Sources in Student Writing

Turnitin have produced two infographics on the sources in student writing:

“Turnitin’s annual study examines the sources students use in their written work and the implications of their choices. This study was conducted for both Higher Ed and Secondary Education.”

The below is an extract from the Higher Education Infographic – those of you interested in Secondary Education can click the link to view that version.

Click the link below to view the full graphic, but I’ve highlighted some key points from it:

Sources in Student Writing
Sources in Student Writing Infographic

  • 112 million content matches for 28 million student papers.
  • Wikipedia the most cited source for information.
  • Other top 10 sites for sources are unregulated and un-checked for accuracy (SlideShare, Yahoo Answers, PaperCamp, etc).
  • SlideShare and Facebook most cited source for content sharing websites.
  • 19% of sources are paper mills and ‘cheat’ sites.
  • Even Amazon and other ‘retail’ or ‘review’ sites are cited as sources for academic work (mind you, this could be legitemate if the student is writing about the effect of eCommerce on traditional retail outlets?).

Is this the format of the future ‘active learner’, to prefer the easy/quick option to gaining a qualification? I hope not but I fear that students are under so much pressure (socially and financially) that hard work is the last thing they are capable of, therefore the ‘path of less┬áresistance’ to completing the assignment is to find the written work elsewhere?