Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Higher Educational Leadership

Committee Chair/Advisor

Marion, Russell A

Committee Member

Satterfield , James W

Committee Member

Felder , Frankie

Committee Member

Hanson , Williams


The purpose of this mixed method study was to investigate how graduates originating from mainland China adapt to the U.S. academic integrity requirements. In the first, quantitative phase of the study, the research questions focused on understanding the state of academic integrity in China. This guiding question was divided into two sub-questions, academic misbehavior commonly practiced by students in China and factors leading to these types of misbehavior. The data were collected via a web-based survey (N=300) through convenience sampling. The results from the quantitative analysis displayed the commonly practiced academic misbehavior converge on four categories: a) cheating for benefits, b) plagiarism, c) exploiting academic resources, and d) falsifying one's work. Most factors appeared significant in leading to the misbehavior in the colleges in China. The quantitative analysis aimed to provide the contextual knowledge for the qualitative phase.
The second, qualitative portion used grounded theory to code the data. Three big themes emerged out of the data: a) the Chinese academic worldview, b) the Chinese academic context, and c) how Chinese graduate students learn U.S. academic ethics. In further analysis, sub-themes emerged out of every theme. The Chinese academic worldview was divided into: a) the lack of a contractual binding, b) ethical issues not part of value system, c) the lack of reporting culture. The Chinese academic context was divided into: a) not taught about scholar ethics, b) poor supervision, and c) lack of a sanctioning mechanism. The theme of learning academic ethics in the U.S. was divided into: a) requirements of academic integrity in U.S., b) motives of Chinese graduate students to adapt to U.S. academic ethics, and c) learning U.S. academic ethics. Two assumptions were then partly supported by the research findings that China differs from the U.S. in terms of academic ethics and institutions in China are homogeneous regarding academic integrity requirements. A model was formulated based on research findings in the qualitative phase through one acculturation theory.
Finally, the implications for future research and practice were discussed. Several suggestions were presented to help relevant U.S. institutions of higher learning enhance the effectiveness of current programs in fostering Chinese graduate students' awareness of academic integrity.



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