In the dynamic and highly demanding world of academia, students are often confronted with the challenge of presenting information in a way that is both original and reflective of their understanding. This is where paraphrasers come into play—a technological boon for learners at all levels. Paraphrasers are software tools designed to assist with the restructuring of sentences, paragraphs, and even entire essays, ensuring that the core message is preserved while the expression changes.
Our team at AcademicHelp decided to put the most popular rewriting services to the test to see if they’re really worth it. As always, we conducted several mystery shopping experiments and evaluated different platforms based on a specifically curated set of criteria. Here, you can see the breakdown of each point during our assessment of paraphrasers.
Three Main Criteria of the A*Help Score
The A*Help score overall has lots of evaluation points that can be grouped into three main categories: Value for Money, Overall Experience, and, most importantly, Quality of Help.
Each of the categories was assigned a certain amount of points: 25 for Value for Money, 20 for Overall Experience, and 55 for the Quality of Paraphrasers. The smaller aspects of each criterion are explained below. Moreover, we decided to check three different types of texts to see how well the paraphrasers in question could handle certain specifics.
|🙏 Essay about the feeling of gratitude
|👩 Biography of Florence Nightingale
|🌿Ultrastructural changes in chloroplasts of cold-tolerant plants
Let’s look through each aspect in detail so that you have a fuller grasp on the matter.
Value for Money – 25%
The Value for Money aspect aims to determine how effectively a service balances its prices with its offerings. Platforms that offer versatile features, support for multiple languages, additional extras, and a free trial option are rated the highest on A*Help’s value-for-money rating.
Styles/Modes – 7 pts
Features – 6 pts
Languages – 4 pts
Usage – 6 pts
Pricing Plans – 2 pts
Styles and Modes
With the wide range of classes and activities outside school, students might need to repurpose their texts several times. That is where the variety of modes comes into play. Some students might need to make their essays sound more creative, while others need to rewrite an email to their professor and just can’t get that formal style right. Certain platforms also propose the option to create a custom paraphrasing mode, so that it can fit one’s needs better.
A variety of additional features can make the whole paraphrasing process much more convenient. It is very common for users to feel the need to run the rewritten paragraph through a plagchecker or fix some grammar issues there. Moreover, some of us get stuck reusing the same words and expressions, so having an extra feature that offers synonyms is always handy. This way the text can be as polished as possible.
Obviously, the most commonly used language in the world of academia would probably be English. However, many students also attend foreign language classes or study entirely in Spanish, French, German, and so on. That is why we decided to highlight the language options on different rewriting websites.
Paraphrasing is all about the text. However, some papers can be extremely lengthy and require a lot of work. So we were paying attention to the word limits in both free versions (because who are we kidding, everybody loves a free deal) and paid subscription plans. Apart from that it was important to note whether students can use the service from the get-go or the platform requires a registration.
Last but not least is the variety of subscriptions on the service. What if you just need two or three features and not the whole pack? Or maybe you’re certain you will use it for a month around the exam period? The flexibility of pricing plans offers students more freedom to choose a study solution for their precise needs.
Overall Experience – 20%
The Overall Experience aspect within the A*Help score emphasizes the overall convenience of the service. We prioritize a seamless user experience to ensure things run smoothly.
Website Experience – 6 pts
Device accessibility – 5 pts
Text Submission – 6 pts
Support – 2 pts
Registration&Privacy – 1 pts
Paraphrasers sometimes tend to be not very comfortable to use (to put it lightly) and cluttered with ads. Nobody wants to experience that type of service, even if it takes a few seconds to paraphrase, so you don’t have to burn your eyes because of a poor design. So, we evaluate the platform’s interface and how intuitive it is.
Students truly benefit from paraphrasers that have browser extensions, plugins, or add-ons. They make your online experience smoother by allowing you to quickly access their paraphrasing capabilities while browsing, reading articles, or creating content.
The majority of paraphrasers have the option to simply copy-paste your text and ‘get to work’. But sometimes you need to rewrite the whole document, so it is much more convenient for websites to offer the option of submitting files as input. This, in turn, makes the process faster and doesn’t distract you from work by allowing access to text immediately.
While using a paraphraser typically doesn’t require additional assistance, occasional technical problems may occur, especially if you purchased a pricey plan. Therefore, we check whether these services offer support channels to help clients in resolving issues and potential bugs. These typically include live chats, email addresses, or fill-in forms.
We focus on whether a specific paraphraser requires user registration for the service. Ideally, offering registration as an option rather than a mandatory step is better. Additionally, we assess whether the user can sign up in different ways, such as email, Facebook, or Google accounts. This tends to make the process faster and the experience more pleasing.
Quality of Paraphrasing – 55%
The most critical and final part of our testing process involves evaluating the quality of paraphrasing offered by each service. As mentioned earlier, we subject each platform to three rounds of submitting various types of content to assess their ability to handle diverse styles and purposes of text.
Overall Paraphrasing Process – 10 pts
Text 1 (Personal) – 15 pts
Text 2 (Academic) – 15 pts
Text 3 (Scientific) – 15 pts
Overall Paraphrasing Process
When creating the list of criteria for this mystery shopping, we decided to put ourselves in the shoes of a student. What can influence the paraphrasing process and make a certain platform look better than the other? After giving it a lot of thought our team noticed that paraphrasers appear to be much more convenient when they allow users to manually change the output text without having to copy it somewhere else and then get to editing. Additionally, it was very helpful to see the changes in the text highlighted, so that you can determine whether it needs some extra work or not.
Three Styles of Texts
In order to get the fuller picture, three texts were chosen; all with different purposes and in various styles. However, they were tied together by being the most common types of papers students tend to paraphrase. So, the first text was a staple in AcademicHelp reviews – a personal narrative on the topic of “Feeling of gratitude”. It was written in an informal style and had a simple storyline, where the author lost their wallet and then had it returned by a stranger. The second text consisted of a paragraph from the early years of Florence Nightingale. Suspecting that most students would probably get caught after using such common information with no proofreading (as they sometimes do), we had higher standards for that text. The third and final text was an entry from a biology textbook, talking about chloroplasts in Antarctica. By using it, we wanted to see how well a paraphraser could handle specific terminology and hard-to-read style.
But what about the paraphrasing itself? Well, each of the texts was then evaluated on five criteria: style, word count, plagcheck and AI detection results, and readability. Each represented a problem students come across when using rewriters.
Firstly, we would take notice of the styling changes, so that each of them would be preserved. Our team wanted to see how closely the platforms could live up to the expectations and convey the specifics of the texts. Next, we kept an eye out for the amount of words. Because who wants to paraphrase the text and then get it cut in half when you’re trying to reach that annoying minimum word limit?
Another crucial part of the evaluation process was the result of our AI detection and plagiarism checking. After running each paragraph through our Learning Hub tools it gave us a clearer idea of whether or not certain text would be flagged as cheating, if, for example, your professor decided to assess it. This was especially important for the second text since the biography of a very well-known historical figure will probably get recognized by certain detectors.
And last, but certainly not least was the main character – the readability. Surely, we all had a problem with AI making the text way too intricate and hard to understand. Our team wanted to see how well the tools could translate the thoughts and not sound like complete gibberish.
The perfect evaluation should look somewhere like this:
|🙏 Informal (Text 1)
|👩 Academic (Text 2)
|🌿 Scientific (Text 3)
Final Thoughts on Paraphrasers Mystery Shopping
While it was quite a time-consuming process, the experiment was definitely worth it. Here at AcademicHelp, our approach towards service reviews is always carefully crafted. We set the goal to evaluate the most popular paraphrasers in order to answer truthfully the questions about their quality.
We hope that this guide has answered some of your questions. If you want to learn more about a certain tool, check out our designated reviews in the “Paraphrasers” category. Happy writing!
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