Plagiarism is nothing new. Students have been plagiarizing far before the Internet was widely available — whether it was copying from the encyclopedia or hiring professionals. But the Internet and the explosion of online resources has made it easier for students to get to those resources. You’ll find a number of websites geared specifically to cheating — sites where you can buy papers, for example. But even if students opt not to pay-to-cheat, the Internet does seem to make it easier to lift content. It’s as easy as copy-and-paste.
But by those very same standards, it also means that plagiarism is much easier to identify. Even without purchasing expensive plagiarism-tracking software, instructors can Google suspicious-sounding sentences from students’ work and determine whether or not they’ve lifted content from online resources.
Even though plagiarism is often easily identifiable via a simple Web search, many schools have opted to purchase one of the many plagiarism-checking software programs currently on the market. One of the best known options is TurnItIn, which has just released an interesting white paper, based on the 40 million some-odd papers that have been submitted and analyzed by the site.
Some of the key finds from the paper 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. Continue reading