The role of librarians in promoting academic integrity among students in India

Objectives

The main objective was to examine the role of Librarians in developing a culture of academic honesty and integrity on campuses in India. The second objective was to determine the level of collaboration among librarians, academia, and administration team to persuade the student scholars in having academic Integrity in their scholarly publication. The third objective was to examine how the librarian can redefine the process of academic and administrative mechanisms to maintain academic honesty to the best possible extent in their academic and research pursuits.

Methods

Qualitative Research was used to explore the post-intervention changes in the attitudes of students towards academic integrity and academic honesty.

Results

This research study involving approximately a hundred graduate students proved that Librarians can contribute to research teams in the entire process of knowledge development and dissemination of authentic information such as the ability in helping library patrons in informed decision making in regards to academic integrity, IPR, citation techniques, and reference management.

Discussion

The academic role of librarians has been underlined by several national and international research agencies. Because of the continuous interaction with graduate students, librarians can convince them about the relevance and necessity of having academic integrity in their academic activities. Such interventions by librarians in formal and informal settings can have positive impacts on the attitudes of student scholars towards the issue. Two hypotheses/research questions were tested in this research study and they were:

a. Academic Librarians Can Have an Active Role in the Knowledge Creation

b. Active Interventions of Librarians Can Have a Positive Impact on Academic Integrity.

Online questionnaires were sent to graduate students of two academic institutions in Delhi Capital Region and Focus Groups were also conducted in these two academic institutions to assess the aftereffect of librarians’ interventions in generating a culture of academic integrity on campuses. This paper reports the awareness and feedback on the academic integrity of post-graduate management students of two academic institutions in the capital region of India, namely Delhi-NCR.

This study addresses the problem of plagiarism, academic integrity, academic dishonesty, and academic ethics in post-secondary education in India. Librarians have made interventions in sensitizing, training, and convincing graduate students about the necessity and 2 ethical requirements of having academic integrity and honesty in writing research dissertations, seminar papers, and project reports. This study also recommends that Academic Librarians can be proactive in conducting research studies and may increase their participation in research teams in collaboration with academia and administration team in universities and similar learning organizations.

Limitations

This research study was limited to two academic institutions in the Delhi-NCR region, one suburban and one metropolitan. Even though the positive learning outcome of the interventions suggests that this approach can be adopted and applied to a wider scope of the academic landscape in other disciplines. Its main limitation is that these research findings may not be relevant to other graduate-level institutions in other parts of India, considering the heterogeneous demography of students in the national capital region of India.

Additionally, the qualitative methodology might not support generalizations from this study because of academic and socio-psychological factors in rural settings of India, where print resources are mainly available to students. The findings may also not be generalizable to students in other programs such as Medicine, and other levels of education such as undergraduate and doctoral level students.

Conclusion

The study shows that librarians can play an active role in promoting a culture of academic integrity among Graduate students in India.

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