Four of the top ten web sites cited by students are: Wikipedia, YouTube, Yahoo Voices, and Answers.com, according to Sarah Kessler writing in Mashable. In her article Students Cite YouTube, Google, Wikipedia the Most, she writes that when "doing homework, many students turn to the same websites as they do when they’re surfing the web under other circumstances" and that "students referred to Google more than any other database when discussing their research habits". While this is not in the least surprising, it does show the dependency of modern students on these easy to access and use resources. The article also shows a very interesting Infographic based on some studies by EasyHub.com - you can see the graphic here.
Many students are open about using these tools - I have seen students Google some words in some of my own open book in-class tests, and even send my question to Ask.Com to find an answer. The trouble is that the likes of Google return millions of results and the key is in using Google properly. I don't know anybody who looks at more that a handful of search results before trying a different search if they don't get what they want. Perhaps we should have classes on searching for information on the web. It is too easy to just type in a few words and search. Equally, us educators have to be conscious that it is easy for students to find information and that in addition to the threat of plagiarism, there is also the possibility that a difficult assignment can be made very easy by clever use of search tools and the likes of Wikipedia.