RefME Reveals Students' Attitudes Towards Plagiarism


The following post is from Microsoft in Education Partner RefME, the team behind RefME for Word – a tool for students and researchers. Last month saw the launch of RefME for Word, and was previously covered on the Microsoft Higher Education Blog.


RefME Reveals Students' Attitudes Towards Plagiarism

Survey finds 1 in 2 students had lost marks for referencing incorrectly

When it comes to building a bibliography and citing sources, students are often stumped, finding the process frustrating overall. Given it’s a fundamental element within all stages of one’s education, it becomes all the more important to highlight tools that can improve students grades and confidence when citing a wide range of sources.

RefME - Plagiarism_Image_Stat

While writing a concise and powerful argumentative essay, university students often overlook a crucial element that sits at the very core of one’s assignment: the bibliography. Whether you’re tasked with creating a reference list in APA, MLA or Harvard, citations can be a pain and ultimately, confusing. Findings from a recent survey conducted by RefME, popular digital reference management tool, exposed really interesting findings surrounding UK students’ university assignments, plagiarism and their mis-understandings towards accurate referencing practices.

The survey findings suggest that university students don’t have enough access to information and resources when it comes to building reference lists as part of their research and writing journey.

A shocking 70% of survey respondents said they are worried of facing disciplinary actions for plagiarism due to a lack of awareness and confusion around how to reference.

The survey further revealed that over 50% of UK students surveyed by RefME said they lost marks for plagiarism, which is likely due to poor in-text citations and inaccurate bibliographies. Additionally, 61% said they often lose marks on assignments due to their misunderstanding surrounding referencing. So if the quality of their work is acceptable, yet their references land them with failing grade, how can students become more confident and improve their grades? A recent announcement regarding integration of Microsoft and RefME’s technology demonstrates how technology can be used for good. Together, RefME and Microsoft have integrated their respective technology to support students' learning journey and furthermore, to help them avoid plagiarism. With RefME’s citation plugin now available within Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows, Mac and iOS, students, researchers and educators can capture all their research, in-text citations and build their bibliography while writing in their Microsoft Word document.

This unique partnership allows students to ‘cite as they write’, demonstrating how online tools are becoming an increasingly important piece towards ensuring students avoid plagiarism or in some cases, accidental plagiarism. RefME, a multi-platform tool for referencing which is accessible on the web and through mobile apps is helping students enhance the quality of their research and furthermore ease their concerns towards plagiarism. RefME’s CEO Tom Hatton is hopeful that education technologies will empower students to take plagiarism into their own hands and avoid mishaps. Hatton states,


“Based on these findings, it is a real problem which tools like RefME are trying to solve. We want students to do better research by knowing that they can use tools like RefME to help them along their research journey. I hope we can look back at these numbers in a couple of years and see evidence that the sentiment towards plagiarism has changed.”


More about the survey is included below and available at: The RefME Blog.

About the Survey

Between November 2015 and February 2016, an online survey was conducted among 2868 UK students currently enrolled in higher education. The survey was conducted by RefME via OnePoll and SurveyMonkey and the findings have been analysed and interpreted by RefME. Two groups were surveyed, students who currently use RefME and those that do not. Furthermore, the two sets of findings have been amalgamated and at times, where statistically relevant, the findings have been used independently to showcase the disparity between RefME users and non-users. Visit www.refme.com/blog to learn more.


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