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Turnitin Releases Analysis of Internet Sources Used in Student Writing that Reveals Potential Plagiarism and Unoriginal Content

Secondary students rely more on sources with weak academic validity; college students show greater dependency on encyclopedias and news sites.

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Turnitin, the global leader in originality checking and plagiarism prevention, today announced the results of its annual plagiarism study which indicates that secondary school students in the United States lean more heavily on social networking and content sharing sites for their research while college students depend more on encyclopedia and news sites.

Reliance on cheat sites and paper mills remains stubbornly high for both categories, indicating that blatant plagiarism continues to be a persistent problem for educators.

A free webcast on January 17 will present the findings. Educators can register at: 
http://pages.turnitin.com/WC_011713_register.html

The full study is available through two free white papers, broken out by segment, with each providing an in-depth analysis of the findings and recommendations for educators. They can be downloaded at:

Secondary Education http://pages.turnitin.com/sources_in_writing_sec_2012.html

Higher Education http://pages.turnitin.com/sources_in_writing_he_2012.html

"The data shows that students are struggling to learn the basics of research and proper citation in the Internet age," said Chris Harrick, vice president of marketing at Turnitin. "Search engines, question-and-answer sites and social networking sites have replaced what is supposed to be a deliberative research process with one providing instant results that often have little to no educational value."

The study examined 156 million content matches from 37 million student papers that were submitted to Turnitin between July 2011 and June 2012. Comparing the results to a 2011 study found that while secondary students are moving more towards using paper mills and cheat sites, college students are trending in the direction of legitimate academic sites:

Web Site Category

Secondary

% Change
from 2011

Higher
Ed

% Change
from 2011

Homework & Academic

33%

+10

33%

+11

Social Networking & Content Sharing

28%

-3

-23%

-3

Paper Mills & Cheat Sites

18%

+4

19%

-1

Encyclopedias

11%

0

14%

+2

News & Portals

6%

-6

10%

-7

Shopping

4%

-1

1%

-1

When comparing the educational value provided by student sources, the study suggests that secondary students have more difficulty in assessing academically-viable source material. A full 50 percent of the sources used by secondary students may be considered inappropriate for academic work.

High Quality Sites

Secondary

Higher Ed

Homework & Academic

33%

33%

Encyclopedias

11%

14%

News & Portals

6%

10%

Total High Quality

50%

57%




Low Quality Sites



Social Networking & Content Sharing

28%

23%

Paper Mills & Cheat Sites

18%

19%

Shopping

4%

1%

Total Low Quality

50%

43%

For additional white papers on how to address plagiarism and engage students in the writing process, visit http://www.turnitin.com/en_us/resources/white-papers.

About Turnitin
Turnitin is the global leader in evaluating and improving student writing. The company's cloud-based service for originality checking, online grading and peer review saves instructors time and provides rich feedback to students. One of the most widely distributed educational applications in the world, Turnitin is used by more than 10,000 institutions in 126 countries to manage the submission, tracking and evaluation of student papers online. Turnitin also offers iThenticate, a plagiarism detection service for commercial markets, and WriteCheck, a suite of formative tools for writers. Turnitin is backed by Warburg Pincus and is headquartered in Oakland, Calif., with an international office in Newcastle, U.K. For more information, please visit www.turnitin.com.

All products and services mentioned in this document are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

SOURCE Turnitin

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