Study Synopsis #13 Swanson 1Study Synopsis: The Source in Student Writing – SecondaryEducationAndree C. Swanson, EdDhttp://www.edutopia.org/Turnitin conducted a study in 2011-2012 to examine the secondarysources that students use in their written essays. “It is based on an analysisof over 44 million content matches from more than 9 million student papers”(Turnitin, 2013, p. 3).KEY FINDINGSThe key findings from the study were:1. “Students are relying on sources that have weak academic validity”(p. 3).2. “Most troubling, 18% of content matches come from paper mills andcheat sites” (p. 3). In fact, the statistics showed that there was a 4%increase in the use of paper mills and cheat sites (p. 5)3. “Secondary student sources vary considerably from the sources highereducation students use in their writing” (p. 3).4. “Educators should consider taking time to teach students how searchengines work and how to evaluate and judge the quality of onlinecontent” (p. 3). I find this appalling! I think this statement assumesthat we, as educators, do not teach our students how to use searchengines. But, you can only spoon feed students so much! Whenstudents have waited to the last minute, for whatever reason, theymight turn to whatever they think will help them get the page length,etc.
Study Synopsis #13 Swanson 2POPULAR SOURCESThe most popular Internet sites are listed below, with Wikipediaremaining in the number one position.1. Wikipedia2. Answers.yahoo.com3. Enotes.com4. Answers.com5. Oppapers.com (a paper mill) – personally, I find this to be a verypopular source and it disturbs me to find my name on many papersas the instructor. 6. Scribd.com7. Slideshare.net8. Essaymania.com9. Shmoop.com10. Medialibrary.orgMany students are citing blogs, not realizing that these are mostlyfilled with opinions.PAPER MILLS & CHEAT SITESEducators are debating the value of Wikipedia or SlideShare.net.Some educators recommend using Wikipedia to get an overall idea on thetopic, but then recommend using a primary source on the topic. However,educators agree that cheat sites are just not acceptable… period (p. 8).Table 1. Top Ten Cheat SitesNumber Top Cheat Sites Number of Matches inTurnitin1 Oppapers.com 1,245,0972 Essaymania.com 932,709
Study Synopsis #13 Swanson 33 Antiessays.com 798,5574 123helpme 794,8075 Allfreeessays.com 604,4136 Bignerds.com 534,9557 Slashdoc.com 526,1528 Customessaymeister.com 525.2429 Novelguide.com 410,96410 Termpaperslab.com 302,811This table represents the top 10 cheat site and paper mills that appear in student work.Roughly, 18% of all matches on Turnitin come from cheat sites. “To put itbluntly at least 18% of all sources used in secondary education papers areplagiarized” (p. 8)SHOPPING SITESWant to get a better understanding of what was presented in atextbook or another source? Go to Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble and readthe reviews that the authors and readers write. This is where our highereducation students are going for information.CONCLUSIONThis is battle that will never be won. Circumstances will always tempteven the best student to take a short cut here or there. It is ourresponsibility to ensure that we are educating are students in the propermethod of research and that they use and cite the right sources when on theweb.ReferenceTurnitin. (2013). White paper: The sources in student writing – Secondaryeducation. Oakland, CA: iParadigms, LLC.