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Plan 6 – Choosing detection software

Published on 03/05/2007

Plagiarism detection software does not replace the trained eye of a marker or grader who is able to detect differences of style in a text. In student works, a style that is too professional or academic or a topic that is too “trendy” are good indicators of the possibility of plagiarism.

It does, however, seem necessary to acquire a software program to check student works, even though these programs have their flaws. The programs do not have access to commercial databases, to databases of prior student works compiled within the institutions themselves by clever students, or to the work of a ghostwriter.

However, the programs serve as a preventive measure that averts large-scale plagiarism.

Suggestions

• Place it at the heart of the action plan: The choice of software is an educational choice and it should not be delegated to the institution’s IT department.

Compare software programs : Use precise specifications to choose the most appropriate detection software. The needs vary widely among disciplines.

• Reevaluate its use regularly: There are only a few programs on the market, but their number is growing steadily. The choice of software must therefore be reexamined regularly.