feel about plagiarism –– Something that shows how you feel about cheating . the experience of running the pilot study supported the development of the survey for the fall 2012 study. Then a small number of photovoice interviews were conducted with students. They were also surprisingly open about students’ actions and choices. e. for example. such as asking students to indicate their level of agreement with a statement like “I believe that my professors encourage ethical behavior. although researchers must be particularly careful in conducting these interviews. and thus it seemed appropriate to include straightforward questions like. cutting and pasting text from a website and copying exam answers from a classmate as distinctly different behaviors. Photovoice Method Participants who volunteered to participate in the photovoice part of the study were asked to take a series of photographs and then describe them to the primary investigator. and “strike a delicate balance between their goal of collecting data and retaining compassion for participants” (ClarkIbáñez 2004. “Why do you think AUC students cheat?” Sampling All participants were recruited from LALT 101. Students who completed the survey were asked if they were interested in participating in the photovoice segment of the study. so that interview responses and photos could not be correlated with survey responses. The survey developed for this study included both qualitative questions. so that data is comparable and consistent across respondents. First. Survey Method Because of the sensitive nature of the topic. and students were asked to participate only if they wished to do so. a distinction was made between cheating and plagiarism as behaviors that fall under academic dishonesty in the final version of the survey. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right” everyday academic lives. because it allows participants to “record aspects of their daily lives from their own perspectives” (McIntyre 2003. Wood (2004. an online survey was distributed to students in six sections of LALT 101. For example. Click. all of which were related to completing academic assignments and research. purposeful sampling was deemed to be appropriate.

Particularly if participants feel that the interviewer is in a position of authority. In some cases. including all the photo prompts. and ages can be found in Figure 1. Future research might be expanded to include interviews. This study was conducted entirely in English. when discussing a potentially sensitive subject like unethical behavior. Results Participant Characteristics The survey was attempted by 137 students. the researcher may influence the nature and content of the data produced (Morgan 1997. this is an exploratory study that utilizes non-random sampling and findings should not be considered generalizable. contradicting data may make drawing conclusions difficult. or at least survey instruments. The interview prompts are listed in Appendix C. and the decision was made to focus on the undergraduate population. The group is not representative of Arab culture. Students’ areas of study are divided by school in the following table. The transcriptions were analyzed in a similar manner. and gathering truthful data may be challenging. the Middle East and North Africa. and completed by 114 after removing graduate students and those under 18 years old. or even Egyptian culture. Transcripts were reviewed two to three times each. Only three graduate students completed the survey.” “rules/codes/policies. participants may be uncomfortable responding truthfully. For example. with the permission of the participant. 15). In addition. The way students discuss their classmates’ behaviors is very different from the way they discuss their own. In addition. Respondents were 65% female and 35% male. when students were asked to describe academic integrity in their own words. Respondents could select more than one . a significant theme might not be recognized as such until it appeared more than once. to include students from other universities Egypt. honesty. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right”   113 Figure 1: Ages of survey respondents (N=114) –– Something that shows how you learned about academic integrity The photovoice information sheet. Data Analysis Qualitative responses in the survey data were analyzed with a coding process that involved identifying recurring themes in responses. Click. Photovoice interviews were audio recorded and transcribed.DE GRUYTER Amanda B. All interviews were audio recorded. and while this research allowed me to develop some theories to explain behaviors. thus revisiting the interviews was an essential part of the process. Limitations As previously noted. in order to catch all instances of themes that were identified in transcripts examined later in the analysis. trust” came up again and again. can be found in Appendix B. recurring themes were identified and categorized. academic integrity can be a delicate topic. in Arabic. most of whom are of a higher socio-economic status than the majority of their countrymen.” and “respect. concepts like “not stealing other people’s work. which limits the respondents to par- ticularly well-educated students.

1% 11. and 37. since this was a qualitative question: “indicating when using someone else’s work/ quote or even ideas. Almost 90% of students indicate that they understand the concept of academic integrity.3%). and only 6. An undeclared sophomore explained that for disorganized classmates. and four seniors. For example. or respondents’ actual inability to define the phrase. four seemed to misunderstand the question and gave answers that described academic dishonesty.9% 37.8% for plagiarism. . most common themes (N=27) Table 1: Areas of study (N=135) School of Study DE GRUYTER Frequency Percentage 33 34 22 26 20 135 24. two were majoring in communication and media arts. and one each in political science.0% are neutral. Respondents were not forced to answer any survey questions. There is no clear trend here.” The most common response theme was “no cheating.” followed by “proper use of others’ work” and “honesty.5% agree. although only 23. one sophomore. Eight undergraduates participated in the photovoice study. and so the frequency total is greater than the total number of responses. More than half of respondents (52. survey respondents credit their professors the most often. Learning about Academic Integrity When asked how they learned about academic integrity. more than one theme appeared in the same response. but a higher percentage would be willing to report academic dishonesty to a professor – 20.” The most commonly occurring themes of all survey responses (N=27) can be found in Table 2.2% 16.” “whenever you use outside sources…you have to quote them. for example. Defining Academic Integrity Participants were asked to describe academic integrity in their own words. When asked if their professors seemed to care about academic integrity. journalism.6% 22. Students believe that their professors encourage ethical behavior. Only 27 students answered this – 23.3% 14. student opinions vary. The numbers indicate. four of the eight photovoice participants responded that they absolutely did. aside from the question to determine age (and thus participant eligibility).” and “it is all about taking something that is not your right or in other words it is cheating. Click. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right” Table 2: Definition of academic integrity.114   Amanda B. In some cases. that some students did not feel able to compare AUC students to students in North America. 33. and art.3% 19. one junior.7% of respondents. Three students had not yet chosen their majors (undeclared). including six female student and two males.2% 11. It is unclear whether this low response rate is related to the burden of the open-ended question. they gave definitions like “violating the rules. The sample included two freshmen. there are fewer than 114 responses to each of the sub-questions.1%) or plagiarism (12.5% disagree.” Most of the photovoice participants (5 out of 8) defined academically dishonest behavior as taking advantage of others’ work or failing to give credit where it is due.3% for cheating and 22. which is why the number of respondents adds up to 135 instead of 114.0% Business Humanities and Social Sciences Global Affairs and Public Policy Sciences and Engineering Undeclared Total option in the case of a double major.7% were willing to define the concept for the previous question.1% The Academic Integrity Environment Respondents were given a series of statements related to the environment of academic integrity on campus and asked to agree or disagree.8% 100. “the easiest thing is just to copy anything off the net or use someone else’s ideas and not give credit. Of the 27. The responses to all eleven statements can be found in Table 3.6%) are satisfied with the academic integrity environment at AUC.0% 29.” Note that “proper use of others’ work” was phrased in many different ways. Reponses to “I think that AUC students in general are ethical students” are spread out: 29. while three hedged and said that “some” of their professors cared. Theme No cheating Proper use of others’ work Honesty Originality of work Morality/Ethics Respect Frequency Percentage of Total Responses 14 10 8 6 3 3 51. For this reason.0% think that AUC students engage in cheating more often than students in other universities in Egypt.4% 25. Very few would be willing to report a classmate to the Academic Integrity Committee for cheating (12.

6% 3.0% 33.0% 32. another explained that turning in essays copied from the Internet was accepta-ble.1% 1.5% 8.3% 1.8% 44.4% 18.7% 8.9% 40.8% 1.9% 5.1% of male respondents say the same.Amanda B.2% 9.9% 4.4% 6.8% 26. Specific classes were named as well.7% 11. who are both academics.2% 77 21. Click. just over half of respondents (50.9% 23. and very few think that AUC students never cheat.5% 47.7% think that their classmates plagiarize often.9% 36. weekly or daily. A female political science major demonstrated this concept with a photograph of a syllabus from one of her courses (Figure 2).6% 35. explaining Strongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree nor Disagree Agree Strongly Total Agree Responses 3.5% 9.6% 32.0% 26. I would report a classmate to the Academic Integrity Committee for cheating.4% 7.4% 18. One respondent explained that he learned about academic integrity from his parents. One student said that they were given a cursory “Don’t cheat!” from their high school teachers.3% 44. But 72. meaning 2-3 times per semester.0% 41. Students indicate that they often encounter conversations about academic integrity in the classroom: “throughout my time at AUC almost every professor has emphasized the importance of academic integrity.6% 35. .5% 22.9% 112 112 114 17. I think AUC students cheat more than students in universities in North America.0% 100 6.0% 5.1% 44.1% 42. I would I would report a classmate to the professor for cheating.2% 24. I would report a classmate to the Academic Integrity Committee for plagiarizing.0% 45.4% 30.8% 3.3% 1.8% 1. I think that AUC students in general are ethical students. I believe that my professors encourage ethical behavior. I am satisfied with the atmosphere of academic integrity on the AUC campus.” and “since I took the FYE ‘First Year Experience’ and we’ve been told a LOT about academic integrity. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right”  DE GRUYTER  115 Table 3: Responses to statements about academic integrity Sub-Question I understand the concept of academic integrity.5%) believe that they cheat often.0% 29.8% 18.2% 1. These same students state that they never or rarely (once or twice a year) engage in cheating behaviors. During my time at AUC. Most of the photovoice participants acknowledged that they learned about academic integrity in class.7% 44.5% 103 101 110 112 that “…if I ever copy and pasted or anything they would be so disappointed in me.” Half the students note that they were not really familiar with the concept of academic integrity until they started at AUC.0% 98 22. He took a photograph of his mother’s hand to illustrate his point (Figure 3). the information literacy course taught by library faculty (9 times).” The most common themes can be found in Table 4. I would I would report a classmate to the professor for plagiarizing. Half of the eight photovoice participants indicated that their classmates engaged in academically dishonest behavior often.6% 5.8% 37.8% 24.6% made this claim – while only 54. I think AUC students cheat more than students in other universities in Egypt. Female respondents were adamant that they do not cheat – 80.1% 11.0% 1. including Rhetoric and Composition (11 times) and LALT 101. A freshman noted that she had witnessed cheating two or three times in her first semester.4% and many also mentioned the Freshman Year Experience (FYE) orientation program. Both males and females believe that their peers are cheating quite often.1% 14.0% 97 18. it seems that this is rarely or only briefly discussed in high schools in Egypt.4% 33. I have been taught about academic integrity. noting specific examples such as Rhetoric and Composition and LALT 101.7% 28. Frequency of and Reasons for Academic Misconduct When asked how often their AUC classmates cheat. Survey results are summarized in Table 5.6% 5.4% 5. Table 4: How students learn about academic integrity (N = 95) Theme Professors Freshman Year Experience (FYE) Specific Classes High School Family Frequency Percentage of Total Responses 56 38 28 9 8 58.

I think AUC students cheat.2% 110 78. Table 5: Frequency of academically dishonest behavior (N=109.6% 14. and that this is “the Egyptian way of dealing with things.5%) 1 (2.1%) 58 (80.0%) Ninety-seven students responded when asked why their classmates cheat or plagiarize.” One student. while the literature on cultural aspects of academic integrity often relates academic misconduct – plagiarism in particular – to a lack of English-language proficiency (Hayes and Introna 2005. N=110) Question Never Once a year Once a semester 2-3 times per semester Weekly Daily Total Responses I think AUC students plagiarize. a senior communication and media arts major.0% 0.4%) 17 (23.8% 4.7% 43.6%) 72 (100.” Female..8% 5.0%) I cheat… Often Rarely Never Totals Male 5 (13. I plagiarize. a lack of interest in learning. and the most common answer to the question was that students just want to “take the easy way out.5%) 12 (32. DE GRUYTER Figure 3: “How I learned about academic integrity.9%) 7 (18.” Two students used this exact phrase in the photovoice interviews to explain why classmates cheat and plagiarize.0%) 50 (69.3%) 25 (22. this concept did not come up in either the survey or photovoice findings. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right” Figure 2: “How I learned about academic integrity.5% 0.4%) 13 (18.” Interestingly.5% 35.0% 0. I cheat..0% 0.1%) 37 (100. N=110) AUC students cheat… Male Female Totals Often Rarely Never Totals 30 (78.. political science.5%) 78 (71. Click. believes that AUC students do not take their coursework seriously.6% 10.4%) 20 (54.9%) 72 (99.3%) 6 (5. 7. Heitman and Litewka 2011).0% 71.2%) 109 (100.0%) Female 1 (1. junior..0% 109 109 Table 6: Frequency of cheating by gender (N=109.3%) 24 (22.3% 14. unfortunately. sophomore.8% 11.7% 12. Pressure to keep grades high.7% 27.8% 109 5.116   Amanda B. .1% 12..” Male. and laziness were also common themes.6% 20.9%) 80 (72.5% 9.9% 8.4%) 110 (100.1%) Totals 6 (6.6%) 5 (6.9% 2...1% 2..6%) 38 (100. undeclared. Some respondents see this sort of behavior as culturally accepted – it is “unfortunately a part of the Egyptian cul- ture.

” Interviewees explained that phones are used to access reading notes and lecture slides during tests. students were more than willing to discuss specific behaviors.” and two believe that when it comes to cheating. In the photovoice interviews.” “I don’t but when I do it’s only because I don’t have much time. Students also often qualified these statements: “I don’t cheat but if I do it will be for a very serious reason. three students mentioned that poor time management is a problem.” In the photovoice study. Figure 5 shows a photograph that illustrates a friend asking for help with an assignment. classmates and professors. Below are photographs that represent specific behaviors: using a smartphone and sneaking notes into an exam (Figures 6 and 7). freshman.” Female. and students borrow a second phone from a friend or relative in cases where professors collect phones before an exam. “…if you want to cheat then you know it’s wrong. and several took photographs of these messages (Figure 4). They spoke of buying papers written by instructors at other universities. telling anecdotes about themselves. but doubted the effectiveness of the campaign. . art. but many were so vague as to be unclassifiable. “Why do you cheat or plagiarize?” Students were asked this question unless they stated that they never cheat or plagiarize when responding to a previous question. Two of the participants emphasized that some of these actions are just “doing favors for friends. Photovoice participants also noted that there was signage all over campus encouraging academically ethical behavior. and that this issue causes students to engage in dishonest behavior. a junior majoring in communication and media arts responded.” “I never do plagiarize. When asked about the signage. but they would not have even been asked this question if they had chosen “never” when asked how often they cheat or plagiarize. undeclared. Click. and you don’t need someone to remind you it’s wrong. their friends. Figure 4: “How I learned about academic integrity. photographing the pages of an exam for a friend. nor cheat…but I do help others sometimes in tests.DE GRUYTER Amanda B.” Female. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right”   117 Figure 5: “How I feel about plagiarism. It is interesting to note that 25% of the respondents claimed that they do not cheat. a senior journalism major called them “the gateway for cheating. There were 40 responses to this question total. particularly for cheating in class. and students blatantly copying answers from the classmate next to them. senior. Smartphones are considered crucial. the giver of information is innocent of wrongdoing while the taker is guilty.” The final survey question asked.

Egypt is considered a collectivist culture in which all members of an in-group feel responsible for one another (The Hofstede Centre 2013). the numbers clearly indicate that academic dishonesty is prevalent to an alarming degree in Western cultures as well. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right” DE GRUYTER Figure 7: “How I feel about cheating. Perhaps. In similar studies conducted by McCabe. In addition. While self-reported data on cheating behaviors should be approached with caution. everyone respects” while “Egyptians sit and talk. Butterfield and Treviño (2012. blaming dishonest behavior on Egyptian culture would be unfair and inaccurate. In this case. In describing classroom behavior. however. .000 college and university students. Butterfield. during interviews. and Treviño 2012. and found that 83% of them self-reported engaging in one or more of the academically dishonest behaviors included in the study. you will lie in something bigger. several students framed cheating in terms of helping friends. 70). but may help explain why student choose dishonest behavior when they do so. the survey data presented here and in Cheating in College shows that Egyptian and American students cheat for similar reasons. the number increased to 87% in 1994. The question of why Egyptian students choose to engage in academic misconduct. as social learning theory would suggest. Within Hofstede’s cultural dimension theory. cigarette break.” Female.118   Amanda B. and then declined to 65% in data collected between 2002 and 2010. but to discover whether a particular group of students are meeting expectations within their scholarly environment. In what is considered to be the first major study on cheating behaviors in the United States. as studies have found high levels of cheating elsewhere in the world as well. For example. “If you lie in something small. This aspect of Egyptian culture does not predict a higher or lower presence of academic misconduct. Bowers (1964) surveyed over 5. However. As one of the photovoice participants observed. for example.” The goal of this study is not to identify the Western academic integrity standards as the best or only system. the pressure to maintain high grades (McCabe.” Male. communication and media arts Discussion This research is important because academic integrity in undergraduate work is important. senior. Egyptian students make these choices simply because they observe their peers making similar choices. journalism Figure 6: “How I feel about cheating. because they are earning an American university degree. Cultural Issues Some survey respondents and photovoice participants described academic dishonesty as a cultural problem. senior. The survey and photovoice results described here in no way prove that Egyptian culture is more or less ethical than other cultures. Click. go talk on phones. a senior explained that “people somewhere like the States or England…everyone obeys. 20). may provide cultural insight.” Respondents refer a lack of interest in academics and casual attitudes towards academic integrity. Egyptian students are expected to adhere to American standards.

and as teachers of using the Internet effectively. students may struggle to give appropriate credit when citation guides do not include e-books or blog posts (Gray et al. Libraries can host workshops for each stakeholder group on campus. Students are clearly focused on the plagiarism percentage that the software provides. Becoming an academic integrity proponent also provides opportunity for collaboration with faculty. and should. 12) calls the definition of this concept “murky” and differentiates between intentional and inadvertent plagiarism. The transition from secondary to tertiary education is made more complicated by the varying experiences of AUC students with issues of academic misconduct prior to entering university. an online plagiarism detector. In My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture. It is also essential that students learn why we cite. Wood (2004. In addition. A senior art major who participated in the photovoice study described a transition during her time at AUC. as facilitators of information. The data indicates that Egyptian students tend to arrive at university having been taught little or nothing about academic integrity during secondary education. Gibson and Chester-Fangman 2011).” Five of the photovoice participants discussed at length the use of Turnitin. and not just how. Once she realized that she had the ability . staff and administrators. 239) argues that librarians should fill this particular role because they have “multiple roles as defenders of intellectual and academic freedom. just understanding exactly what plagiarism means can be difficult. Students describe some professors that explain plagiarism and teach skills like citation and paraphrasing. and one expressed frustration that she had found herself before the Academic Integrity Committee for a score of 5% when others in the class had received scores in the twenties. students are unsure what exactly is expected of them regarding academic integrity. Click. Wood 2004. and learn how to integrate research into academic writing (Wrenn and Kohl 2012). different fields may view the ethical use of information in different ways. that give failing grades for papers. and receive a score that shows the percentage of sentences and phrases that appear elsewhere in print – including published documents such as journal articles and the database of uploaded papers compiled by Turnitin itself. will be useful for all students. Gibson and Chester-Fangman 2011). as she recognized that she benefited from researching and writing papers. Madray 2008. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right”   119 Unclear Expectations What Can Librarians Do? In many ways. Expanding advocacy efforts off-campus via outreach to local high schools may also be a viable – and valuable – option. In addition. Butterfield and Treviño found that cheating is prevalent among American high school students. promoting a unified perspective on appropriate scholarly behavior (Bombaro 2007. Professors also utilize Turnitin in different ways. McCabe. While some skills. Academic librarians are in a unique position to become promoters of academic integrity. such as paraphrasing. librarians can work with faculty to design assignments that help students learn about the ethical use of information (Embleton and Helfer 2007. understand plagiarism. or at least confusing. Students spoke of professors that ignore plagiarism. The student respondents also receive conflicting. library instruction sessions should be designed to approach some aspects of academic integrity as discipline-specific (Lampert 2004). noting that “cheating habits develop long before college” (McCabe. Madray 2008). and Treviño 2012. Because librarians assist students with conducting academic research and finding appropriate sources. it makes sense that librarians should also teach students to use information properly. and others that include a brief integrity statement on the syllabus and leave it at that. Journalism students may need to function within a set of requirements different from those expected of biology majors. It seems unreasonable to expect students to have a clear understanding of academic integrity under these inconsistent circumstances. help students negotiate new information beyond simply pointing them to the appropriate database. and that report students to the Academic Integrity Committee for infractions.DE GRUYTER Amanda B. Librarians at Centenary College in Louisiana worked with local college-bound high school students to help them develop information literacy skills. Blum (2009. 33). Germek 2009. both in the classroom and at the reference desk (Lampert 2004. Librarians can. Sometimes students have only one opportunity to upload the final version of a paper. and two of them included photographs of the website in response to the “How I feel about plagiarism” prompt. information from their professors. sometimes they can upload multiple versions as they make adjustments to decrease the “plagiarism percentage. Turnitin allows students to upload their papers to the system. Indeed. 2008). Librarians need to consider the old rules and new kinds of information.” The literature supports integrating academic integrity issues into information literacy instruction. Butterfield. that encourage plagiarizing students to drop the course. Less than 10% of the Egyptian survey responses mentioned learning about academic integrity during high school. through advocacy and cross-campus collaboration.

Fact Book 2012–2013. 2007. S. and J. 1964. Inc. Clerehan. CA: Sage Publications. F.” Ethics and Behavior 15 (3): 213–231. and Fairness: When Plagiarism Gets in the Way of Learning.” Accessed April 5. Kidwell. 3rd ed. J. Survey Research Methods. “The Librarian’s Role in Combating Plagiarism. C. Sheard. Hutton. D.pdf. “Student Reports and Faculty Perceptions on Academic Dishonesty. R. 2002. 2000. Plagiarism. Click. P. 2001. http://geert-hofstede. and C. 2014. and provide some insight as to why they are making these choices. 2007.. K. 2008. S. 2013. and D.0 Authorship: Issues of Referencing and Citation for Academic Integrity. W. Medical Education 37 (7): 589–596. Galal. “Framing the Social World with PhotoElicitation Interviews. G. Bowers.html. Jawahar. T. 2008. “Academic Integrity: The Relationship between Individual and Situational . G. CA: Sage Publications. A. 2013. Thousand Oaks. 1986. Jackson..” Accessed April 29.P. 2008. it is clear that student are cheating and plagiarizing at alarmingly high rates all over the world. Bombaro.edu/research/IR/Research/Documents/FACT_ book_%202012-2013.org/acrl/ standards/informationliteracycompetency.” College and Research Libraries 67 (5): 418–428.aucegypt. broader conclusions could be made about the way that Arab culture affects perceptions of academic integrity. References The American University in Cairo.” The Internet and Higher Education 11 (2): 112–118. Supporting this type of student growth should be a priority for librarians. 2013. 2007. 2006. 2nd ed. Hofstede. Heitman. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right” to write a great paper. S. Bandura. “Web 2.. N. Institutions.. 2008. Hendershott. Hamilton. Blum. and the Case for a Librarian Role. Cross. Wozniak.. While this research might be used to inform changes in the academic integrity policy at AUC. librarians are well-situated to lead the campaign. E. NY: McGraw-Hill. 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Hogan Personality Inventory Manual. The Road Not Traveled: Education Reform in the Middle East and North Africa. Litewka. and J. Solutions. “Predicting the Underlying Factors of Academic Dishonesty among Undergraduates in Public Universities: A Path Analysis Approach. 3rd ed. N. Gibson.. C.ala. Introna. Office of Institutional Research. A. they want to help out their friends. Students feel pressured to achieve impeccable grades. and they manage their time poorly.” Journal of Academic Ethics 11 (2): 103–120. Gray. “Using Audience Response Technology to Teach Academic Integrity: “The Seven Deadly Sins of Plagiarism” at Dickinson College.com/ egypt. “The Literature on Academic Integrity and Graduate Students: Issues. 2011. M. http:// www. Hayes. they may not truly understand what the concept of academic integrity really entails or how to adhere to these scholarly standards. and L. With this type of dataset. Elzubeir. and M. Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Hogan. 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I think AUC students cheat… c. b. Mathematics ac. Integrated Marketing Communication z. Philosophy ai. Construction Engineering t. Biology n. Theater an. f. j. What year are you? Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Graduate 4. Actuarial Science i. Chemistry p. I think AUC students cheat more than students in other universities in Egypt. During my time at AUC. Other. Please respond by completing the following statements. e. Anthropology j. Journalism aa. Architectural Engineering l. Art m. I would report a classmate to the Academic Integrity Committee for plagiarizing. Undeclared g. if you are a double major. 5. Electronics Engineering w. Computer Science s. f. Business Administration o. k. What is your major? You can select more than one. a. I am satisfied with the atmosphere of academic integrity on the AUC campus. I would report a classmate to the Academic Integrity Committee for cheating. Middle East Studies ae. Please rate the following statements according to whether you agree or disagree. Political Science ak. Computer Engineering r. please specify. Mechanical Engineering ad. (never – once a year – once a semester – 2–3 times per semester – weekly – daily) a. d. I cheat… . Arabic Studies k. a. g. History y. Music Technology af. d. How old are you? 17 or under 18 19 20 21 22 or older 2. Male b. i. English and Comparative Literature x. Click. Musical Arts ag. b. 7. d. 6. e. How have you learned about academic integrity? Who has talked to you about these issues? 8. I think AUC students plagiarize… b. h. Egyptology v. I would I would report a classmate to the professor for cheating. I would I would report a classmate to the professor for plagiarizing. Petroleum Engineering ah. f. c. I have been taught about academic integrity. Female 3.122   Amanda B. Economics u. I think AUC students cheat more than students in universities in North America. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right” DE GRUYTER Appendix A: Survey Instrument 1. I think that AUC students in general are ethical students. Communication and Media Arts q. Psychology al. Accounting h. What is your gender? a. Physics aj. c. e. I understand the concept of academic integrity. Sociology am. (strongly disagree – disagree – neutral – agree – strongly agree) a. b. Management of Information and Communication Technology ab. Please briefly describe academic integrity in your own words. I plagiarize… d. c. I believe that my professors encourage ethical behavior.

Bring the photos back at the scheduled time for your interview. By agreeing to participate in this study. Then. Would you report a classmate? 4. Thank you for your time and participation. Is an academically ethical culture is important to you? –– Why? Why not? 5. If you took the academic integrity survey. without penalty. we will interpret the data to draw conclusions about how students conduct their academic work and how they view the environment of academic integrity at The American University in Cairo. I appreciate your contribution to my research. please be aware that neither the photographs or interview responses will be correlated with survey responses. Mark the order of the photo in the space provided.unc. __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __  123 The computer you use most often Your favorite place to study The tools you use for writing assignments The place where you work on a paper The place where you keep your books A place in the library where you feel confused A place in the library where you feel comfortable Something that shows how you feel about plagiarism Something that shows how you feel about cheating Something that shows how you learned about academic integrity Once you have taken these photos. I will use the information you provide and combine it with similar information from other student participants. Who has talked to you about this before? Did you take anything away from it? Did it change your behavior? . You are asked to take a series of 10 photographs. as current technology makes it very easy to disseminate images in ways that go against the confidential nature of this research project. Why do you cheat or plagiarize? Appendix B: Photovoice Information Sheet You are being asked to take part in a research study. Instructions: Take the following photographs. Click. I ask that you exercise caution in carrying out this task. “Taking Something That Is Not Your Right”  9. To join the study is voluntary. Do you have friends that cheat? –– How do they do it? Who cheats? –– What about you? 6. We ask that you: –– Bring the photographs to your scheduled meeting within 7 days of completing the project. for any reason. Is this a problem at AUC? –– Why? Why not? –– Do you think this is representative of the larger culture in Egypt? 3.DE GRUYTER Amanda B. you will meet with principal investigator Amanda Click (aclick@live. Appendix C: Interview Prompts 1. Do you think your professors care if you cheat? 7. What is academic integrity? –– What is cheating? Plagiarism? 2. edu) to discuss them. You may refuse to join. Why do you think AUC students cheat or plagiarize? 10. or you may withdraw your consent to be in the study. Thank you for agreeing to take photographs and participate in an interview for this study. you are agreeing to both take a series of photographs and discuss these photographs in a follow up interview. –– Do NOT take photographs of people’s faces.

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