Review: An increasing role for theory in academic integrity research and practice: Some Psychology studies, statistics and stories – CRADLE Seminar Series #6: Review by Associate Professor Nick Milne

Deakin University’s Associate Professor Nick Milne examines theory driven questions in academic integrity in this review on our latest seminar by Dr Guy Curtis. Nick is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering.

Contract cheating and academic integrity has been sitting very much at the forefront of academic’s minds as a result of the pandemic. With Deakin University looking at an academic integrity framework it was very timely that Dr Guy Curtis (Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychological Science at The University of Western Australia) talked about academic integrity in CRADLE Seminar Series #6. Guy highlighted and unpacked intriguing and contentious questions surrounding the roles of observation and theory in academic integrity research.

Dr Guy Curtis profile pictureGuy’s focus on applied psychology means his research is theory informed rather than descriptive. It is certainly more robust and allows for a more probing examination of behaviours. The focus of his seminar was towards the application and expansion of the theory of planned behaviour in describing drivers towards cheating. In this respect, he described the ways in which perception of control, negative emotions and injunctive norms, this is what a person thinks others think is the right thing to do, influenced both the intent and the behaviour of students towards cheating. These findings give us some scope to find meaningful intervention for students. An interesting extension of this work then was to look at the dark and light triads of personality and how they may influence behaviours.

While the investigation into the light triad is ongoing, it was interesting to note from the dark triad that the impact of student expectations, particularly concerning who had responsibility for their learning, was a significant factor.

The discussion after the seminar was also quite interesting and lively as it jumped through an array of topics. What jumped out at me though was despair (as a result of academic failure, for example) being a failure of perspective and how we may be able to re-train student thinking in regards to this.

Of course, I can’t begin to do justice to the extent of the seminar and discussion. If you want to delve into these topics in more detail, jump straight into the recording of seminar and make sure to check out Guy’s publications.

Don’t forget, CRADLE Seminar Series #7: ‘Programmatic assessment, hype or necessary development?’ with Professor Lambert Schuwirth of Flinders University will be held on Tuesday 9 August 2022 at 2pm (AEST). Be part of the event by registering here!

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