Chrome browser extension (Windows/MacOS/Chromebook)
Reduce plagiarism with selective copying
Display web pages for easy reading; use restrictive text selection while learning to select key words/phrases; and copy/paste selections into your favorite word processor where paraphrasing becomes ‘connect the dots’
When reading and paraphrasing reference text for an essay or report you face a potential plagiarism problem. Often, students and writers copy several sentences, with minimal reading and understanding, and paste it into a draft document to be re-worked later. (How many of us haven’t color highlighted multiple sentences and paragraphs in our textbooks while studying?)
In some cases, this copied text is to be quoted verbatim, but more often you will paraphrase it (hopefully, while still making reference to the source). As you attempt to paraphrase the text, you may say to yourself, “I can’t write it any better than how it was written in the first place.” So, you forget that you ever copied it, or just make minor word changes, and that’s plagiarism, even if you include a reference. It is not just the case of phrases and sentences, but also the total percentage of copied text within the entire essay or report text. Referencing alone does not excuse this practice.
ReaderQ helps reduce plagiarism, not by catching you after-the-fact, or by blocking you from copying any text, but by helping you select key words/short phrases that you can use as cues to paraphrase text in your own words. Now, ReaderQ won’t write for you, as you still must do some work, but its simple strategy, from word/phrase selection to paraphrasing, helps you get the job done faster and easier.
How does ReaderQ work?
- Go to a web page that you want as a reference.
- Click on the ReaderQ icon on the Chrome browser toolbar.
- A simplified reading view of the page is displayed where you can adjust the look to your pleasing.
- Read the text. If you have difficulty reading, click the button to toggle into a Read Aloud mode and click on sentences or drag across paragraphs to be spoken. Click the button again when done to start selecting text .
- Identify a section of text that you want to use. Read it carefully again. (There are no shortcuts to reading.)
- Begin selecting key words/phrases that will form cues to remember important thoughts. ReaderQ has two selection methods, chosen under the Options menu – select specific words/phrases or let ReaderQ select short phrases with a single click.
Now, ReaderQ starts applying rules to limit how much you can select.
- Allowable words/phrases are highlighted in green.
- If you try to select too many words together the unallowable words are highlighted in red.
- If you try to select too many words in a sentence, that sentence will be highlighted in gray.
- If you try to select too many words in a paragraph, that paragraph will be highlighted in gray.
- If you try to select too many words in a document, the entire document will be highlighted in gray.
- As you successfully select words/phrases they are copied into a list on the right-hand side. You can re-order these words/phrases at any time by dragging an item up or down. Clicking an item brings that word/phrase into view in the document. You can edit the title of the list at any time.
- When done, click the Copy button.
- Go to your favorite writing editor, such as Google Docs or WordQ for Chrome, and paste the ReaderQ cues. Note that it includes a reference to the source.
- Look at the list of cues. Now start connecting them together in writing using your own words and sentence structure (‘connect the dots’). You don’t have to use all the words/phrases, or use them exactly as written. You will find it is easier to paraphrase in your own words when you are not re-writing someone else’s sentences. A suggestion is to use speech dictation at this point to quickly get down your thoughts when the reference text is fresh in your mind and you have cues to help you remember the key ideas. You can always re-read the reference text, but try not to have it visible when writing in your own words.
- Remember, you must cite the source.
Reading and selecting from PDF and non-web documents
- ReaderQ does not automatically open PDF and non-web documents for selecting text and reading aloud. Instead, it allows you to paste in text that has been copied to the clipboard.
- Depending on how a PDF has been created, there may be line breaks at the end of each line, or unusual embedded PDF characters.
- Graphic PDF text cannot by copied and pasted.
- When clicking on ReaderQ if the web page is a PDF, you will be shown a blank page with the message “Paste your text here …”
- If you have not yet copied any text from the PDF, temporarily close ReaderQ , select and copy desired text, then choose ReaderQ again, and paste in your text. The next time, copy PDF text first.
- Use ReaderQ as described above.
- When using ReaderQ on any web page, you can also click the button to paste text copied from anywhere.