Student use of cheat sites has decreased.

Social media and content sharing websites account for one-third of plagiarism among college students, and paper mills are far less popular than once thought, according to a report detailing the most common cheating methods in higher education.

iParadigms, creator of anti-plagiarism site Turnitin.com, released a report April 28 documenting where students are turning for research material. Educators submit their students’ research papers and assignments to Turnitin, which then compares the content to three information repositories filled with more than 14 billion current and archived web pages.

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The study shows that legitimate educational websites are also among students’ most heavily used internet resources.

In fact, sites like medlibrary.org and nih.gov are frequently cited in student papers, and 25 percent of student content that matched material in the Turnitin database was from legitimate academic and homework web sources.

But most submitted student material matched sources available on social media and content sharing websites, according to iParadigms.

That doesn’t mean those student assignments were plagiarized; Turnitin includes the disclaimer that the service “does not detect nor determine plagiarism,” but by showing matches to other web content, gives educators a chance to determine if a student has violated a college’s plagiarism policy.


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