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Academic Honesty Importance Research Paper


In this research paper, I have selected honesty as my topic of discussion. I chose honesty due to the importance of this virtue in our daily lives, both in and out of school. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines honesty as an uprightness of character or deeds or observance of the laid regulations (Merriam-Webster, 2011). The following questions will be vital in having a deeper understanding of this important virtue.

  • What is the importance of honesty in our daily lives?
  • Is honesty intrinsic or acquired?
  • If honesty is acquired, how then can we acquire it?
  • Why do most people advocate for honesty, yet few practice it?
  • Can we change the current state of dishonesty?

Honesty is the recognition of the fact that insincerity in action, deeds or utterance is dissolute, that love, fame, or material wealth received through fraud has no value, and that an attempt to obtain a value through insincere means is not morally right. It refers to an aspect of moral character and signifies positive, moral traits that include integrity, truthfulness, and sincerity along with the lack of deceit and theft. The concept of honesty is applicable in all facets of our lives. For example, while we are in school, it is vital that we exhibit honesty in all academic and non-academic activities, lack of which can lead to penalties such as deduction of marks or a suspension from school. We must strive to embrace honesty despite the consequences, as this can be beneficial in the long-term.

Acquired or Intrinsic?

Behavioral studies show traits such as honesty, laziness, courage or humility are not intrinsic; instead, they are acquired by engaging in the acts repeatedly, for example, a person becomes hard working by adopting the trait as a child and practicing it all through to adulthood. A person adopts a trait that he believes in. These beliefs can be instilled by parents, friends, religious teachings, or teachers at school. One important point is that fear only motivates honesty to a certain degree, therefore, educationists must not instill fear upon students as this will only make them act honest when the teacher is around but when he leaves, do the reverse. Honesty is best acquired when it comes from within a person.

Academic Honesty

Academic dishonesty is very rampant in most educational institutions and typically involves any form of cheating in an academic exercise. There are many forms of academic dishonesty, these include plagiarism (adoption or use of another person’s ideas without giving him/her appropriate credit), fabrication (use of invalid data or information), or cheating (obtaining or giving unfair assistance in an academic exercise). Studies show that nearly 70 percent of all college graduates have cheated at least once in their academic work while 20 to 25 percent admit having cheated more than five times (Pope, 2007), these statistics point to a growing trend of dishonesty in our schools. Academic honesty among students can be inculcated by including ethical studies in school curricula and introducing the students to such studies at an early age.

Few People Practice Honesty

In today’s society, many people advocate for one line of thought, but practice the reverse: honesty is no exception. Despite the fact that most, if not all, people recognize that honesty is an important element of integrity, only a few people practice it (Gallozzi, N. d). A possible explanation of this occurrence is that in today’s world, our actions seem to be controlled by others. A person may question himself about how others will view his action(s) of honesty, this happens since we all live in social and organizational contexts that judge each of our actions. For example, during a meeting, a staff member may decide to express his honest thoughts about the organization’s management, an idea that his colleagues may shoot down despite its legitimacy, or, in a worst case, lead to his dismissal. Therefore, dishonesty persists because society decides what is right or wrong, to which we must conform.

Secondly, lack of honesty persists in our society because of the fear of punitive measures or negative aspects of honesty. Dishonest acts go on all around us, from small ones such as cheating in exams or to massive ones such as Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme that swindled investors of their millions, and frankly, out political system. These activities continue unabated due to our own fear of receiving reprisals for opposing or exposing such acts. A student cannot report that his friend cheated in exams as this may cause others to shun him. In organizations, dishonest activities frequently come with financial gains and any attempt to interfere may cut off the gains. In summary, our lack of honesty is heavily influenced by our own fears (Johnson and Phillips, 2003).

How do we Change this?

As earlier mentioned, honesty is an acquired trait. For us to change the society, we must first change ourselves, this means that we must be honest with ourselves before trying to instill the same value onto others (Brenegar, 2010). As we reach out to others with the notion of honesty, we will begin to have an urgent desire to instill the value on our friends, and our relationships grow stronger. This growth leads to a matching growth in the level of honesty among our friends and this marks the first step towards reforming our society.


Brenegar, E. (2010). Web.

Gallozzi, C. (N. d.). Importance of Honesty. Web.

Honesty. (2011). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Web.

Johnson, L., and Phillips, B. (2003). Absolute honesty: building a corporate culture that values straight talk and rewards integrity. New York: AMACOM.

Pope, J. (2007). Higher Education sees Rise in Dishonesty. The Washington Post. Web.

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"Academic Honesty Importance." IvyPanda, 31 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/academic-honesty-importance/.

1. IvyPanda. "Academic Honesty Importance." May 31, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/academic-honesty-importance/.


IvyPanda. "Academic Honesty Importance." May 31, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/academic-honesty-importance/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Academic Honesty Importance." May 31, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/academic-honesty-importance/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Academic Honesty Importance'. 31 May.

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