Measuring students' perceptions of plagiarism

modification and Rasch validation of a plagiarism attitude scale

Steven J. Howard*, John F. Ehrich, Russell Walton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Plagiarism is a significant area of concern in higher education, given university students' high self-reported rates of plagiarism. However, research remains inconsistent in prevalence estimates and suggested precursors of plagiarism. This may be a function of the unclear psychometric properties of the measurement tools adopted. To investigate this, we modified an existing plagiarism scale (to broaden its scope), established its psychometric properties using traditional (EFA, Cronbach's alpha) and modern (Rasch analysis) survey evaluation approaches, and examined results of well-functioning items. Results indicated that traditional and modern psychometric approaches differed in their recommendations. Further, responses indicated that although most respondents acknowledged the seriousness of plagiarism, these attitudes were neither unanimous nor consistent across the range of issues assessed. This study thus provides rigorous psychometric testing of a plagiarism attitude scale and baseline data from which to begin a discussion of contextual, personal, and external factors that influence students' plagiarism attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-393
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of applied measurement
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • modification
  • rasch
  • validation
  • plagiarism
  • attitude
  • perceptions
  • scale
  • students
  • measuring

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