One of the beauties of the Paper Rater service is that there’s nothing to sign up to or download – just fire up a web browser and visit the Paper Rater website. When the site appears, have a look round to see what’s on offer. Notice that there’s a Pricing button at the top of the page: all the features on the site are free, though a paid-for ‘premium’ service is set to launch. However, we’ll be focusing solely on the free tools. When you’re ready to start, click the Use Now FREE button to get going.
Open the document you want to check in the program that was used to created it, then highlight all the text, right-click on it and choose Copy from the pop-up menu. Switch back to the Paper Rater website, right-click in the large empty box and choose Paste from the pop-up menu. Add the title of the document, then fill in the rest of the form. (Note: US Grades are one year behind the UK education system’s Years designation, so Grade 7 US is equivalent to Year 8 in the UK). Ignore the Originality detection option for now (leaving it set to ‘Skip (Fastest)’), tick the box to agree to the terms and conditions and click Get Report.
Paper Rater now analyses the pasted text (a short story in our case), and displays the results. The annotated text appears in the main window with spelling mistakes highlighted in red, grammatical errors in green and so on. Scroll through the text and then click through the categories in the list on the right to get a summary of what Paper Rater thinks of the document; right-click on any of the highlighted words to see suggestions as to how best to correct the mistake.
One of the site’s most useful features is the ability to print out a hard copy of the document analysis so you can see all the comments and suggested corrections in one place. Click the ‘PRINT printable summary report’ button underneath the panel on the right and this screen appears. Depending on the browser, the controls for printing may be in a slightly different place – in Internet Explorer, they’re available directly from the toolbar as shown here.
Now we’re trying something different. We’ve used Google to search for ‘sample essay’ and found a site with an interesting example assignment on it. We’ve now copied and pasted that into Paper Rater, as per Step 2. In addition, we’ve copied the references used in this particular essay and pasted them into the appropriate box under the main text. Finally, this time we’ve chosen ‘Include (Slower)’ from the Originality detection dropdown menu because we want to see if the site picks up the fact that we’ve ‘borrowed’ the essay from elsewhere. Click Get Report to continue.
When Paper Rater has checked the document, the same results screen appears. This time though, there’s an extra option in the right-hand panel – Plagiarism Detection. Click on that and the site will let you know how original it thinks the document is. In this example, it’s not only flagged the document as ‘most likely plagiarised’ but it’s also found the actual web address that we stole it from – so homework cheats should watch out.