As if hot on the heels of my last post, Adam Dachis has posted the advice Use a Plagiarism Checker to Get References for a Research Paper on LifeHacker.
He lists a number of free “plagiarism-checkers,” including Plagiarisma (critiqued in Authentic Authenticity).
Dachis is aware that few “plagiarism-checkers” discover all “borrowed” material, so he advises
Your mileage may vary with the different tools, so you probably should run your paper through a few of them to get all your sources. You’ll know if it missed anything, as you have the books, so you can always add the remaining sources the hard way if it did.
This really does seem the hard way, write the paper and THEN go checking for places where citations and references might be needed. The suggestion that if you take anything from print, then you need to check for these yourself (as online text-matching software might not make a match).
The article concludes
If you need references for your paper, run it through a plagiarism checker.
I am heartened that most – though not all – of the comments suggest that this is not a good way to write, not if you want to use other people’s words or ideas. Even more heartening, the suggestion that you note your sources, or at the least note where citations are needed), as you go.