Digital sources of information are often used in student essays and projects -- from young children to university level.
But what websites are the most popular in the student realm?
Easybib, a popular citation service used to create half a billion citations worldwide, has compiled an ethnographic study which focuses on just which websites appeal to students the most -- whether it be because of quick access to information, assistance on defining terms, or keeping up with the latest news.
It was found that four of the top ten sites were known for user-generated content -- Wikipedia, YouTube, Answers.com and Yahoo Voices.
In comparison, search engine Google was popular, but finding relevant sources could be an issue for researchers.
Perhaps this kind of behaviour points to a general trend among the younger generation. We expect instant access to specific information we require -- and this in turn leads us to use resources which allow more cohesive results based on our search terms.
If this is the case, and why rifling through thousands of Google results can seem a chore, maybe this is why plagiarism is also on the rise. Instant access to sources, in any industry, can lead to the slippery slope of laziness -- or coupled with an incomplete knowledge of what plagiarism actually is, results in students copying and pasting information, perhaps rewording, but going no further in their quest for original or quality information.
Is there a solution to the growing issue of plagiarism? Perhaps not, but certain steps could be taken to try and education as well as bring home just how severe the consequences of uncited copying can be to students.
It isn't possible to completely stop students from collaborating and breaking the rules, unless project work was striped completely and every mark was awarded through exam sessions -- and even this wouldn't be completely effective.
Instead, some schools and academic institution have tried the following approaches:
- Emphasizing planning to try and stop last-minute panic attacks;
- Changing the format of assignments. Instead of standard essays, annotated bibliographies, booklets and poster presentations are some ideas that teachers have tried.
- Staying away from one-answer essays and appealing to the individual nature of many of the Gen-Y -- by offering personalized assignments which require students to think rather than simply copy.
Fore more information, view the infographic below:
Image credit: Easybib
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