Turnitin Whitepaper Plagiarism Web

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WHITE PAPER Plagiarism and the Web: Myths and Realities
An Analytical Study on Where Students Find Unoriginal Content on the Internet

Prevent Plagiarism. Engage Students.

www.turnitin.com

Table of Contents

1.0 Summary ...................................................................................................................... 3 2.0 Introduction .................................................................................................................. 4 3.0 Popular Content Resources on the Web ...................................................................... 5 4.0 The Most Popular Student Sources ............................................................................. 6 5.0 The Top Eight Most Popular Sites for Matched Content .............................................. 7 6.0 Key Findings ................................................................................................................. 8 7.0 Recommendations for Educators ................................................................................. 9 8.0 Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 10

WHITE PAPER | Plagiarism and the Web

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1.0 Summary
The move from an analog to a digital culture is raising a new set of challenges for educators and students when it comes to writing and critical thinking. The following study examines what web sources students rely on and how educators can help students develop better citation and writing skills. Key findings include: • Plagiarism is going social One-third of all content matched in the study is from social networks, content sharing or question-and-answer sites where users contribute and share content. Legitimate educational sites are more popular than cheat sites One-quarter of all matched material is from legitimate educational web sites, almost double the number that comes from paper mills or cheat sites. 15 percent of content matches come directly from sites that promote and benefit from academic dishonesty Paper mills and cheat sites are the third most popular category for matched content. Wikipedia is the most popular site for matched content Wikipedia remains the most popular single source for student-matched content on the Web, comprising seven percent of matches in the months examined. Educators with the knowledge and tools can address the growing problem Educators who employ the proper tools and technologies can significantly mitigate plagiarism. For example, institutions with widespread adoption of Turnitin see a reduction in unoriginal content of 30 to 35 percent in the first year. By the fourth year, many institutions see levels of unoriginality fall by up to 70 percent.









WHITE PAPER | Plagiarism and the Web

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2.0 Introduction
In the last 15 years, the rise of the Internet has changed the way students discover, use and source content for writing. Students now have more information available to them than was previously imaginable. While this wealth of information brings benefits in terms of the dispersion and accessibility of educational content, it can also lead to poor or dishonest writing practices that impede the learning process. In short, if used incorrectly, digital content can hamper the ability of students to write and think critically. The following study examines what web sources students rely on for unoriginal content in their written work. It is based on close to 40 million student papers that were submitted to Turnitin, the leading plagiarism prevention and writing application for instructors and students. The study examined and classified 140 million content matches in the student papers to provide an unparalleled glimpse into the resources students use for content on the Web.

The Turnitin Database
Papers submitted to Turnitin are compared against three main repositories of information: 14 billion current and archived...
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