How to use plagiarism checker properly

The objectives of any plagiarism checker include to find the similarities in the text and ensure that document is original. It further implies that no part of the document is copied from other writer’s work. This becomes critical in academic assignments, where it is very convenient to copy the work of other writers from online sources and present it as their own work. Plagiarism checkers have evolved as a result and most of the academic institutes and many business organizations use plagiarism checker as a pre-requisite to find out if the submitted work is original. Plagiarism checker is a nice way for checking the originality a document, however the results of each plagiarism checker should be read and understood in order to address the shortcomings in the document.

While checking a document for plagiarism one should exclude the bibliography from the document. This is because bibliography contain a specific format and plagiarism checker would include it in the similarity result if someone else has cited the same article or source in the same style. Bibliography is not considered plagiarism as it does not include toward the content of the document, so it should be excluded while checking a document for plagiarism.

Title page should also be excluded from the document before submitting it for plagiarism check. Title page can contain the topic, which are similar in nature with other studies and research work. It also contains the names of the authors and institute name, which could be included in the similarity results. Again title page is not subject to plagiarism because title, author name(s) and institute name(s) can be similar used by other authors.

Use of correct citation is critical. Plagiarism checker identifies the correctly cited text and shows it in green color. If the cited text is not in green color, it means the citing style is not correct and need to be checked to correct it. Improper citation detected by plagiarism checker results in purple highlighted color.

User should check the document on plagiarism checker after completing about half the document. This will enable the user to avoid the mistakes identified by the checker for rest of the document, which would save lot of time required for revision if document is checked only after completing the document. Moreover, user must check the document three days before submitting it. This would allow the user enough time to make changes if plagiarism is detected by the checker. User should also check the final document five minutes before submitting it to be sure of 100% plagiarism free text. If correctly used, the plagiarism checker can help in creating original work and provides a great way to present the report as a proof that the text is original and is not copied from other sources until and unless it is required and quoted in the text with proper citation.

Following are major objectives to use a plagiarism checker:

  • Find out the similarities of the text from other sources
  • Find out the copied work of other authors
  • It can be used as a proof that the work is original and is not copied
  • Some advanced level plagiarism checkers also provide the accuracy of grammar and paragraphing of the written text to improve the document

The plagiarism checker allows a user to upload a document on the site and evaluate the text from a massive set of databases that contain trillions of resources from around the globe including websites, books and articles. The plagiarism checker evaluates each part of the text to check for similarities, paraphrasing, cited text and provides the results based on this evaluation. Following are the results of the plagiarism checker software, which can be used to correct the document using the guidelines.

  1. Similarity report
    Similarity report provides a percentage on how much the uploaded text or document is similar to other documents found in the databases. The report allows the user to evaluate the highlighted text and if required change it to address the issues highlighted by the plagiarism checker.
  2. Paraphrase
    Paraphrasing score indicates how much text is paraphrased using other’s work. A high score means that more text is written by paraphrasing other writer’s work and need to be re-written. The text in the report is marked in orange color. Paraphrased text identified by the checker should be either properly cited or written again in order to rectify the error.
  3. Improper Citation
    If the color of the quoted text is purple, it indicates that either the citation is wrong or it has been plagiarized. Green color of the quoted text indicates the correct citing of the quoted text and does not necessarily need a revision.

User must take extreme care and should not publish his/her document on any online platform. This would be detected by the checker and the document would appear as plagiarized material. Also, user must not share the document with any friend. The only person who should have access to the document is your supervisor or teacher, otherwise someone can publish it online and probability of it to appear as plagiarized material would increase.

The output of the plagiarism checker also comes with the links to the sources from where the matching text is found (Fig. 2), which can provide the user the detail of the original source. This is to ensure that user knows the source and if required can modify his or her document for correctness.

How much Plagiarism is Allowed

Different sources have different point of view on how much plagiarism is allowed. If asked, most people would reply zero plagiarism as an answer to this question, but educational institutes somehow allow students to have plagiarism that can go up to 25% for Ph.D. and master degree thesis. This however should not be the case. The objective of writing should not be to beat the checker. If the quality of the paper is really good and original, it would itself take care of the plagiarism checker. Paraphrasing and similarity matches should not increase more than 5% in a normal size document. In a large document, say 100 pages, similarity results should be below 2% and anything above this number should be checked and corrected.

Plagiarism checker is a great tool that helps in identifying the common mistakes and saves the user from the embarrassment of facing the situation where his or her plagiarism work is identified as someone else’s work. Using the plagiarism checker correctly helps the user in identifying the key issues like similarity, paraphrasing, improper citation and matching. If used appropriately it ensures that the document is original and does not violate any copyright laws. The report generated by the plagiarism checker presents a great opportunity to show that there is no copied material in the document.