Plagiarism means copying the works of other writers/authors. There can be various reasons for students resorting to copying and these suggest three main motives. First of all, the ambition and stress of competition provoke students to copy. Secondly, students who are engaged in extracurricular activities do not have time for studies and during examinations, they have to resort to copying. Finally, students who are not good at studies, copy in order to pass their examinations (Lorenz, 2014).
Earlier, teachers faced a lot of difficulties in identifying plagiarism instances but over the years, several plagiarism detection tools have been developed that have the capability to identify plagiarized content. The following list (not exhaustive) depicts some of the plagiarism tools available online:
Essay Verification Engine (EVE2)
EVE2 searches the internet to identify plagiarism instances. It is free to use for the initial 15 days and thereafter, the user has to pay the prescribed fee. It has been designed to identify instances of ‘cut and paste’. Drawbacks of this tool include the need to convert files into ‘text’ format. The user has to install the application on the workstation.
This tool searches the database of student papers that have been posted online and also the academic websites. It is a paid website.
This tool also searches students’ databases/internet and targets schools and colleges. It is free to use the website. The main drawback is that only 1000 characters can be checked at a time.
Google plagiarism detecting tool is free to use but since it checks ‘word-for-word’ plagiarism instances, the speed is very slow. It gives several matching contents but the source is not provided necessarily.
There are various other tools such as Plagiserve.com, EduTie.com, Glatt Plagiarism Screening Program (GPSP), CopyCatch Gold, WordCheck Keyword, Scriptum, iThenticate.com, and Safe Assignment. For the sake of this assignment, Turnitin.com is discussed below:
Turnitin is a paid site that searches its database as well as other sources such as bibliographic databases and the internet. The website is a creation of iParadigms, LLC. Turnitin serves a dual purpose for universities and students: It identifies plagiarized instances and at the same time suggests ways to avoid plagiarism (Turnitin, 2014). In addition to the advantage of effective plagiarism detection, there are some other pros and cons of using Turnitin – and other plagiarism tools – in schools, colleges, and universities.
Advantages of Turnitin (and some other plagiarism detecting tools)
Turnitin targets schools and colleges and the procedure of using it is very simple. It is an automated searching tool and is more dependable. Users are allowed to make multiple submissions and reports can be viewed within 24 to 48 hours. It has the capability to detect content where any ‘content spinning’ tool has been used. This helps the teachers to see the real picture. Nursing, likewise other subjects, needs original work for research. Plagiarism detection tools help the teachers and students to produce original content.
Disadvantages of Turnitin (and other plagiarism detecting tools)
The website is a paid one and as such, the usability is limited. Students are more concerned about getting caught for copying instead of maintaining academic integrity (Haskvitz, 2005). Spinning tools use synonyms to change the look of the sentences while keeping the meaning identical. But since nursing involves various technical terms, using synonyms changes the meaning completely. Even though this problem is related to content spinning, it indirectly relates to plagiarism because students resort to spinning in order to pass the plagiarism test. Nursing assignments include a lot of tables and graphs. Plagiarism detection tools are unable to identify identical contents of such tables and graphs (Effectiveness of anti-plagiarism software, 2008). Nursing involves discussion boards but these are not searched by plagiarism detection tools.
Effectiveness of anti-plagiarism software. (2008). Web.
Haskvitz, A. (2005). Why students cheat. Web.
Lorenz, J. M. (2014). Cheating & plagiarism in nursing. Web.
Turnitin. (2014). Turnitin. Web.