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Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

W. Hal Knight

Committee Members

Nancy Dishner, Terrence A. Tollefson, William Douglas Burgess Jr.


The purpose of this study was to examine engagement in academic dishonesty in traditional and online college courses and the perceptions of online students toward academic dishonesty. Students enrolled in the Tennessee Regents Online Degree Program (RODP) who had taken both online and traditional courses were invited to participate in the study. The study included 635 valid surveys submitted electronically for a 15% response rate.

The electronic survey was designed based on previous research studies. The survey collected data concerning rates of student engagement for academic dishonesty behaviors in traditional courses and in online courses, student perceptions of deterrence of academic dishonesty, student perceptions of the seriousness of academic dishonesty, and demographic data.

Survey results were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical tests. Analysis of variance tests were conducted for the research questions that addressed differences in the rates of academic dishonesty in online courses and traditional courses based on the demographic factors of age, gender, academic standing (GPA), classification, and field of study. Chi-square procedures were conducted to determine differences in academic dishonesty in four types of cheating. Linear regression was conducted to determine relationships between demographic factors and rates of academic dishonesty.

Findings indicate that students reported significantly higher overall rates of academic dishonesty in traditional courses than in online courses. Significant differences were not found in the rates in traditional courses based on age, gender, academic classification, or intended field of study; however, rates were higher for respondents with lower grade point averages. Students reported more frequent engagement in cheating on tests than cheating on written assignments, cheating on out-of-class assignments, or using technology to cheat. Regression tests found a weak relationship between intended field of study and rates of academic dishonesty. A personal code of integrity was perceived to be the most effective deterrent, and cheating was considered only a moderate problem in higher education. Information from this study can benefit online students, instructors, and college administrators who deal with issues related to academic dishonesty and online learning. As online learning increases, further research on academic dishonesty is recommended.

Document Type

Dissertation - restricted


Copyright by the authors.