Verdict: In tests, it only detected plagiarism in two out of six sample documents. The automated nature of this website means it doesn’t function well as a grammar checker either.
|What are the subscription options? e.g. free, paid only, paid and free. If paid options, what length of subscription/price structure is offered?||Online checker is available on a trial basis which will allow the user unlimited scans but with limited functionality. Monthly subscriptions costs $29.95; quarterly subscriptions costs $59.95 and an annual subscription costs $139.95.|
|Maximum word count? (if any)||Unlimited/ not stated.|
|Resubmissions allowed? If so, is this limited?||Unlimited checks.|
|Type of scanner E.g. software download, copy and paste, upload document online. Say if multiple options are offered.||Two options offered: “Copy and paste’ online scanner; File uploader.|
|Sources checked E.g. internet, any specific journal databases mentioned, any electronic book databases such as Google docs mentioned, past submissions from other students etc||Website – no words altered; Website – some words removed; Website – some words changed; Website – fully paraphrased;|
|File types supported E.g. doc, docx, rtf, open office, pdfs, ppts||Several file types including .DOC, .DOCX, .RFT and TXT.|
|Extra features? E.g. grammar checker, spelling checker||The site features an extensive spelling and grammar checker.|
|Support offered? E.g. phone, email etc||There is an FAQ page and a “contact us” link.|
|Report / results|
|Type of report Downloadable? Shareable?||Reports are generated within the website’s browser but these can’t be downloaded or shared.|
|Side by side comparison to plagiarism?||No.|
|Accuracy of results – Which sections were detected and which were not (make sure the correct source is identified)|
|Basic plagiarism – copied and pasted from a website source||Detected. The online scanner correctly identified the webpage which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|Basic plagiarism – copied and pasted from an online pdf||Not detected. The online scanner did not identify the online pdf which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|Some words removed – copied and pasted from a website source||Not detected. The online scanner did not identify the website which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|Some words changed – copied and pasted from a website source||Detected. The online scanner correctly identified the webpage which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|Full paraphrasing – copied and pasted from a website source||Not detected. The online scanner did not identify the website which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|Basic plagiarism – copied and pasted from an electronic book||Not detected. The online scanner did not identify the electronic book which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|General observations Ease of use, overall experience. If other features were included (e.g. spelling, grammar check), how easy were they to use and how useful were they?|
|Grammarly‘s website is professional and has a clean looking feel about it. It’s thoroughly sensible and easy to use. Hardly any of it works without signing up to the free trial, but once subscribed all its features are unlocked. Trial users should be aware though that, if the trial is not cancelled within one week, they will be billed for its use. The main function of Grammarly is to proof-read work for spelling and grammatical errors. It does this by using algorithms, or computer code, and is therefore not fool proof. Whilst checking for errors the scanner also attempts to detect plagiarism too. Work can be copied and pasted directly into the web browser or individual files can be uploaded one at a time. The scanning process is fairly quick although the results are mixed. As software applications such as Microsoft Word have contained spelling and grammar checkers for years, users of this website would be looking for something more. Indeed, the scanner does provide extensive suggestions but this is somewhat over-whelming. A confident user of the English language would spend their time trying to find fault with the scanner, whereas a novice user would spend their time getting confused by it.When the scanner detects what it thinks may be an error, rather than make specific suggestions, it will give general examples unrelated to the text. For example, when picking up on an error with comma splicing, rather than suggesting how to fix the error, it instead provided a guide on how to punctuate using this method – helpful, but not as helpful as existing applications such as Microsoft Word. Additionally, a summary is provided following each session online and during the most recent tests it suggested I was using too many passive sentences. However, it is typical for essays to be written in the passive voice so this is another example where the application can be confusing.|
Whilst checking for spelling and grammatical errors, the scanner also checks for plagiarism but, in this regard, the scanner again fails to function with complete accuracy, or indeed very much accuracy. In tests, it only detected plagiarism in two out of six sample documents, where text had been completely lifted from the internet and where some words had been changed. It did not detect the plagiarism of a pdf or an electronic book, nor did it spot paraphrased work, or work where some of the words had been omitted.
The automated nature of this website means it doesn’t function well as a grammar checker – its plagiarism scanner isn’t very good either and, accordingly, is not worth its expensive subscription fees.