Catching Plagiarism is Getting Even Harder

May 3, 2017
 

As reported in Inside Higher Ed, a recent study found that free online tools are helping students do so with entire paragraphs, and that the tools can fool plagiarism-detection software. 

To test how effective paraphrasing tools are, the authors -- Ann M. Rogerson and Grace McCarthy, two faculty members at the University of Wollongong in Australia -- ran a 153-word paragraph of an article they published in 2009 through two tools discovered through a Google search. They then ran all three samples through plagiarism-detection software developed by Turnitin.

The original text opens with, “The ease of access to information sources does not guarantee that students allocate time to review governance requirements.” Running it through first paraphrasing tool produced some “mainly intelligible” writing: “The straightforward entry to data sources does not ensure that understudies apportion time to audit administration necessities.” 

The second tool, however, churned out a garbled mess, adding contractions and random capitalizations: “Those simplicity about right with data wellsprings doesn’t surety that people dispense the long run should Audit governance necessities.”

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