Undergraduate at Montana State University uses plagiarism checker every semester to receive feedback on citations and to increase confidence in her papers that "everything is spot on"Featuring: Diann Quaranto, undergraduate at Montana State University pursuing a liberal arts degree
See why Diann takes the extra step to check her papers:
K: What’s your area of study and what’s the official name of the institution and for what degree?
D: It’s a bachelor’s degree, a liberal arts degree. Montana State University at Bozeman. I just finished the first year. When you do a lot of online study programs, there’s a lot of writing.
K: Do you use WriteCheck because you wanted to improve as a writer or to ensure that you aren’t plagiarizing or you have seen plagiarism at your school? What was it that drew you to WriteCheck?
D: Well, the thing that drew me in was the plagiarism issue, and the paraphrasing check. One professor I just finished up with this past spring was huge on (avoiding) plagiarism and there were a lot of people in the class whose work was on the verge of plagiarism. So, I used WriteCheck in order to insure myself. I didn’t want to put all this work into these papers and then somebody comes back and says, “that’s plagiarized.”
K: What would you say to people who don’t think plagiarism is an issue?
D: Yes, it is an issue. I see plagiarism as an issue because everything has advanced so much, there’s so much writing out there. I honestly think it is foolish not to use a service like this. If I can be confident that everything is spot on, that’s worth the money. I don’t like plagiarism because it’s very important that people’s ideas are documented to the people that came up with those ideas. You can accidentally plagiarize. So, my point is, why wouldn’t you do the smart thing and run your papers through and check it out. The $7 was worth the peace of mind to know that that paper was 100% in my words. And believe it or not, I ran it through the system and it came back with one small error–and it just on sentence structure. No plagiarism whatsoever. And I ended up with an A.
D: I think WriteCheck is an entirely useful service, and a good value. I thought it came back with excellent feedback. By the way, I got A’s on all those papers. I just wanted to be sure (that I hadn’t made any mistakes), so that’s why I used it. Now this semester coming up, it’ll be the first place I go when I finish them (papers) up.
“When I first started out in my Associate degree program, I had no idea what plagiarism was. There was a fine line between saying what was someone else’s work and wording that information into your own words. I just did not get it and I was told that I was plagiarizing a paper. I could not understand because I only used three or four words from where I had seen the information written before. I reworded the paper to what I understood, but by even using three or four words from someone else’s work is considered plagiarism. I had to learn the hard way and by learning the hard way, my class was given a zero. That right there woke me up and got me into reading and looking at programs to help me.
WriteCheck by Turnitin helped me to see where my mistakes where. It was like a light bulb came on and I had an epiphany, and I knew how to read a paragraph or statement and not use any of the author’s work or his words or their words, but use my own and have my own identity in my writing.
Now I really understand the value of somebody’s work. I understand when students say, ‘I’m crunched and I don’t have time and I have to cook and I have to pay bills and I’ve got to get off work and I’ve got to do a paper and they want to take shortcuts. We’ve all been there but it’s just not worth it in the end.
Everything I do comes through this website and the amount of money that I pay for a paper to be reviewed is priceless. It is worth every penny, especially when I come out and I am on the Deans List and Honor Society. I was not on the Honors Society until I started using this website and throughout my Bachelor’s program, I have remained on academic honors the complete time.
I trust it. I trust the whole system. Since the grammatical component has been added….let's just say that in my Masters program and probably into my PhD, I will be using WriteCheck.”
Avid writer, Karen Wall, who is currently working on her doctorate degree at Argosy University, spoke to us recently about her encounters with plagiarism during her academic career, and how she avoids any chance of accidental plagiarism in her writing. The WriteCheck online plagiarism checker has proved to be so effective and easy to use that when she begins her teaching career, she plans to encourage her students to use it for their papers.
Listen (2:34 minutes):
WriteCheck: Could you tell me your full name, the institution where you’re studying, and any degrees you have or degrees that you’re working on.
Karen: My name is Karen Wall and I am currently in my doctoral program with Argosy University at the Inland Empire campus. The name of my degree is called and EDDCP, which is an educational doctorate in counseling psychology. Last summer I got my Masters in counseling psychology and right now I’m a marriage and family therapy intern, working on my hours for my licensure. I have an Associate’s Degree in pre-med studies from New Mexico Military Institute; a Bachelors of Science in biology from Texas Tech; a Bachelors, PD teaching degree in secondary science education from University of Hawaii; a BS in nursing from York College of Pennsylvania; and then the latest one was the Master’s from Argosy that I just got.
WriteCheck: When you started using WriteCheck, why did you feel that that was important?
Karen: Well, I’ve been doing APA (citation) since I was in nursing school. I had never heard about WriteCheck until the doctoral program in my advanced professional writing for dissertations. So when we were learning how to turn our papers in through Turnitin, I came across WriteCheck on the Turnitin website. A lot of what I write, even my original ideas or things I say end up sounding alike or the same as things that have been said decades before. It’s just the way I write. But I don’t want to get in trouble. So we were sitting in class one day and I said, well, let me give this a try, because I’m not going to open myself up to anything.
So I tried it on my first paper and then I saw what it did for me and I was like, wow, this great. So then I told my classmates. All six of the people in my class ended up getting WriteCheck and it saved them tons of work and tons of worry on their papers. I was really glad I could share that with them.
I like how I can just put it in there and in less than a minute, it’s giving me feedback on not only like if my stuff matched and what percentage of a match it is, but it also did the grammatical stuff, which is pretty cool. I’m good grammatically, but you never know. Somebody could always check again for you.
And another thing was it was – I think it’s pretty validating for me as a writer, because like I said, I write a lot, I love to write. For me to see where my paper comes up and what I’m seeing that is similar to other papers, most of my matches are just common words that you can’t change. So that’s pretty validating for me that I’m actually writing things originally and putting my thoughts down appropriately without plagiarizing or anything else that’s unethical in writing, and any matching content just has to do with basic grammar. So that puts my mind at ease.
WriteCheck: Were there any additional unforeseen benefits that you saw from using WriteCheck besides the grammar checker or was that kind of the big one?
Karen: Well, I know what my paper’s going to do before the instructor gets it, so I’m steps ahead of them. So by the time I turn it in to them online and it’s running through Turnitin, I’ve already done the checking on it, so I’m safe.
WriteCheck: There’s been a lot of retractions in the field of scholarly publishing and in particular, recently there have been a few articles out about medical research. What would you say if you could give a piece of advice to someone looking to publish in the medical field about the authenticity of their work and the importance of work originality?
Karen: Well, there are two sites to that. I am all for preventing plagiarism and preserving authenticity, because if you’re going to write, you have to use your own thoughts. Not only is it unethical, but it’s just not nice to use someone else’s ideas. That’s basically stealing. And I would really be afraid to know somebody was in my field who is a fake, who doesn’t have their own ideas and has to get their work from other people, because I’ve had that happen before. People have taken my ideas. I’ve loaned papers out and had people take my ideas, so I don’t loan my papers out anymore.
But then on the other side, as someone who writes and writes well and plans to write a lot, in some ways, all these rules that came out, there’s some of the creativity has gotten lost now because people are actually afraid to write. They’re afraid to write something that they think is an original idea and then it turns out, woops, they think I plagiarized. In fact, I had a classmate who had written a research paper for her job, all with original ideas, but the school said she plagiarized and she lost her job over it. She said she hadn’t, because she hadn’t even seen the original document they were referring to.
So there’s two sides to that coin. There’s positive and there’s negative, but you’ve got to take them both, because like I said, for those people who write and put the work into it, you don’t want somebody else taking our ideas and getting away with it. But then for those who write like us, that are original and want to put good stuff out there, to have to worry about, well shoot, if this is my idea and I submit it to somebody and they think I’m plagiarizing, then that looks bad on me.
So I would say anybody who’s doing any kind of writing, especially professional research, peer reviewed writing, you have to access to something that can check it for you. That way, even if I do find out, WriteCheck brings it up your results and I can see if that’s actually valid for me to change or not. For example, my statement here matched this person’s 10 years ago, but what it was, was the name of an organization. So I’m not worried anymore. So, I think that [WriteCheck] takes a lot of the weight off anybody who’s writing. Even the professional world, if you’re not in school, something like this helps put your mind at ease that what you are writing is actually original, or what you are writing – you may have forgotten that it was something you heard somewhere. So I think it’s a good tool to take away some of that stress and to really give credit to the people that have done the work. So I would say anybody professional writing, use something like this.
Karen: And it’s easy to use.
WriteCheck: Well, that was my next question. Are you – now I know that you’re completing your doctorate now – would you plan on using WriteCheck at all in the future?
Karen: Oh, good lord, yes. I’m a permanent member.
WriteCheck: We are glad to hear that.
Karen: See, one of my plans with my doctorate is, especially since it is in education, I plan to teach at the University level and this is going to be one of those things, when I do a syllabus, it’s going to be on there that you’re going to be required to have WriteCheck. I’m going to require that, because I don’t want to see my students getting in trouble when somebody, who’s supposed to be mentoring them, knew about something that could make their life easier, I’m not going to have them getting in trouble for what they write. And I’ll tell them, it’s a tax write-off. It’s a business expense, go ahead, get it, it’s worth it. It’s worth doing that, spending a little to do this, than losing your license or losing your career over it. So, yeah, I plan to use it for a very long time. As long as you’re around.
WriteCheck: Well, it sounds like it’s been very helpful, so we're glad to hear that.
Podcast featuring:Denise Barnes
Undergrad student at Kilgore College, Texas
Working on a Psychology Degree
Listen to Denise’s story (1:39 minutes):
Read along with the video:
"My name is Denise Barnes. I am a freshman at Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas. I am working on my Psychology degree. I graduated high school in ’84. Other than getting my paramedic certification, this is my first time back in school. Of course, back then you typed everything. You had to find everything in the books and all that. And truthfully, as a high schooler, I didn’t understand plagiarism. I didn’t understand the importance of not plagiarizing.
On any paper that we write, we have to use Turnitin.com. Last semester when I was looking over the website, I found WriteCheck. I used it (WriteCheck) for one of my papers and ended up with a 97 on that paper. I have to credit a lot of it to WriteCheck because it caught some of my errors – forgetting to use notations, passive phrases and stuff like that I’m still learning to catch.
Even if it’s accidental on your part, your instructor or the institution might not realize or see that it’s actually accidental. It’s better just to be safe than sorry. It’s better to go ahead and check, make sure you’re not plagiarizing, than to just go with it and then get caught and have your whole college career go down the drain.
This semester, when we start writing again, I will get every paper checked. I will be taking English Lit and Psychology classes. So, on anything that I write, I will be using WriteCheck."
Podcast featuring:Jennifer S., Graduate Student at Stanford University with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s degree in Personality Psychology, and currently finishing up her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
Listen to Jennifer’s story (57 seconds):
“Trying to write in a very narrow focused area makes it easy to accidentally plagiarize. It (matched content) is defined as being seven words or more. The chances of getting seven words in the same order as someone else in over 150 pages is actually pretty substantial that you will do that at some point."
"It (WriteCheck) was useful as I wrote my dissertation to do a periodic check to make sure that there were no sections that I thought I re-worded, but I didn’t or that I accidentally plagiarized -- that can be an easy mistake to make. WriteCheck helped me have peace of mind that the work I was doing was definitely all my own.”
Podcast featuring:Jennifer Premer, who received a Bachelor's in Psychology at the University of Maryland and is working on a Master's in Social Work at Arizona State, discusses the value of checking her writing for plagiarism and grammar issues before turning in her research papers.
Listen to Jennifer's story (47 seconds):
"At one point I had to write a research paper that was based on something that I had little knowledge of. I took a lot of my information from various sources. WriteCheck really helped me to make sure that I had cited all of my sources correctly. Also, I did use the grammar feature. I had misspelled two or three words, which I hadn’t caught and Microsoft Word did not catch either. WriteCheck helped me go back and fix those mistakes before I turned my paper in.
WriteCheck gave me great, quick results. I really liked that I could see a percentage of how much matched content was being recognized in my paper. WriteCheck highlighted all the places where I made a mistake, making it easy to go back into my paper and make any corrections.
Going forward I definitely think I will continue to use WriteCheck throughout my academic career."
Sarah Allen, Master of Science in Environmental Management, University of San Francisco
"Completion of a Master’s project is required to graduate and my project was very large and I was using over 50 sources, most of which were academic journal articles. As I was editing my project and moving sections around, it’s really easy to get something lost or lose the source of a citation. Keeping all of that information straight and making sure it was all attributed to the proper article was really my biggest challenge."
"I had an organized system, but I really wanted to make sure that nothing had fallen through the cracks and that I had attributed all of my source material properly -- because it’s such an important academic document. It was really important to me to make sure that I had attributed everyone else’s ideas properly, as well as my own."
"WriteCheck was a huge help in verifying my citations and to make sure that I keep good academic honesty and also to make sure that my paper was as high quality as possible."
"The (WriteCheck) results were great. When I got the report back anything that I had quoted from somewhere else was highlighted. It was really easy to go through and make sure that everything was cited properly and that I hadn’t accidentally used common combinations of words that could be found elsewhere and that really everything was my own ideas or it was cited correctly."
"I would definitely use WriteCheck in the future to check my sources and make sure that I had all of my proper citations done.”
Stay tuned for more WriteCheck plagiarism prevention podcasts, or visit iTunes.