Plagiarism is a vice that has plagued the writing industry forever. To discourage people from indulging in plagiarism, institutes, and organizations that deal with literature have imposed strict rules and punishments.
Online Advanced Techniques for Plagiarism Detection and Prevention
For example, institutes reserve the right to disqualify a student/staff if their research papers have considerable plagiarism. Similarly, they can expel them, as well as give public notice of their offense. Such outcomes can hamper a writer’s future career.
But punishments are no good if the crime cannot be caught. Thankfully, modern technology lets us reliably detect plagiarism. Online tools and techniques have evolved a lot and with them, it is effortless to detect plagiarism.
In this article, we will check out how these modern tools detect plagiarism and what is the ethical way to avoid plagiarizing others.
How Plagiarism Checkers Detect Issues
Online plagiarism checkers utilize a variety of techniques to accurately detect plagiarism. Given below are three of them. All plagiarism checkers use either one or more of these techniques.
Web scraping refers to checking massive swathes of content from tons of web pages. Most modern plagiarism checkers use web scraping to check any given content. A typical plagiarism checker may compare any given text to billions of online pages to find matching content.
The most primitive tools can only check for source-based and verbatim plagiarism. The more sophisticated ones can check for paraphrased plagiarism or mosaic plagiarism too. Web scraping is a relatively new method for plagiarism checking because, in the old days, tools maintained a database of content and could only check new content against it.
But now modern tools use a combination of the two methods. Anyways, web scraping is an amazing new technique for plagiarism checking because it is more accurate. The more content that you can compare against, naturally, the more accurate the results will be.
Fingerprinting is a great technique for finding plagiarism. It works on the assumption that all writers have their unique writing style. This writing style is exhibited through the following things:
Choice of words
The most advanced plagiarism checkers can use fingerprinting techniques to determine if a writer’s work matches that of another. This is done via machine learning. It must be noted that this is a highly advanced technique and that most plagiarism checkers do not apply it.
Anyway, by using this technique in tandem with web scraping, a plagiarism checker can accurately detect matching content between two different works. The idea is that if the fingerprint of the given text matches that of another source, and they are discussing similar topics, then plagiarism is occurring.
Citation analysis is a technique in which a given work is checked for the accuracy of its citations. Problems in citations can result in plagiarism. That is why it is important to check for the validity of citations.
Some problems that can occur with citations are:
Incorrect information cited.
Citation provides the wrong information about the source i.e.
Wrong publication name
The citation is irrelevant to the information provided.
These issues are counted towards plagiarism. Now, bear in mind, this is a highly advanced technique that is usually applied manually. But some tools can do it too. The reliability of such tools is another topic, so we will not discuss that here. The point is that issues with citations can be hard to spot, and they may be hiding some clever plagiarism. People sometimes randomly put citations on plagiarized content in an effort to make it seem legitimate.
How To Avoid/Prevent Plagiarism?
Now, we will check out some methods to avoid or prevent plagiarism. Some of these techniques may be common knowledge, but they are all pretty advanced. So, let us see what they are and how you can apply them.
Keep Track of Sources
Keeping track of sources is a fundamental requirement for avoiding plagiarism. When you do not track your source correctly, you run into problems later on. Most of the issues with incorrect citations are due to poor management of sources.
So, how can you keep track of your sources and what does it entail?
Knowing which information came from which article/journal/book.
Knowing the full information of the cited publication such as
All author names.
The page numbers of the content that you referenced.
And the date when you accessed the webpage (if it is an online source)
Using the correct citation style as required by your institution or publishing body.
Now, that is a lot of information to remember. And you can be sure that most people will not remember it. So, what you have to do is to keep notes of all your sources. When you are conducting research for writing, write down all points of interest and leave a hint for you to remember where you got that information. Having a shorthand for this kind of note-keeping will help you a lot. And in the end, your work will have very few issues (if any) with respect to citations.
Paraphrase Instead of Quoting
Excessive quoting can blur the line between plagiarism and fair use. Basically, when you quote others a lot, it calls into question your credibility. A writer should be able to use other people’s work to supplement their own. That requires them to transform the used work sufficiently. This shows that the writer understands the source well enough to portray it in different ways without deforming its message.
You must have realized by now that we are referring to paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is great because it has the following benefits.
You can remove the signature of the original author and mold their content according to yours.
You have creative control over how you want to describe the information that the original author presented.
You avoid the excessive quoting problem.
Therefore, plagiarism-detecting tools have fewer issues with your content. Since they cannot find verbatim plagiarism or even a similar signature, they will not flag your content as plagiarized. That does not mean that you should not cite your sources, because that would result in plagiarism anyway.
Properly Credit Content from Other Sources
Any information you use from a work that was previously published (even your own) should be cited and credited. Giving credit where credit is due is an essential part of a writer’s integrity.
That integrity should never be called into question because that is bad for a writer’s reputation. But as you know, not crediting your sources is a great way to damage your reputation. Since catching plagiarism is so easy, committing plagiarism has become extremely risky.
So, do not make newcomer mistakes that can get you in trouble. If you have meticulously kept track of your sources, then this should be a cakewalk. Just put down reminders in your text at each place where you need to cite a source. Then when all is said and done, you can come back and put your citations down. Most text processors have built-in support for adding citations to the text. So, use that to your advantage as well.
Plagiarism detection has come a long way. You can use various online tools to check for plagiarism. These tools use a variety of techniques such as web scraping and signature matching to find plagiarized content.
We also saw how to avoid and prevent plagiarism from occurring in your work. So, work hard in applying these tools and techniques to maintain your reputation and integrity.