Undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacy students' perceptions of plagiarism and academic honesty

Am J Pharm Educ. 2009 Oct 1;73(6):105. doi: 10.5688/aj7306105.


Objectives: To assess undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacy students' perceptions of plagiarism and academic honesty.

Methods: A questionnaire was administered to undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacy students to determine their levels of awareness of university policy concerning academic honesty; attitudes to plagiarism by rating the acceptability of a range of plagiarizing and cheating practices; and choice of appropriate penalties for a first and second occurrence. The choice of behaviors in response to a scenario about the preparation of a reading-based written assignment and the strategies that students would be prepared to use in order to submit the assignment on time were also assessed.

Results: Findings indicated widespread deficiencies in student knowledge of, and attitudes towards, plagiarism. Students did not perceive plagiarism as a serious issue and the use of inappropriate strategies for sourcing and acknowledging material was common.

Conclusions: The study highlights the importance of achieving a balance among the 3 dimensions of plagiarism management: prevention, detection and penalty.

Keywords: Australia; academic honesty; cheating; plagiarism.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Awareness
  • Codes of Ethics
  • Deception
  • Education, Pharmacy, Graduate*
  • Ethics, Pharmacy*
  • Fraud
  • Humans
  • Morals
  • Perception*
  • Plagiarism*
  • Professional Misconduct / ethics*
  • Students, Pharmacy / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires