Critical factors contributing to a student’s decision to pirate software


Scientific Study, 2009
38 Pages

Free online reading

Table of Contents

Abstract

List of Tables

List of Figures

Chapter 1. Rationale
1.1 Problem Statement
1.2 Background/Introduction
1.3 Opportunity for Research
1.4 Research Objective
1.5 Research Question(s)

Chapter 2. Methodology
2.1 Theoretical Framework
2.1.1 Research Hypothesis / Questions
2.1.2 Operational Definitions of Variables
2.2 Research Design Approach
2.3 Context of Study
2.3.1 Setting
2.3.2 Population
2.3.3 Limitations
2.3.4 Sample Design and Selection
2.4 Feasibility Analysis and Design Selection
2.5 Data Collection
2.5.1 Methods of Measurement
2.5.2 Instrumentation
2.5.3 Data Collection Procedures
2.5.4 Data Coding
2.5.5 Data Collected
2.5.6 Data Quality Assessment

Chapter 3.
Results and Findings
3.1 Data Analysis
3.1.1 Analysis Procedures
3.1.2 Methods of Analysis
3.2 Results
A. Figure 1: Ethnicity Distribution Pie Chart
3.3 Findings

Chapter 4. Implications and Conclusions
4.1 Contributions to Knowledge
4.2 Implications for Future Research
4.3 Implications for Practitioners
4.4 Implications for Policy Makers
4.5 Conclusions

APPENDICES
B. Definition of Terms
C. List of Symbols and Acronyms
D. Instrument(s) Utilized
C.1 Pilot Test Instrument
C.2 Data Collection Instrument

Reference List

List of Tables

Table 1. Dummy Table of Responses

Table 2. Ethnicity Distribution

Table 3. Gender Distribution

Table 4. Income Distribution

Table 5. Financial Aid Distribution

Table 6. Technical Proficiency Distribution

Table 7. Student Status Distribution

Table 8. Risk Distribution

Table 9. One-Sample Test for Yes Respondents

Table 10. One-Sample Test for No Respondents

Table 11. Comparison of Mean Responses base on Yes or No Response

List of Figures

Figure 1: Ethnicity Distribution Pie Chart

Chapter 1
Rationale

1.1 Problem Statement

Software piracy is a threat to software developers and companies. It undermines their ability to make a profit on their work. This study asks the question, for what reasons do students choose whether to make illegal copies of software? The study collects data from three classrooms but the analysis does not factor in the course or other demographic variables when separating out responses.

1.2 Background/Introduction

Software piracy is often mentioned in the media but the reasons for why people copy software are largely unknown (Siponen and Vartiainen, 2007). Kin-wai Lau cites a 1990 study by Swinyard et al. where students in the US were found to have more respect for copyright laws than students in Singapore (2007). In support of this, Gan and Koh (2006) state that intellectual property rights have less value in Asian cultures. Marron and Steel (2000) found it to be inversely related to software piracy. Additionally, Depken and Simmons (2004) concluded that software piracy declines as income increases. Technological proficiency would be an important demographic variable studied previously by Gan and Koh in 2006. Gan and Koh’s study found that those with 8-10 years of personal computer experience tended to pirate software seldom whereas those with 4 or less years experience with personal computers pirated often. Moral sensitivity would be an interesting demographic variable to use to see whether general ethical principles include software piracy or if it is still as Vitell and Davis stated in 1990, that software piracy has become socially acceptable because it is so commonplace. Gan and Koh (2006) conducted a study on software piracy in university students and faculty in Singapore in which a cluster analysis was used that divided respondents into categories based on variables including ethical attitudes.

This study builds on the work of Siponen and Vartiainen (2007), Gan and Koh (2006), Depken and Simmons (2004), Marron and Steel (2000), Kin-wai Lau (2007), and Vitell and Davis (1990) who studied software piracy and Akbulut (2008) who studied ethics between genders. The goal of this study was to analyze the factors contributing to a student’s decision to pirate software. The study focuses on students in computer technology disciplines.

1.3 Opportunity for Research

This research is useful for improving computer ethics education. The results of the study show that the moral attitudes of whether it is wrong to pirate software are present in those who do not copy software but absent in those who do. This is one area where computer ethics education can place more effort. Software piracy awareness campaigns could similarly benefit from the research.

1.4 Research Objective

The goal of this study was to analyze the factors contributing to a student’s decision to pirate software. The study focused on students in computer technology disciplines.

1.5 Research Question(s)

Several questions are asked in this research study to answer the overall question of why students in computer technology programs decide to pirate software. The questions are as follows: Is the likelihood of a student choosing to pirate software independent of the perceived level of difficulty to pirate software? Question 2: Is the likelihood of a student choosing to pirate software independent of the perceived harm pirating software causes? Question 3: Is the likelihood of a student choosing to pirate software independent of the software cost? Question 4: Is the likelihood of a student choosing to pirate software independent of the threat of punishment? Question 5: Is the likelihood of a student choosing to pirate software independent of the perceived right to use the software without paying for it?

Chapter 2,
Methodology

2.1 Theoretical Framework

This research builds upon the work of Siponen and Vartiainen’s “Unauthorized copying of software – An empirical study of reasons for and against” (2007) where the factors influencing the Finnish students’ decision to pirate software was studied.

Siponen and Vartiainen (2007) ask the question, for what reasons do students choose whether to make illegal copies of software? The study collects data from three classrooms but the analysis does not factor in the course or other demographic variables when separating out responses. The study is a non-experiment because the researchers did not have any control over independent variables.

An anonymous quantitative survey was used in the study. This promoted honesty in the responses which is especially important when discussing software piracy as it is a crime. The survey had a list of possible reasons for making illegal copies of software. The advantage of presenting respondents with a list of reasons is that the students are more likely to be able to choose a reason as compared to an open ended question that might result in many responses of “I don’t know”. The downside of listing possible reasons is that the respondents will be encouraged to choose the one that best matches their situation but it may not accurately reflect the reason they choose to illegally copy software. The survey also does not take into account multiple reasons for making illegal copies and the varying degree of influence each may have had on the student’s decision to copy software because the students do not rank their answers and they select only one reason.

The goal of Siponen and Vartiainen’s study was to better understand the reasons why Finnish students choose to make illegal copies of software. Their study found that the most common reason for pirating software is that software is expensive (2007). Some copied software because they could not afford it and other copied the software to save money.

2.1.1 Research Hypothesis / Questions

Five hypotheses have been postulated. They are as follows:

Hypothesis 1: The likelihood of a student choosing to pirate software is independent of the perceived level of difficulty.

Hypothesis 2: The likelihood of a student choosing to pirate software is independent of the perceived harm pirating software causes.

Hypothesis 3: The likelihood of a student choosing to pirate software is independent of the software cost.

Hypothesis 4: The likelihood of a student choosing to pirate software is independent of the threat of punishment.

Hypothesis 5: The likelihood of a student choosing to pirate software is independent of the perceived right to use the software without paying for it.

2.1.2 Operational Definitions of Variables

The study is a hypothesis test. The five hypotheses in section 2.1.1 will be used to answer the research question on a student’s decision to pirate software.

2.2 Research Design Approach

The study is a hypothesis test to answer the question on what influences the decision of students in computer technology programs decide to pirate software.

2.3 Context of Study

The goal of this study is to analyze the factors contributing to a student’s decision to pirate software. Because of this, an ideal location would be a college or university where students can be interviewed or surveyed easily. This study proposes to study students at a local college on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. The location was chosen primarily because it is a school and the study focuses on students. A school is a good place to survey students because they spend a lot of time there. With the cooperation of the professors at the school, a better response rate can be achieved as well because the students are compelled to complete the survey in class. A secondary reason for choosing the site is because the researcher has a good working relationship with the professors there and they are willing to distribute the survey to their classes for him.

2.3.1 Setting

The location is college on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. The location was chosen because the researcher is on the board there and the professors there are willing to distribute the survey to their classes. The college is a career college that offers associate of applied science degrees in computer technology, building maintenance technology, electrical technology, and environmental systems as well as several diploma programs. The school is located on the East side of Cleveland and the students are a mix of traditional and non-traditional. Traditional being those who attend directly after high school and non-traditional being those who attend in order to gain the skills to change careers.

2.3.2 Population

The population to be studied is students in information technology in the Cleveland metropolitan area of Ohio. The local College’s computer technology program contains such students. The student body in these courses is made up of people from the Cleveland metropolitan area. The school is a small one with less than 20 students in the computer technology program so the population size is small. Students in the computer technology program were chosen because Siponen and Vartiainen’s study found that half the students who said they found software piracy acceptable would be less inclined if they worked in the computer field (2007). The students surveyed are preparing to work in this field so it is useful to understand their opinions on the subject during their program prior to them working in the industry.

2.3.3 Limitations

The first constraint would be whether a minimum number of respondents would be necessary to perform an accurate statistical analysis. Another constraint could be the amount of time survey participants have to take the survey. A third constraint could be the possible lack of control that could happen when persons other than the researcher administer the quantitative survey in the classroom. These professors can be given training in the proper procedure for administering the survey but care must be taken to make sure that the surveys are administered professionally. Another constraint would be the way partial responses or incomplete responses are dealt with. Lastly, The College is a small school with less than 20 students in the computer technology program. This makes for a very small population and sample.

2.3.4 Sample Design and Selection

The students at the college are a mix of traditional and non-traditional. Traditional students are those who attend directly after high school and non-traditional students are those who attend in order to gain the skills to change careers. The population is made up primarily of male students. Only 10% of the 20 students are female. Age of the population ranges from 18 to 55. Some are single and others are married. Three ethnicities are represented in the school, Black, White, and Hispanic.

2.4 Feasibility Analysis and Design Selection

The variables were measured using a likert scale on a scale of 1 to 5 with a possible answer of strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree.

The demographic variables were analyzed by computing the distribution across each category. Demographic variables include ethnicity, gender, income, financial aid, technical proficiency, student status, and risk tolerance. A quantitative approach was used to test the hypotheses of difficulty, impact, cost, risk, and right. The quantitative approach is used with the scaled variables. The Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 17 was used for hypothesis testing and to produce relevant demographic statistics.

Based on the dependent variable of whether or not the students pirate software, the responses were gathered into two groups. Each group was analyzed with a one-sample T test. The researcher used this test because the research has a sample size of 17 and the t-test is used on sample sizes less than 30. The t-test can be used to determine if the findings from the research can be applied to a larger population. Also the means of the response are used to determine the mean response and to make observations.

2.5 Data Collection

This section provides a description of the method used for measuring the variables, the instruments used, the collection procedures, how the data is coded, and how it was collected..

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Details

Title
Critical factors contributing to a student’s decision to pirate software
College
University of Fairfax
Author
Year
2009
Pages
38
Catalog Number
V203595
ISBN (Book)
9783656310839
File size
652 KB
Language
English
Tags
critical
Quote paper
Eric Vanderburg (Author), 2009, Critical factors contributing to a student’s decision to pirate software, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/203595

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