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Applying criminological theory to academic fraud

Nicholas Walker (Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA)
Kristy Holtfreter (Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 5 January 2015




This paper aims to examine academic dishonesty and research misconduct, two forms of academic fraud, and provides suggestions for future research informed by criminological theory.


After reviewing prior literature, this paper outlines four general criminological theories that can explain academic fraud.


While criminological theory has been applied to some studies of academic dishonesty, research misconduct has rarely been examined within a broader theoretical context.

Practical implications

This paper provides a blueprint for future theoretically informed analyses of academic fraud.


This paper represents a unique attempt to apply general criminological theories to diverse forms of fraud in higher education settings.



The authors thank Katelyn A. Wattanaporn for her research assistance. Please direct correspondence to Kristy Holtfreter, Arizona State University, School of Criminology & Criminal Justice, 411 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ, 85,004 (email –


Walker, N. and Holtfreter, K. (2015), "Applying criminological theory to academic fraud", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 48-62.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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