Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher and Adult Education


Higher Education

Committee Chair

Patricia Murrell

Committee Member

Beverly Cross

Committee Member

Bill Akey

Committee Member

Katrina Meyer


This study was designed to explore the phenomenon of college students who illegally file-share.The main research question was, “What are the experiences of college students who file-share and what are their perspectives on the moral and legal implications for doing so?”Data were collected from six students using interviews, focus groups, and online communication. This study revealed five themes common to the students in the study.The first theme, Old School Morality vs. Contemporary Morality, revealed that the college students in this study saw a contemporary issue like file-sharing differently then they did other moral issues.The second theme, Absurdity of Buying vs. Benefits of Free, explained how college students found it absurd to pay for files when they knew they could get them for free.The third theme, Malicious Intent vs. No Harm Done, revealed that the students did not see file-sharing the same as stealing because they were not intending to hurt anyone.The fourth theme, Repercussions vs. Everyone Does It, showed that the students were unable to internalize the consequences or repercussions of their file-sharing behavior.The fifth theme, Prolonging Needs vs. Satisfying Needs, explained that students file-share because they value the immediacy and convenience of it.In conclusion, this study revealed that college students did not see file-sharing as a moral dilemma and were unable to internalize the legal side of file-sharing.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.