The ease with which students can glean information from a website has made students incredibly susceptible to plagiarism -- the theft of content or ideas that can result in a failing grade for the assignment, course, or, in some cases, even expulsion. A number of online resources exist that can help ensure that the words you’re submitting to your teacher truly are your own.
For a fee, WriteCheck will scan your paper’s grammar, style, usage, conventions and originality against a massive student paper database. This site is the student division of Turnitin.com, a plagiarism checker that many teachers require their students to use when submitting papers. As such, it will compare your paper to the same database content, which includes more than 24 billion webpages, 250 million student papers and 110 million magazines and scholarly publications.
A proofreading and grammar-checking website, Grammarly also provides extensive plagiarism checking assistance. Once you upload your paper onto the site, Grammarly will check your writing against a database of 8 billion documents but also suggest specific areas where you may need to include citations. The site offers a free 7-day trial as well as monthly, quarterly and annual plans starting at $11.66 per month at the time of publication.
If you’re looking for a free online plagiarism detector, then Plagiarism Check may work for you. The site accepts all standard file formats and works by comparing your paper to a database of Internet and literature sources. It provides users with a side-by-side report that highlights any similarities it finds between your paper and the content from original sources.
Dustball’s Plagiarism Checker, which bills itself as “the easiest to use plagiarism finding tool on the web,” provides free, simple plagiarism detection but also offers a subscription-based plan that will check your papers against a larger database. You can either cut and paste your work directly into a textbox or upload your entire Microsoft Word document to the site. The subscription plan, which includes 50 uses, costs $8 a month at the time of publication.
The type of plagiarism checker you will find the most useful depends on your needs, and on your budget. If you need help with grammar and conventions or have cited from journals or magazines, you may want to sign up for a paid service like WriteCheck that searches a broader database. If you've relied mostly upon Web pages as your sources, you may find that a basic -- and free -- plagiarism detector, such as Dustball's, is all you need. Paid services will generally provide more options than the free ones.
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