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The Importance of Plagiarism Checkers

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1. Introduction

Turnitin employs what’s called the “Originality Check.” This checks a student’s work for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing the previously stored data to the internet and its index of previously submitted student work and library of periodicals, books, and journals. This is beneficial for both students and instructors, as papers can be checked prior to final draft submission and any areas of concern can be addressed.

So what can be done to prevent plagiarism? Ask professors, and most likely they will tell you that there are many different versions of plagiarism checkers. Some include: Write Check, Grammarly, and Turnitin. With the new advances in technology, the wide availability of the internet and its massive size, students are finding it easier to simply copy and paste a few texts and pass it off as their work. Little do they know that these plagiarism checkers also have the ability to scan the internet for works similar to what is being submitted. Professors believe that coming down hard on plagiarism and using such software can help students not only learn more, but also gain confidence in producing their own work.

Ask any student, and most likely, he or she will tell you that plagiarizing is looked down upon and frowned upon. Little do people know that there are more serious issues at hand other than a student simply being lazy. Plagiarizing is illegal. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it as “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own, to use (another’s production) without crediting the source”. What does this mean? This means that by simply copying and pasting another’s work and not providing citation is a serious offense. In the real world, this would be equivalent to fraud and would result in serious legal issues.

2. Benefits of Using a Plagiarism Checker

The plentiful amount of information on the internet also obscures a student’s perception of what actually constitutes plagiarism. While it is clear that using someone else’s idea, opinion, or fact and representing it as your own is plagiarism, regurgitating that same information with a similar writing style and without citing the original author is also considered plagiarism. With any specific content requirement, all forms of unintentional plagiarism can be avoided by simply using a plagiarism checker to scan the document and ensure all content is original.

One of the main reasons cited for plagiarism is that students are unsure of what constitutes a credible and reliable source. Often, students may find a document online but due to a lack of experience in that field of research, are not competent enough to fully understand the content and rewrite the information in their own words. This is an unintentional form of plagiarism, as the student does not give credit to the original author and is likely to reuse much of the same wording and phrasing in the document.

In the article, a Gallup poll is cited stating that “plagiarism is at an all-time high, with 80 percent of students admitting to cheating at least once.” The article also offers the opinion of students knowingly cheating, stating “with so much to lose and so little to gain, cheaters are illogical people.” Essentially, the students are only hurting themselves in the long run. Copying work from others does not further one’s knowledge base or critical thinking skills in that subject. However, it is clear many students are not considering the consequences of plagiarism, with a large portion of them unaware of the severity and possible repercussions of doing it.

Finding an efficient plagiarism checker is becoming one of the most important tools for students in the modern academic environment. Online library databases and web search engines have simplified the task of finding research information and resources. Unfortunately, the accessibility of information has led to an increase in cheaters, since it is much easier to copy a document from the internet and turn it in as one’s own work. Because of this, teachers are forced to place a higher importance on the type and originality of the writing assignment given.

3. How to Choose the Right Plagiarism Checker

So, to avoid using these inferior and sometimes costly services, there are several key strategies. It is a good idea to utilize a free trial or demonstration where possible. A quality service will have confidence in its product and wish to exhibit it to prospective clients. By doing a trial run, you can test the speed and accuracy of the service and determine if it suits your specific needs. One example of a beneficial feature to test is the plagiarism checker’s ability to scan against various different databases, thus determining if the information comes from an academic source or a more informal one.

Not all plagiarism checkers are created equal, so it is essential to consider the key features with respect to your specific needs. For example, it is important to establish the scope of checks: are you seeking to compare against vast online databases or rather conduct a quick check using the data on your own computer? There are also considerable differences in cost, but it is worthwhile remembering that a high price does not always guarantee quality. A number of plagiarism tools are developed by private companies who use the software as a means of mass marketing. Often times, these tools generate more traffic for the company’s website rather than function as a genuine service.

4. Tips for Using a Plagiarism Checker Effectively

The final and most important tip is to start early. Waiting until the last minute to check your assignment for plagiarism is not effective. It will provide an unrealistic time frame to check and correct your work. Last-minute checks are also likely to miss further occurrences of plagiarism that could have been done in a rush to complete the assignment. By starting early, you ensure a thorough and relaxed check of your work and can ultimately prevent plagiarism from occurring in the first place.

The penultimate tip is to request assistance from the checker’s support services. There will be times after interpreting your scan that you are unsure as to whether certain areas of your paper are plagiarized or if you are unsure of how to prevent further occurrences of plagiarism. Support services can provide additional information to aid in the usage of the plagiarism checker and give advice on preventing plagiarism in your work. By following the advice given, you’re guaranteed to become a plagiarism-preventing expert!

The third tip is to carefully interpret the scan of your work. What defines plagiarism is the uncited use of others’ words or ideas with the intention to pass them off as your own. The plagiarism checkers will give a report with highlighted sections of unoriginal text. This can include common phrases, quotes, or content that is correctly cited! You will then need to go through the highlighted sections and determine whether it is false positives, legitimate areas of plagiarism, or rightful use of cited material and make the appropriate corrections.

The second tip is to keep a backup file of your work and to make draft submissions to the plagiarism checker. This is for security reasons. There have been cases where files have become corrupted upon using the checker. Without a backup file, you may lose hours of hard work. Making draft submissions is to prevent database comparisons of your work with others. These can cause your work to later be flagged as plagiarized, as your work is now in a database and anyone else using the database can compare and plagiarize off your work. By preventing comparison of your current work with others, you can guarantee that it remains as a fresh original piece.

The first tip is to use the plagiarism checker as you are writing. This means running checks on paragraphs or pages as you complete them. This will help to monitor your progress and prevent accidental plagiarism. In doing this, you will get to see where you have been unintentionally plagiarizing and will be able to correct this mistake immediately.

Plagiarism is an intimidating issue that can cause a lot of problems. It not only decreases the quality of your paper, but it also gives the person whose work you have plagiarized a sense of being cheated. So before submitting an assignment, it is essential to ensure it is generally original and does not contain any uncited material. Plagiarism checkers are an excellent tool for this, but only if used effectively. Here are a few tips for using a plagiarism checker effectively.

5. Conclusion

So how do we teach students to avoid plagiarism and foster a spirit of responsibility? We cannot do so by waiting for the student to inevitably make the wrong choice. At this point it will likely be too late, and he/she will have already entangled him/herself in a web of irresponsibility. We must attack the problem by teaching students what the right choices are and giving them the tools they need to make these choices.

Personal responsibility must be learned, and it is learned through experience. We can expedite the process of learning personal responsibility. Stealing a man’s work and claiming it as your own is no small matter. It is a big step into the world of personal irresponsibility, a place with consequences both known and unknown. Students must realize that the unknown consequences are usually the greater of the two. By simulating the consequences of plagiarism, students can see that the consequences of taking the easy way out are simply not worth it.

I know that teachers everywhere are pressing this issue. Now, more than ever, people need to learn to make choices that are constructive and forward thinking. But how can we expect people to make better choices now when they have so frequently been able to avoid the consequences of making poor choices and taking the easy way out? We cannot. Punishing them when they do get caught is only a band-aid on a problem that has deep roots. We must show our students how to do things the right way, even if it is the more difficult way.

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