Plagiarism is a condemnable act that has dire consequences for professionals and students alike. It is considered unethical and damages students’ academic integrity and reputation.
In this digital age, with everything just a click away, it is not difficult to detect plagiarism. After the detection, it is of utmost importance that we take steps to address the matter at hand.
There are some common ways through which we can easily detect and address plagiarism, and the purpose of this guide is to learn about those ways.
So, let’s learn more about it!
Part 1: Detecting Plagiarism
Some methods to detect plagiarism are discussed below.
1. Manual detection:
Identifying plagiarism at first can be challenging for some if they don’t have adequate knowledge of what a plagiarized text looks like. Primarily, plagiarism can be checked by just looking at the text. As easy as it sounds, believe me, it’s not!
By the way, this applies only to teachers looking for plagiarism in their student’s work. A student would never manually check his work for plagiarism, knowing that he has done it deliberately.
Basically, plagiarism can be identified by some simple scrutiny of the content in question. For instance, if there is a sudden change in the tone and style of the content, it’s an accurate indicator of foul play.
To sum it up, here are some of the things that you can watch to manually find plagiarism.
- Writing style:
If you see a sudden and drastic change in the writing style of a student, this is a sign that the text could be plagiarized.
- Quality of work:
Note that throughout the text, the quality of work must be the same. If it looks like the student’s work quality is changing from passage to passage, it could be a sign that the content or part of the content is plagiarized.
Keep an eye on the formatting. If the font, the spacing, and the text size vary (other than the variation deliberately given for headings) throughout or at some point in the text, this could be a red flag.
The act of manually checking for plagiarism is not for everyone. People who have experience and a keen eye for it can use this method to detect plagiarism. However, this method may not give accurate results to everyone.
On the other hand, an effective and time-efficient method for checking plagiarism is by using online tools.
2. Using an Online Plagiarism Detector
The other way to check for plagiarism in your content is by using online tools. This is the go-to method in situations where students have to check their work for accidental plagiarism or when teachers have to quickly check a whole bunch of papers and assignments together.
In this case, using an online tool like a plagiarism detector is a lot more practical and plausible than going through the content manually to look for “indicators,” as mentioned above.
How do these online plagiarism detectors work?
To give you an idea of how these tools work, we’ll chalk out the general process.
Firstly, you need to find a advanced and authentic plagiarism detector online and see the options it offers. Mostly, these tools have the option of uploading a file entirely.
Likewise, a lot of online tools offer the simple feature of pasting content or importing the same from cloud storage.
Many online tools only allow a limited number of words to detect plagiarism. Once you have successfully uploaded or pasted the content you desire to check, you just need to proceed with starting the process.
On some tools, there might be a button you need to click on, but on real-time plagiarism checkers, the process will start right away.
The tool will now compare your piece of writing with those submitted on the internet. If the content matches, the plagiarism checker would mark it as plagiarized.
Now let’s move on to look at what you should do if your content does come back as plagiarized.
When we talk about “addressing plagiarism,” we refer to the steps and measures that you can take to resolve it or eliminate it should it get into your content.
Finding plagiarism is only half the process. To avoid the concomitant consequences, you have to address the plagiarism before finalizing your content.
If students are writing on their own and still getting plagiarism in their work, this is accidental plagiarism. To remove this type of plagiarism, students can use the paraphrasing technique.
By using this technique, they can reword their content to make it unique. Paraphrasing can be done in two ways:
- Paraphrasing Manually
The first method by which content can be paraphrased is the manual method.
In the manual method, the student reads the original text, understands its meaning, and then makes changes to said text on their own. In other words, they use their own vocabulary for the word replacements, and so forth.
The process of “manually” paraphrasing can be understood better in contrast to the other method, i.e., automated paraphrasing (which we’re going to discuss below).
The main benefit of paraphrasing manually is that there are fewer chances of contextual discrepancies and errors occurring in the final result.
On the other hand, the main drawback is that the process takes time, and the quality of the final output is dependent on the skill of the particular student.
2. Paraphrasing using Online Tools:
Other than the manual method, students can also paraphrase their content using online tools. Here, we refer to online paraphrasing tools – which are basically what their names advertise them to be.
These tools can paraphrase the provided content using a number of pre-set techniques to make it look different while bearing the same meaning and context.
An upside of using online tools to paraphrase is that students can save a lot of time, as these tools give prompt responses and paraphrase the content within seconds.
However, the downside is that these tools aren’t very smart with the words they change.
They can sometimes change simple, irreplaceable words, making the output look clunky and unnatural.
3. Citations and using Quotations
Plagiarism is the act of taking content from a source without accrediting the source. This means that if the latter part is taken care of, it won’t be referred to as plagiarism.
In other words, once you credit the source, you’re free to borrow stuff.
In the case of accidental plagiarism, you can use this as a “delayed action” step. If you happen to find some plagiarism in your content, you can look for the source that it originally belongs to and provide the citation for it.
This would eliminate accidental plagiarism from your content.
Typically, if you are crediting the source, you are borrowing the content, it is encouraged that you change its wording. However, if you are to use a piece of text that is not to be changed, in this case, you should use quotation marks “ “.
This will let the reader know that you are using content from elsewhere and are not trying to pass it off as your own.
It is really important to detect and address plagiarism, as practicing it is considered unethical and is not acceptable, whether it’s done deliberately or accidentally. By learning how to detect plagiarism and how to eliminate it, you will be able to make your work unique.