Chapter 8: Why students choose not to cheat
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Students buying custom-written assignments and submitting these as their own – or contract cheating – is a particularly serious form of academic misconduct. However, compared with other forms of plagiarism and cheating, comparatively few students engage in contract cheating. This chapter discusses two main perspectives that may explain why students do not engage in contract cheating: criminological theories, and the role of psychological individual differences. The authors present a modified routine activity theory of crime, which suggests that barriers to contract cheating will make it a low-frequency event to begin with, and that strengthening those barriers may reduce its incidence further. In addition, the rational choice theory of crime proposes that people’s reasons for engaging in crime-like behaviours are important. The authors outline the findings of their research on the reasons why students do not engage in contract cheating, including how individual differences in students’ psychological profiles are related to their reasons for not cheating. Compared with research that seeks to explain why students cheat, research examining why students do not cheat is scant. Thus, this chapter concludes by pointing to some of the many possible directions for future research on this topic.

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