How Do College Professors Check for Plagiarism, University Degree Advice, Higher Education Tips

How Do College Professors Check for Plagiarism

Architectural Higher Education Article

22 July 2019

How Do College Professors Check for Plagiarism

Whether you intend to plagiarize, would never plagiarize or are still a little foggy on what plagiarism is, it’s still a topic that is important to many students. Knowing how teachers check for plagiarism can be both an enlightening and a cautioning moment. When you turn your paper in, what happens to it? How do professors check for plagiarism? The answer is a bit more complicated but boils down to this:  In many creative and innovative ways.

How Do College Professors Check for Plagiarism

Online Plagiarism Checkers

It should come as no surprise that, like with many things, the internet has changed plagiarism checking, as well. Now, your teacher can hop online and find checkers that can tell how much was copied. There is a plagiarism checker online by PapersOwl that is particularly popular with educators. Best of all, this plagiarism checker is absolutely free to use. These are thorough tools and don’t miss anything.

Comparing Classmates’ Work

Now we’re back in the classroom, at least. Sure, you can expect that your teachers will likely use a computer to compare papers, but it will still be a more localized checking. If your instructor suspects that there has been plagiarism between students or that they have plagiarized from the same work, then they can compare the two papers. If there is a high percentage of similarities, then there has almost certainly been academic dishonesty.

Comparing Previous Work

Sometimes, there simply isn’t another student to compare a paper to. In order to learn whether or not you have plagiarized something, your past assignments can come back to haunt you. Writing ability suddenly becoming a lot stronger than before (particularly in students who had actual problems with writing) with little or no time to build actual skills can signal a cheater to your teacher. A quick check of your previous work might not be enough to be certain, but it can build a suspicion.

Looking For Similar Mistakes

Having something written correctly when everyone else in your class doesn’t really make something stick out as being plagiarized. After all, if it’s correct, everyone should have it, right? The same can’t be said for mistakes. Usually, mistakes are fairly individual, changing from person to person. Small issues, such as those in spelling or grammar, are some of the easiest to catch since most don’t notice this in themselves. But your professor might very well catch on, and notice a shared mistake between another student or a paper online.

Looking at Common Sources

There are some other places that your professor might search with to be sure you aren’t plagiarizing. Most teachers are smart enough to notice their students’ tricks when it comes to stealing information. If you’ve been assigned a paper, you can guarantee that your instructor has carefully examined every link on the first page of the topic’s Google search. Want to head to Wikipedia? They’ve probably been there, as well. Be careful:  Some wily professors have even been known to work false information into a Wikipedia article before a big paper!

Interrogation

Sometimes, plagiarism checkers just don’t get the job done. If you turn in work that doesn’t appear to be yours, particularly if it’s well above your general educational capabilities, you might find yourself being interrogated. Thankfully, waterboarding isn’t required here. Most of the time, you’ll just be asked questions pertinent to your paper or even the vocabulary used in it. If you can’t explain it adequately, that’s a sign that you didn’t write about it, either.

There are many ways that a professor might check the works turned in for plagiarism. Some of it is high-tech, including online checkers and combing the internet for common sources. Some is a bit more old-fashioned, such as comparing old and new assignments or flat-out interrogation. Either way, the result is the same:  Cheaters get caught.

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