Verdict: Despite the user-friendly feel of the website, it perhaps tries to do too much and, in doing so, doesn’t succeed in doing anything with complete accuracy.
|What are the subscription options? e.g. free, paid only, paid and free. If paid options, what length of subscription/price structure is offered?||Free online checker.|
|Maximum word count? (if any)||Online checker will only search the first 5,000 characters of each submission.|
|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; Online pdf; Electronic book.|
|File types supported E.g. doc, docx, rtf, open office, pdfs, ppts||None – the user can only cut and paste text into the online scanner.|
|Extra features? E.g. grammar checker, spelling checker||Plagiarism Detection; Auto Grader; Spelling and Grammar Check; Style and Word Choice Analysis; Readability Statistics;|
Vocabulary Builder tool.
|Support offered? E.g. phone, email etc||There is an FAQ section and a “contact” link which provides an email address.|
|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||Not detected. The online scanner did not identify the website 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?|
|PaperRater.com has the look and feel of a website that’s going to draw you in then ask for a subscription. Surprisingly, however, it doesn’t – although it reveals in the FAQs that it is a start-up enterprise, so charging may feature one day. It does, oddly, have a link called “Pricing’ which, when you click on it, reveals a $0 charge for each scan. It’s possible the website designers opted for a template but and just didn’t change the headings…The website offers a lot as well as online plagiarism scanning. In addition to copying and pasting text into a browser, the website requires a title, the level of education of the submission’s author, the type of submission being uploaded and an “originality detection’ option (which is unexplained).Whether you like it or not, the scanner not only attempts to detect plagiarism, it also checks spelling, grammar, word-choice, style and provides an estimated grade – however, it doesn’t do any of these things very well. The plagiarism scanner only detected plagiarism in one out of the six test documents, failing to detect a plagiarised pdf, website content where words had been removed, website content where words had been changed, paraphrased content and blanket plagiarism from an ebook source.In other areas, the scanner fared slightly better, highlighting spelling mistakes and making recommendations on various aspects of grammar, although this is only as useful as the tools which have been around in applications like Microsoft Word for years. Additional features, such as handy “tips’, are not so much tips but general and fairly obvious advice, for example, developing a broad vocabulary if you’re a writer is generally considered a good idea…|
Like any automated scanner, it’s only as reliable as the algorithms on which it is based. Despite the user-friendly feel of the website, it perhaps tries to do too much and, in doing so, doesn’t succeed in doing anything with complete accuracy. Should the developers of the website wish to charge for a subscription to it in the future, they must iron out the flaws in its plagiarism detection facility because, in its current form, it doesn’t do a very good job of detecting plagiarism.