Experimental design to examine the effectiveness of honor codes

Lucy Barnard-Brak, Valerie Osland Paton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Violations of academic integrity (e.g., cheating and other acts of academic dishonesty) are issues on every college campus (e.g., Turner & Beemsterboer, 2003; Arnold, Martin, Jinks, & Bigby, 2007). Many institutions have adopted honor codes as part of their unique culture in response to violations of academic integrity. While the number of honor codes at institutions has increased over the past few decades, research examining the effectiveness of honor codes has been limited by issues of research design. The case study presented here discusses honor codes, their presence on college campuses across the United States, and highlights one particular campus. In contrast to previous research, we suggest that future research should utilize experimental designs technique to determine the effectiveness of honor code reporting on reducing academic integrity violations. Thus, previous institutional research investigating violations of academic integrity has been retrospective and correlational in nature, which precludes an accurate examination of the effectiveness of honor code reporting as these research design characteristics do not permit the examination of cause-and-effect relationships. Only experimental designs permit the examination of causal or cause-and-effect relationships (Kirk, 1996). Thus, this case study describes the fundamental advantage of experimental design over previous research in its ability to conclude causal relationships between honor codes and violations of academic integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCases on Institutional Research Systems
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781609608576
StatePublished - 2011


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