How Do Plagiarism Detectors Work?

August 26th, 2020

Reading time about 13 min


What is Plagiarism? 

Plagiarism is an act of stealing the language and thought of someone else without authorization and representing the idea as their own without crediting the original author. 

Nowadays, the extensive use of the internet has made the process of finding the content easy, and one can copy or paste the content with just one click using a plagiarism detector.

The rapid development of technology and increased computer literacy are the reasons for the extensive use of plagiarism in the field of education. One can easily download the material from the web sources and replace the name of the original author on their own. It has become essential to use a plagiarism checker. 

The plagiarism algorithm tools are readily available on the internet to find out the copied contents. These tools identify the prior sources and demand crediting the sources from where the words and ideas were taken. It is how the plagiarism detectors work to prevent theft of content. 

Types of Plagiarism

  • Paraphrasing: It is the instance of restating the language with the primary objective of preserving an original idea or thought. The sentences may look purely original, but that is not the work of their own. The plagiarism detector exposes the copied content. 
  • Verbatim or Direct Plagiarism: Copying an entire text of another writer, word to word, without mentioning any quotation marks, thus, presenting it as his or her own. These copied contents call for disciplinary actions as this is a severe infraction of ethics. 
  • Source-based Plagiarism: Such type of plagiarism occurs when a researcher cites incorrect references to mislead the professor. Even the secondary source of information is missing in the content. 
  • Auto or Self Plagiarism: This happens if the writer reuses significant portions of his writings without attribution. The severity depends on how it is varied from the original content. Plagiarism detector or the plagiarism software check the journals before considering them for review. 
  • Mosaic Plagiarism: Borrowing texts or phrases from sources without quotation marks or finds synonyms to replace the original words. They don’t even bother to remove the original structure. 
  • Accidental Plagiarism: Whether it is intentional or unintentional, there cannot be any excuses for producing fabricated writing services. It might happen because of mistakes and unintended paraphrasing. 
  • Incremental Plagiarism: It is almost similar to paraphrasing. If the writer slightly changes the content, then it finally presents duplicate content. 

How is Plagiarism Detected?

To avoid plagiarism, one must run the manuscripts one by one through plagiarism detection software. The procedure is effortless. First, it is mandatory to paste the work in the specific window and carry out the respective process one by one. 

The search engine compares the works with millions of web resources. Once the scanning gets completed, the user receives a complete plagiarism report. The software does not save a scanned research paper

It is to identify the authenticity of the author’s work. There is a free plagiarism checker for students available. The manuscript can be a dissertation, essay, or any paper, and the author receives a detailed plagiarism report for everything. 

Steps to identify plagiarism

Plagiarism detectors work by following specific steps. The users do not need to visit unknown web sources to find out the search results. The analysis of the content depends on different parameters, such as matching phrases, word choice, and lexical frequencies. 

  • Step I: It identifies the elements of the texts in the uploaded file. 
  • Step II: The plagiarism checking tools break the entire paper into logical sentences and phrases. The symbols and special characters are filtered to rewrite it into small parts.
  • Step III: It finds out if there is any similarity within the publication of the journal. 
  • Step IV: This step is required to compare the significant chunks of the text according to the plagiarism algorithm. 
  • Step V: In this step, the detectors resolve into its parts to detect similarities with any other existing text.
  • Step VI: In the last or final step, the plagiarism tool displays the percentage of copied content and produces a complete report to the user. 

Sentences or phrases shown in the results are the plagiarized or duplicate content. By clicking on the matching text button, you get redirected to the original webpage. 

When the entire procedure gets completed, the user receives an accurate percentage of plagiarism. The software shows the results highlighted in red and green colors. 

Green color refers to non-plagiarised text, and the red displays the already published works. So the writer has to make necessary modifications to make the work unique. 

The anti-plagiarism program provides the direct links of the webpages from where the content gets copied. If the entire text is new or non-plagiarised, the detector shows the congratulation message. 

What Percentage of Plagiarism is Allowed for the Acceptance of the Paper?

The editors do not always comply with the anti-plagiarism reports. In some instances, the report does not influence the editor’s decision on whether to accept the article or not. The percentage of plagiarism parameters matters the most. 

If a text similarity gets detected due to the usage of common terms and methods, mainly in the methodology part of a manuscript, the editor does not raise grave concerns.

Different publication houses take the advice of professional reviewers to set acceptable plagiarism percentage. 

Going by the convention, the similarity percentage is from 5% to 7%, considering quotations and cited references. In some cases, less than 15% of plagiarism is acceptable. 


Plagiarism is another kind of copyright infringement. With the advent of technologies and the internet, one effortlessly composes a paper. However, by violating the law, without giving proper reference to the source. 

So using a plagiarism detector is a very convenient method to check the manuscript. The checker can create a detailed report that identifies all sources of duplicate text. However, the writers must use the online plagiarism checkers, which help them in protecting high-quality content. 

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