The most popular websites students cite and plagiarize

The most popular websites students cite and plagiarize

Summary: What websites are students using for their studies.. and in order to plagiarize?


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, 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


Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • As a student

    re-entering college for a new degree after 30 years from receiving my first, I find that students are just plain lazy. Many do the absolute minimum to receive a passing grade. Further, most have writing and language skills that appear to be below High School proficiency levels. Examples are things like not knowing the difference between the words "since" and "sense" or using spelling common to "texting" their friends.

    What is worse is that instructors (note that I did not use the word "Professor") do not push them to achieve. Essay questions can be answered in one or two sentences. One instructor told I did not need to provide more than a paragraph when summarizing a plot(?!?!?).

    However, we are required to submit our work for plagiarism at a web service called TurnItIn. It checks for phrase sequences that have been used by others. But how can 100 people write one paragraph about a plot and NOT use very similar language even if they don't plagiarize?

    I fear for our future if this is the sort of people we can expect to be workers in our society.
    • I agree

      The majority of students today lack a genuine interest and commitment to learning in general. They live in a bubble with the illusion that the ultimate goal is to get a diploma and score a 6 digit job. Students are not the only ones to blame, however. The entire educational system is inherently defective and must be rebuilt from scratch.
      the plagiarism checker
      • So what?

        So what if students go to college to get well-paying jobs? It's not like we have any alternatives. Vocational schools are crap (at least here in the US, they're quite good in some other countries) and most employers won't take anything but a 4 year degree seriously. And I wouldn't say that students lack a commitment to learning...rather, they dislike studying about things they have no interest in. I love every single Computer Science course I took, but for every one I took, I was forced to take a general education whose only purpose is to milk money out of the student, because it has no relevance to your chosen field of study whatsoever. If I could have gotten a job by going to a vocational school, I'd have gone in a heartbeat, but the certifications are barely worth the paper they're printed on.
  • Encyclopeadia Brittanica was my 'source' for history and geography assignts

    But then those high school subjects were mainly about trivial 'facts' rather than about understanding the sociological, political and geographical drivers behind history.

    Montessori schoolls were based upon the idea that allowing students to pursue what they were interested in would naturally and organically lead them to acquire all the other skills they would need for when they graduated to more substantial pursuits.

    Unfortunately, many seem to be buried in the mundane and frivolous, and the worshipping of underachievement, pandered to by gadgets optimised to swamp what's left of our feeble thought processes in banality. They have not really found anything more worthy of their interest in their adult life than what they did at school.

    Left to pursue what they find interesting, many would be lifetime YouTube or Facebook couch potatoes.
  • Interesting you should mention outlining

    One of the things outlining did in my younger days was to convince me (falsely) that I couldn't write and to this day, I don't have the patience to produce a formal outline (though I'll resort to jot outlines occasionally). What did help was freewriting. Pity I wasn't exposed to it until the third time I took freshman composition in college (that time, I aced it).
    John L. Ries