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The Importance of Academic Honesty and Essay Writing

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The importance of academic honesty and essay writing are determined.

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Honesty has often been viewed as the cornerstone of moral development upon which an individual's moral character can be judged. It is the beginning of the slippery slope because as we are often told, if you lie you cheat and if you cheat you steal. It is a no brainer that honesty is preferable to dishonesty, cheating and stealing, at least in the usual context that we consider them. The issue is that when we consider these concepts or precepts in relationship to academia we are inferring moral implications. The problem of honesty whether it is in academia or in general is that the phrase and concept is fraught with moral implications, interpretations and limitations. Morality is yes or no; black or white; right or wrong. This understanding rather takes away the contextual considerations that might be at play when we consider academic honesty. Maybe the terms of the conversation should be about integrity and authenticity in academia rather than honesty with its implications of moral affirmation and condemnation. Integrity and authenticity are terms that imply a dynamic concept that is able to engage and deal with the shades of grey inherent in a developmental concept.

Most educators would tend to view academic honesty/integrity as essential to the mission of education. Integrity allows educators to validly assess and vouch for student learning and academic progress. It is a way for academic institutions to protect its product both the intellectual property of others and the quality of education they offer which would benefit both the student and society. Speaking of education as a commodity may upset some academics who sometimes endow the process of education and its institutions with almost sacred attributes, hence the conversations and upset surrounding the topic of academic honesty and integrity. The challenge is to discover ways to protect institutional identity. This leads us to view this topic as white and black - good vs. evil - honesty vs. dishonesty.

In the midst of the discussion of academic honesty, one has to admit that social mores change. That attitudes and cognitions concerned with moral issues do not remain the same from year to year or generation to generation is not a startling reality. Times change and our attitudes about what constitutes a moral life also changes much to the chagrin of those responsible for keeping the lines drawn in the sand clear. Though it is hard to argue from a moral perspective, let alone from a psychosocial one, that honesty, integrity and authenticity are not good inter and intra personally and socially it is also hard to argue that societies perspective and understanding of these issues are not continually changing. Both external and internal forces are shaping our understanding of honesty and what is required to be an honest person in life and in academia. In other words, we can question the effectiveness of questioning the place of honesty and integrity in academia as if the issue is divorced from the need for honesty and integrity in our private, social and civic lives.

We could also question whether to some degree colleges and in fact, all academia has to adapt their honor codes to fit present realities and have a responsibility to not only educate students along those lines but to aid their formation as responsible citizen (Iyer, Eastman, 2008). It may not be enough to have codes of conduct ...

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