You May Be The Best Con-artist, But You Will Still Find Plagiarism Software tough to crack?
Some students are always in a hurry to meet their assessment report deadline and usually end up buying some misconceptions about the plagiarism software in use. This becomes the order of the day, but they end up getting caught soon for replicating their reports for quick submission.
For a student, copying someone else’s work is not an ethical practise to do as per the University code of academic conduct. When an author creates a piece of art or content, we expect it to be genuine in nature, so that the credit can be given to the creator of the piece. A student with a good conscience would use relevant resources to enhance his/her solution. However, students are mandated to disclose their references using the apt referencing style. Plagiarism software like Turnitin and Copyscape is used to detect plagiarism in a written piece of content.
iParadigms is a solution provider aiding to prevent plagiarism. The organization is headed from Oakland, CA. The company launches product to provide web-based solutions. Turnitin is the product brought in to check plagiarism. The usage includes checking the papers for originality and reviewing the web-based content. The solutions provided by the product aid in detecting plagiarized text from various resources.
Now let me reveal to you, the 4 myths that students easily buy in order to cheat Turnitin. Unfortunately, none has so far been successful in this objective. But it is important to understand, that even though one successfully tricks a plagiarism software, he cannot trick his conscience to believe what he did is correct.
Here are 4 popular myths related to usage of Turnitin – a plagiarism software.
Myth: A large population tries to use this trick. Some alphabets of the content are replaced. A foreign language is chosen to substitute those alphabets. These alphabets look alike, but for the software they are characters from different languages. So when a professor takes a print out or evaluates the solution online he is still able to interpret it. In this way, many students think they can mislead the Turitin software.
Reality: What Turnitin does is it scans the entire content of the text along with the language it is written in. It then substitutes appropriate letters with Standard English characters to prepare another copy of the solution. Using the substituted copy a comparison is made with other available resources. Hence the plagiarized text gets detected.
2. Using Macros
Myth: The users believe using Word Macros will hide the copied contents.
Reality: The software strips the macros. The appropriate text is replaced in the respective places to create a fresh copy of the solution. Then this new file content is checked to locate the plagiarized text.
3. Replacing spaces
Myth: The students believe substituting the spaces in the original text by invisible characters will work. In this way, even the report printout would appear normal, but the Word document will have long words which the software has never seen. Hence, it is expected to ignore these phrases.
Reality: Turnitin software does not accept such contents at all. The reason that Turnitin has access to the whole MS word document, empowers it to create functions which tackle these loopholes. Alphabets, not visible are not processed by Turnitin.
Myth: The users think inserting quotation marks would hide the copied contents.
Reality: The software eliminates the special characters before making the comparison to other resources. The software’s resources catalogue the stored contents which can be verified with the user contents. These sites accept the user contents in the form of a file or snippets. The students are however allowed to include direct quotes, but only when they are referenced properly along with the original source.
Let’s move on to understanding the basic process of plagiarism detection with the help of Turnitin software and learn how it works.
Step1. The user has to upload the contents of his/her file in the software. This format is usually a Microsoft Word file.
Step2. The software then checks the content against valid available resources present online. This is done using pattern recognition of the words (or “strings” in programming language) against the bank of content accessible to Turnitin. Turnitin not only has access to all content shared in the public domain over the internet, but also extends it to industry databases, university databases, reports, books and libraries from across the world. They also have access to any other piece of content submitted to Turnitin in the past for plagiarism check.
Step3. At times a student paraphrases the content from another source, but it still uses many words the same way it was used in the original source. This usually happens due to technical jargons and terms which are difficult to avoid in order to express the same idea. When a text goes through the Turnitin’s plagiarism check, it is checked together with all the words which are in the same sentence of paragraph. This set of words is then compared against all other paragraphs and sentences across their database.
Step4: In case there are any similarity between the original source and the student’s copy of the solution, it would highlight it in the plagiarism report. These highlighted sections can be anywhere between a phrase to the whole solution. The outcome is displayed to the user as a full report, where the plagiarised text has been highlighted. The student can click on each plagiarised section to find the related source pointed out by Turnitin.
A student gets one more chance to resubmit her solution in Turnitin. The student has to rewrite or at least delete all the sections highlighted for plagiarism in the Turnitin report.
Real world applications of Plagiarism checking software like Turnitin
Turnitin processes a huge amount of content from different sources like-
- Social networking and content sharing
User-generated content is focused on this domain. Many social networking sites are catalogued. Facebook, MySpace, Scribd and Slideshare are some of the sites using the similar content. The users of this site feed their data. Sites prompting answers to the users also fall into this category. Yahoo answers which content user views is categorized into this class. The plagiarism results are used by social networking platforms to nurture the process of creation of original content.
- Homework and academic content
This group consists of academic, educational and homework related contents. The sites under this category aid by educating the students. Knowledge distribution is focus of this group. Medlibrary.org and nih.gov are some of the examples hosting the similar contents. The sites are developed to prepare the students to test their ability. These websites also help students with their homework assignments.
- News and content publishing portals
The sites are into a traditional publisher model. The contents focusing the happenings are lined in writings. The New York Times, The Huffington Post is some of the sites portraying the similar contents.
The e-content of the sites contain the complete readings of the domain area. The writing is done using the valid information available from different resources. A review is done analysing the valid contents before writing the same on the sites. Brittanica.com and Encyclopedia.com are some of the sites phrasing similar contents. You can find more about how to use an encyclopedia for citing references from Wikihow website. This will enable you to make references effectively in your report.
One of my friends had a rather good experience while preparing an information technology report. He consulted a tutor in order to have the best guidance for this paper. It also helped him earn a better grade. What he was instructed to do was to go through relevant sites and journals for his report. He first collected this data, analysed it and then produced it beautifully in his own words with proper referencing in the essay report. His tutor did help him with a bit of paraphrasing at places and in using the referencing style in an appropriate manner.
By now you would have understood, that the coolest way to do an essay report, is to start early on with your assessment rather than waiting for the deadline. Like my friend, keep collecting data whenever you find time. Then analyse all the collected data to make a proper solution for submission. Create a genuine piece of work with good quality references from the web and by using reference tools to reference them in your report. All these points should enable you to clear the plagiarism check in one go, and by avoiding any last minute crisis situation due to plagiarism.
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Value add Read: How to produce an effective report