|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 32-37
Factor analysis for academic dishonesty tendency scale: Validation for Indian context
Emily Susila Immnauel1, Angelin Esther1, Sheeba Rani1, Mythily Vandana Charles2, Selva Titus Chacko1, Grace Rebekah3
1 Professor, College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Junior Lecturer, College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Biostatistics, CMC, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||11-Jan-2019|
|Date of Decision||22-Mar-2019|
|Date of Acceptance||23-Mar-2019|
|Date of Web Publication||14-Sep-2020|
Prof. Emily Susila Immnauel
College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Honesty and integrity are highly valued qualities in a nurse. However, academic dishonesty has been a concern in nursing education consistently. A nursing student who exhibits dishonest behavior in classroom has a tendency to be also dishonest in clinical practice which can lead to adverse patient outcomes. There is paucity in studies on academic dishonesty among nursing students in India. There is also very limited evidence on which scale is valid or suitable to explore academic dishonest behaviours in an Indian setting specifically among nursing students. This paper addresses this gap by validating the suitability of the 'Academic Dishonesty Tendency Scale developed by Eminoglu and Nartgun to determine the tendencies of University students towards academically dishonest behaviors ' for a population of nursing students in India. 249 students enrolled in III and IV year BSc Nursing and I and II year MSc Nursing programmes in a private college participated in the study and filled the Academic Dishonesty Tendency Scale. The responses of the participants were subjected to factor analysis with Principal Components Analysis (PCA) with Varimax rotation and Kaiser normalization. Exploratory factor analysis was done to assess the applicability of the scale in the Indian setup. The three factors identified- Tendency towards Cheating, Tendency towards Carelessness and Tendency towards Plagiarism were found to be important aspects of academic dishonesty and are very relevant to nursing students. The findings confirm that the Academic Dishonesty Tendency Scale is a useful tool to identify tendencies towards academic dishonesty among nursing students in Indian settings.
Keywords: Academic dishonesty tendency scale, academic dishonesty, factor analysis, nursing students
|How to cite this article:|
Immnauel ES, Esther A, Rani S, Charles MV, Chacko ST, Rebekah G. Factor analysis for academic dishonesty tendency scale: Validation for Indian context. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn 2020;21:32-7
|How to cite this URL:|
Immnauel ES, Esther A, Rani S, Charles MV, Chacko ST, Rebekah G. Factor analysis for academic dishonesty tendency scale: Validation for Indian context. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 18];21:32-7. Available from: https://www.ijcne.org/text.asp?2020/21/1/32/295041
| Introduction|| |
Honesty is a highly honored quality. Honesty is described by Merriam Webster as the quality of being truthful and fair. Honesty is not just speaking the truth but is evidenced in action as well. It is a value that is emphasised from childhood, especially in educational institutions. With advancement in human lifestyle and so-called development, the human race is racing for time, fame and money. An individual's achievement is not just about reaching a target but is also measured by how fast and easily it is achieved. Prudence and diligence are misunderstood as time consuming and importance are laid on working easily yet achieving more without striving hard. There is also a sense of unhealthy competition and irrational fear of being left behind, while others fare better. These factors have subjected youngsters to a lot of pressure, forcing them to choose dishonest methods for reaching success and for career development within a particular time frame. This mindset has impacted all fields of education and professions.
Background of the study
Academic dishonesty is defined as 'an intentional participation in deceptive practices in one's academic work or in the works of others'. Examples of academic dishonesty include cheating, fraud, plagiarism and falsification of research results. A measure taken by students intentionally to abuse data information, records or official documents is called academic dishonesty. Lambert et al. have defined academic dishonesty as 'any fraudulent actions or attempts by a student to use unauthorised or unacceptable means in any academic work'. Academic dishonesty, which can have extremely negative consequences, is widely prevalent in various fields despite active measures to address and curb it.
Fontana  has aptly stated that nursing is a reputed profession that requires honest, trustworthy and highly ethical professionals. Nursing has always been and is ranked high in terms of honesty and integrity. Honesty is an essential character and a quality that cannot be compromised in a noble profession such as nursing. Nurturing students in an environment of integrity and commitment has been the culture in nursing education since ages past. It is a profession that requires high standards of truth and integrity as nurses engage with lives. Nursing students are required to grow up with the values of honesty and integrity to become ethically sound nurses. Although it is difficult to accept, it is found that academic dishonesty is on the rise among nursing students. A research conducted in 2010 at a nursing education institution in Western Cape Town, South Africa, sought to explore academic integrity among 550 nursing students. The study findings showed that majority (88%) of the respondents admitted to have committed at least one form of academic dishonesty.
Although most nursing students are academically honest, academically dishonest nursing students are more likely to commit dishonest acts in clinical practice which may lead to harmful patient outcomes. In an academic survey in the US, 336 students were included in a study to assess the prevalence of academic dishonest behaviour that they engaged in or witnessed, their attitude toward academic dishonesty and the sociodemographic and situational conditions that influenced the behaviour. The findings revealed that 64.7% and 54% had engaged in some form of dishonesty in classroom or clinical settings, respectively. A significant positive relationship was found between the participation in academic dishonesty in the classroom setting and the participation in academic dishonesty in the clinical setting. Lack of integrity in the classroom can have serious effects on patients because nursing students engaged in such activities are also likely to have limited knowledge and skills to practise. More importantly, nurses will not be able to make appropriate ethical and moral decisions in a complex healthcare setting if they do not practise moral reasoning and value honesty as nursing students. To ensure ethical practices in the clinical setting, honesty, a basic ethical value, should form the essence of any nursing education environment.
As much emphasis is given on truth and integrity in nursing education, nursing students are generally hoped to perform more positively in terms of academic integrity. Literature however supports the fact that dishonest behaviours in relation to academics are common among some nursing students, mostly when they are required to complete individual assignments and research projects. Colnerud and Rosander  have cited in their study that according to the data from the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education, the number of disciplinary cases increased 62.0% from 2003 to 2004 and further 13.0% from 2004 to 2005. A closer look at the findings shows that plagiarism and fabrication are the main causes of this remarkable increase. When the students' inclinations towards academic dishonesty were examined based on years of study, it was found that third-year students showed a greater tendency to academic dishonesty in the process of performing research and reporting, while there was a greater tendency among first-year students towards academic dishonesty in citing references. A medium-level tendency of academic dishonesty (P < 0.05) was identified among these students.
Although the problem of academic dishonesty is real and at large among students and professionals in many fields, there is a paucity of literature on academic dishonesty among nursing students in the Indian scenario. Moreover, the authors were not able to identify any published Indian studies in which the Academic Dishonesty Tendency Scale (ADTS) developed by Eminoǧlu and Nartgün  has been validated for this population. Therefore, it is hoped that the findings of this study can contribute to the gap in the existing literature.
Purpose of the study
There are several scales to measure academic dishonesty among college students. The ADTS developed by Eminoǧlu and Nartgün  to determine the tendencies of university students towards academically dishonest behaviours was selected for the study. The ADTS, a self-administered questionnaire, comprised 22 items from which they identified four factors: 'tendency towards cheating', 'tendency towards dishonesty in assignments, and studies such as projects-general', 'tendency towards dishonesty in the process of research and report' and 'dishonesty tendency towards ascriptions'.
The authors of the current study aimed to validate the suitability of this scale to measure academic dishonesty tendency level in the Indian context, in a private nursing college of India. A factor analysis was done to decide the suitability of the scale and to derive the major themes in tendencies towards academic dishonesty.
| Methodology|| |
The study was conducted in a private nursing college of India. A cross-sectional descriptive design was used. Prior permission was obtained from the authors to use the ADTS for this study. The minimum sample size suggested is 5 for one variable. In addition, a minimum of 100 sample size is acceptable; however, a sample size of more than 200 is sufficient to fulfill the requirement for factor analysis. The sample size estimated was 200–250 students which was sufficient for factor analysis in this study. Data were collected from 249 students studying in III and IV year BSc Nursing from the undergraduate group and all Master's Nursing students from I and II years after obtaining their informed written consent.
Factor analysis is a process in which the values of observed data are expressed as functions of a number of possible causes to find which are the most important. In other words, factor analysis is a statistical method that is used to investigate whether there are underlying latent variables or factors that can explain the patterned correlations within a set of observed variables. The factor here refers to a set of observed variables that have similar response patterns. They are found to be associated with a hidden variable or confounding variable. The confounding variable cannot be directly measured. It is a technique that is used to reduce a large number of variables into fewer numbers of factors. In this technique, the maximum common variance from all the variables is extracted and a common score is assigned to those variances.
There are two types of factor analysis: confirmatory and exploratory. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) is a statistical technique used to prove the factor structure of a set of observed variables. CFA aids the researcher to test the hypothesis that there is a relationship between observed variables and their underlying latent constructs. Exploratory factor analysis is a statistical technique that is used to reduce data to a smaller set of summary variables and to explore the underlying theoretical structure of the phenomena. It is used to identify the structure of the relationship between the variable and the respondent.
The ADTS developed by Eminoǧlu and Nartgün  is a self-administered questionnaire that comprises 22 items on a 5-point Likert scale. The instrument identified four factors. The first factor (5 items) was named 'tendency towards cheating', the second factor (7 items) 'tendency towards dishonesty in assignments, and studies such as projects – general', the third (4 items) 'tendency towards dishonesty in the process of research and report' and the fourth factor (6 items) 'dishonesty tendency towards ascriptions'. The construct validity of ADTS was tested by CFA. Cronbach alpha reliability coefficients of 4-factor and whole scale were 0.71, 0.821, 0.785 and 0.776 and 0.90, respectively. Test–retest reliability coefficient was 0.88. The final form of ADTS was found to be adequate for measuring the academic dishonesty tendency levels of university students in this setting.
Permission was obtained from the head of the institution after obtaining clearance from the institutional review board. Written permission was obtained from the authors to use the instrument. Informed written consent was obtained from the participants and only those who consented were included in the study. Confidentiality was maintained as the participants were not required to reveal their personal identity. All the data were coded for the purpose of the analysis.
The responses of the participants were subjected to factor analysis with principal component analysis (PCA) with varimax rotation and Kaiser normalisation. Varimax rotation was selected, as the factors may not be correlated with each other. This rotation helps to maximise factor loadings of each item on one factor, thereby clarifying the relationship of each item to a particular factor. The internal consistency reliability of the instrument was assessed using Cronbach's alpha procedure. Construct validity was assessed by conducting a CFA with maximum likelihood estimation to determine if the data collected from this study sample were consistent with the theoretical basis of the instrument. CFA approaches examined whether the existing data are consistent with a highly constrained a priori structure that meets conditions of model identification.
| Results|| |
There were 249 participants in the study. Of this number, 99 (39.76%) were III year BSc, 94 (37.75%): IV year BSc, 27 (10.84%): I year MSc and 29 (11.65%): II year MSc Nursing students. The mean age of the students was 23.6 years with standard deviation 4.7. Based on the results, factor analysis with PCA was done. Rotation performed was Varimax with Kaiser Normalization [Table 1]. Rotation converged in six iterations. A further confirmatory analysis was done on the refined 3-factor scale. The analysis revealed root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA)= 0.0592, Bentler comparative fit index = 0.8567 and Bentler–Bonnett = 0.7387, which are acceptable [Figure 1].
To assess the applicability of ADTS in the Indian setup, exploratory factor analysis was done. The Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin measure of sampling adequacy was estimated to be 0.802 which shows that the data were well suited for factor analysis. Eigenvalues of 1.5 and above were considered. The total variance was 38.09%. Scree testing yielded three major factors such as Factor 1: tendency towards cheating (Cronbach's alpha = 0.808), Factor 2: tendency towards carelessness (Cronbach's alpha = 0.627) and Factor 3: tendency towards plagiarism (Cronbach's alpha = 0.917) and each of the three factors had 3 or more items from the questionnaire loading. Out of the 22 items in the questionnaire three items did not load on to any factor.
| Discussion|| |
Eminoǧlu and Nartgün  developed the ADTS for university students to determine the tendencies of university students towards academically dishonest behaviours. The ADTS scale used in the original study ultimately had 22 items with 4-factor loadings. Surveys were conducted and initially a scale with 40 statements, 20 of which represent high tendency (+oriented) and 20 of which represent low tendency (−oriented), covering all dimensions of the concept of academic dishonesty was formed. These statements were submitted to specialists to be examined in terms of context, clarity and similarity of statements, and the number of statements was reduced to 25 to represent 14 high tendencies (+oriented) and 11 low tendencies (−oriented). Exploratory factor analysis was done, and the items were reduced to 22. After analysis of the items in the contexts, the first factor (5 items) was named 'tendency towards cheating', the second factor (7 items) 'tendency towards dishonesty in assignments, and studies such as projects – general', the third (4 items) 'tendency towards dishonesty in the process of research and report' and the fourth factor (6 items) 'dishonesty tendency towards ascriptions'. The final form of ADTS was found to be adequate for measuring the academic dishonesty tendency levels of university students.
In the current study, the sample size required to assess the suitability of ADTS was at least 5–10 samples per parameter. A good sample size of 249, i.e., 11 samples per item, was obtained for the study. The results showed an RMSE of 0.06. Out of the 22 item scale, 19 items loaded on to three factors only. Factor 1 had an eigenvalue of 5.1 and accounted for 23% of the variance. Eleven items loaded on this factor labelled a tendency towards cheating. This factor reflects the students' nature of utilising opportunities such as lack of adequate supervision to gain better performance scores. Factor 2, with an eigenvalue of 1.75, accounted for 7.9% of the variance. Five items loaded on this factor named tendency towards carelessness. The items making up this factor focuses on students' conscientiousness towards academic activities. Factor 3 had an eigenvalue of 1.5, accounting for 6.9% of the variance. This factor, called tendency towards plagiarism, had a three-item loading. In these items, the focus was on students' opinion and justification in using others work and publications in their assignments.
Tendency towards cheating
Students are found to cheat mostly due to lack of time, laziness, peer pressure, fear of failure or lack of interest. Among these, lack of time and a difficult examination were given as the most common reasons for cheating by students in one study. The act of cheating is intended to give the cheater some advantages (profit); for example, the achievement of higher grades than what one is capable of. Thus, the student's academic performance may not represent their true level of knowledge. Cheating takes place only when there is an intention to commit this act. Therefore, it is a dishonest act with intention. Furthermore, cheating usually takes place during an examination or other assessment processes by providing or obtaining information from a unauthorised person.
An increasing number of incidents of cheating and plagiarism are being observed in the current educational milieu. A reason for plagiarism could be that electronic communication through compact devices such as mobile phones and palmtops and other such devices makes it easier for students to copy and transmit information both inside and outside the classroom. While doing such acts, students rarely think much about the legality of those actions. Scoring better grades and passing the course are their primary concern and the ultimate goal that they dream to achieve. Although getting better grades may seem the most compelling factor for students to cheat or plagiarise, other less obvious reasons could be: peer pressure, playing smart, making fun of the instructor or just because they can.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines deception as the act of hiding the truth, especially to get an advantage. It is a purposeful act to mislead or misguide someone. Honesty is one of the core values of the nursing profession. Carpenter et al., in their article about academic dishonesty in engineering students, say that students who cheat may develop attitudes and behaviours that can interfere with their learning. Acts of academic dishonesty impede the assessment of student learning and affect negatively the efforts of faculty to properly diagnose and address deficiencies in student learning. A study done among nursing students in Italy showed that dishonest cheating behaviors are internalised and students come to consider their behaviour as normal. This is alarming as there is a danger of loss of moral sensitiveness or obligation in students related to academic activity. Research also suggests that students who are dishonest in college have the tendency to indulge in shoplifting, cheating on income taxes, abuse of harmful substances, cheating in professional education and engage in unethical workplace behaviour. All of these correlations raise the possibility that interventions that increase a student's level of academic integrity could reduce the frequency of his or her decisions to engage in other unethical behaviour during college and beyond. The long-term consequences are cause for even greater concern. A student who has managed to cheat his way through college not only presents a false impression of himself to future employers but may also have such a poor sense of moral obligation and responsibility that he cannot be expected to act ethically as a professional.
Tendency towards carelessness
Nursing is always looked upon as 'care' rather than 'cure'. Nursing is never mentioned as treatment, but only as care in spite of the many advancements and independent nursing practice. Care refers to serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk. It is a quality that cannot be compromised in nursing education, which is the process of forming ordinary people into nurses. Unscrupulousness or carelessness refers to a lack of conscientiousness. Cambridge Dictionary refers to conscientiousness as the quality of working hard and being careful. Conscientiousness implies a desire to do a task well and to take obligations to others seriously. Conscientious people tend to be efficient and organised as opposed to easy-going and disorderly.
The broad domain trait of conscientiousness, in particular, emerged as a significant predictor of academic success, above and beyond intelligence. Individuals who score highly on scales of conscientiousness are hard-working, organised, efficient and self-disciplined. As might be expected, these individuals are more likely to succeed in the academic realm. Research studies report that conscientiousness accounts for 12.0%–25.0% of the variance in academic performance., One such a study done on 140 8th grade students revealed that composite measures of self-discipline were related to conscientiousness. It was also found to be two times a better than IQ in predicting academic performance. Conscientiousness is also the best single personality predictor of task performance in workplace.
Tendency towards plagiarism
The definition of academic dishonesty is broadened to include activities such as plagiarism, working in groups, doing class assignments at home, using textbook test banks and buying or copying and producing others research papers as their own.
Among the many behaviours accounting for academic dishonesty, plagiarism is the most common. Nursing is an outstanding profession mainly due to high educational standards and evidence-based research. With this background, nursing students are prepared to take up research and develop skills in article writing. As research and writing are impossible without broad knowledge, the nursing curriculum requires students to prepare and present individual assignments that are scored as part of their academic performance. Assignments require students to refer and take contents from journals and articles. At the same time, their ability to be creative also comes into play. Creativity is the ability to produce one's own ideas, usually in a novel manner. Students resort to plagiarism either to achieve their goal easily or are ignorant about their act. In one Indian study, 76% of undergraduate nursing students reported that they had witnessed colleagues citing references in assignments that they have not used and 50% stated that they have seen their peers copying other students' work and submitting as theirs. These act project an attitude of laziness and lack of motivation to be creative.
A research was done on a total of 280 (70.0%) medical students and 120 (30.0%) nursing students to study the prevalence of plagiarism. The findings showed that the prevalence of plagiarism was 54.3%. It was also observed that plagiarism was more common in medical students compared to nursing students [58.9% vs. 43.3%; (P = 0.004)]. It was shocking to note that 34.8% of the students did not know what plagiarism was. Only 28.0% knew about the legal consequences of plagiarism. The reasons given for plagiarising were laziness and the ease with which others' work could be plagiarised, confusion, cultural reasons and pressure to meet deadlines. There are several other elements or reasons such as the pressures of studying, diversity of source materials, past assumptions relating to good writing practice, ambiguous writing guidance on best practice and students' insecurity about their reasoning ability that lead to plagiarism.
| Conclusion|| |
The ADTS by Eminoǧlu and Nartgün is highly suitable to study the phenomenon in the Indian context. The three factors identified – tendency towards cheating, tendency towards carelessness and tendency towards plagiarism – are important aspects of academic dishonesty and are very relevant to nursing education. The findings confirm that the ADTS will be useful to identify tendencies towards academic dishonesty among nursing students in Indian settings.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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