The influence of social media and contract cheating website use on the perception of academic integrity standards
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This work sought to address gaps in the literature regarding perceived student acceptance of certain types of cheating in higher education and the potential relationships to social media use and the digital academic services, called contract cheating websites (Rowland et al., 2018) or study helper websites (Harrison et al., 2021). In detail, the core of the study was the analysis of social media and contract cheating website use and how it related to judgments of cheating strategies by current and past postsecondary students. Through an online survey, participants (n = 47) were asked to indicate demographic features; report the time spent on specific social media sites and contract cheating websites (Chegg, Course Hero, and Quizlet); and indicate their judgments of seven academic dilemma scenarios depicting cheating. Spearman correlations revealed a moderate relationship between the time spent on social media and contract cheating websites (rs = .438, p = .003). Although no links emerged between dilemma judgments and social media in the overall sample, when separated into groups, contract cheating website users (n = 17) indicated greater time spent on social media than non-users, t(42) = 2.847, p = .003, along with correlations to certain cheating scenario and strategy judgments. These findings highlight the need to investigate the underlying connections students may have to social media, contract cheating services, and their perceptions of academic integrity to inform remedial strategies for cheating in higher education.