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How to Check for Plagiarism

Knowing how to check an essay for plagiarism is crucial for the college student. Even if a student believes that he or she has cited, paraphrased, quoted, and referenced properly, problems can occur. If too many mistakes are made in any or all of these areas, text in a paper may be technically plagiarized.

Cite Properly

Citing properly entails checking your educational institution’s writing style guidelines (APA, ML, etc.) for citation writing instructions. Follow these rules closely. Every time another’s idea is used in the essay, a citation is needed.

Paraphrase Correctly

Paraphrasing can be time-consuming, but a student must put information or ideas found from any source into his or her own words and cite the source. Copying the words verbatim is plagiarism. This exercise also helps students understand the material that they are including in their essay. Checking an essay to ensure that ideas are paraphrased and cited correctly are crucial aspects in knowing how to check an essay for plagiarism.

Insert Quotes -- And Don't Over-Quote

Quoting is another area of concern. When using the exact words of another author, three or more words, quotation marks must be included around those words. Again, a citation is needed after a direct quote. Another issue in knowing how to check a paper for plagiarism is not using too many quotes. Each educational institution or instructor should share how much quoted information is acceptable.

Reference Accurately

References are essential defenses against plagiarism. Each citation used in an essay must be supported by a reference. As with citations, references and the reference page require a specific format. A student needs to check that each citation used in his or her essay has a reference on the reference page.

Use a Plagiarism Checker

Another way to check an essay for plagiarism and to confirm that all of the essential areas have been completed properly is to use plagiarism checker software. WriteCheck plagiarism checker is available online and convenient to use, and includes a grammar check. Or using Turnitin through a school or university is equally effective. With both options, after submitting a paper, the student receives a report that includes a similarity index percentage. The index shows three types of sources: internet, publications, and student papers. Each area that shows similarity is highlighted to show with what type of source the similarity exists. Many students find that running their papers through plagiarism checker software provides  peace of mind that they haven't made any inadvertent writing mistakes.

Knowing how to check an essay for plagiarism is vital for the college student. Checking the key areas of citing, paraphrasing, quoting, and referencing can help to safeguard against plagiarism. Using plagiarism checker software can also ensure that the essay includes original material and is free of plagiarism.

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