What is a plagiarism checker? It is a program that scans various kinds of articles and writing pieces for any plagiarized material. Plagiarism can come in multiple forms, such as blatantly copying another's work word-for-word or copying one's own material by submitting the same piece to more than one person or company. Trying to replace certain words with synonyms, while keeping the rest of the sentence intact, is also a form of plagiarism. It is also possible to accidentally plagiarize (though that form is notoriously difficult to prove) and to plagiarize an idea or theory.
The growth of the internet has provided many benefits, one of which being greater access to nearly everything. However, it has also allowed people to find sources for topics written anywhere from their hometown to the other side of the world. The amount of options for a person to plagiarize from is so vast, that it is impossible for one person or company to police it.
Programs that detect plagiarism have become increasingly popular, as the rates of plagiarism have risen. Universities, publishers, and companies are just a few of those taking advantages of these sorts of programs.
Each plagiarism checker works a bit differently and offers something a bit different. The general premise, however, is the same. The writing in question (whether it be a student essay, a non-fiction manuscript, or bid for a marketing plan) is entered into the system. Some require a person to upload the writing onto their server and others have a person simply cut and paste it into a box. Regardless, confidentiality and security are guaranteed, if the program is legitimate.
From there, the program scans the document and cross-checks it with everything in its database or online. The most efficient plagiarism checkers have their own databases. These databases could include anything from academic student essays to professional scientific work. Some programs even offer checks in multiple languages. Another difference between the programs involves the type of documents that are accepted. Some only accept Word documents, while others, such as Unplag, will check .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, .odt, .html, and .pdf documents, without changing the formatting.
Once the program starts checking, the analysis is typically ready within 4-5 seconds (this speed is considered to be one of the fastest, though there are the tools processing data much longer: from several minutes to 24 hours). Anything that matches a source of any kind is highlighted. Some programs will list the sources that match, while others provide links to them. These programs are very detail-oriented and will even pick up matches where the writer tried to replace the key words of a sentence with synonyms or similar words.
According to Jonathan Bailey, there are 2 main focuses a plagiarism checking program could take:
Originality Verification and Infringement Detection.
Before Originality Verification is made, the writing is scanned for any part that matches a piece of writing already in existence. Each program offers different kinds of database searches, documents that can be uploaded, and method of displaying the copied material.
Those dealing with Infringement Detection pertain to ideas or theories that may have been stolen from another person. These program do not scan word-by-word, but instead they scan the document as a whole, searching for a theme or idea in someone's work.
The internet gives society access to anything it wants, making it simple to find work on any given topic. Work that was already completed by someone else. With the endless amount of resources available, it is impossible for an individual to know if something has been copied, unless they happen to be familiar with the original work. These programs provide a way of monitoring a huge chunk of what is available.
Teachers and universities are using plagiarism checkers for this very reason. In order to assess if a student's work is original, they use the program to check it. Companies are also using the programs in order to assess if research papers, data, theories, proposals, and other work is original or plagiarized. Individual students are also beginning to use these programs. Some choose to use it as a safety net that guards against accidental plagiarism. Meaning after reading multiple sources, that student felt that were stating their own synopsis, but wanted to be sure they hadn't been swayed by one particular article without realizing it. In addition, some students use it to learn and re-write. If a paper comes back with highlighted areas, that student can decide to quote and cite it, rewrite it, or omit it altogether.
Your paper has already been written. Now, the main point is to double check whether you haven't plagiarized anything. So, how to spot plagiarism in any of your academic writings without wasting much time and focusing only on those things that should be focused? Below you will find a checklist to help you out.
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