Plagiarism checkers – do they help students cheat?

An ongoing debate in the academic world is whether plagiarism checkers like help students cheat, or whether they help students avoid genuine accidental plagiarism.  What do you think? Have you ever used a plagiarism checker to help you cheat? Take part in our poll below (you’ll be able to see what other students said as soon as you place your vote).  It’s anonymous! Wondering what your friends would answer? You can share the poll using the Facebook, Twitter etc buttons underneath.

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Copying off the internet

The two sides of the debate:

Plagiarism checkers help students cheat – because students can copy and paste from the Internet, change the words around and then make sure that this wouldn’t be detected if their learning institution uses a plagiarism scanner like People on this side of the argument tend to view students as trying to cheat the system and get away with doing as little work as possible, taking short cuts to better grades and wanting to be dishonest.

Plagiarism checkers help students avoid accidental plagiarism – because students sometimes get other peoples’ words and material mixed up with their own, or accidentally forget or fail to reference properly, and a scan through a plagiarism checker like helps them identify and correct these mistakes before they hand their work in. People on this side of the argument tend to view students as honest and hard working, trying to earn their grades for themselves and using tools like to ensure that their work is original, genuine and deserving of the grades that they receive.


So just over a week ago we ran a poll asking you if you’d ever used a plagiarism checker to help you cheat.  What do you think the results were?

Read on and find out (it’s not too late to vote)!

Just 30% of you said YES, indeed, you had used a plagiarism checker for this purpose.  The majority by a long way said NO, you had never used software like this to help you cheat.  This really supports the view that plagiarism checkers are there to help honest students avoid accidental plagiarism and not to help them evade university scanners.

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