Detecting Plagiarism

A number of search strategies and resources are available to help readers determine if a work or part of a work has been copied from another source without correct attribution according to accepted citation styles.

Use Electronic Databases to Detect Plagiarism

The library subscribes to a long and varied list of full-text databases that may help locate sources that have been used without attribution. Searchers may select a database with which they are familiar or one that fits the topical specifications of the essay in question. The “Sort Databases by Subject” function at the library’s Databases page may also be helpful. Then, select keywords from the essay and search the database for similar/identical texts.

Use Internet Search Engines to Detect Plagiarism

An internet search engine is also an effective starting point for locating material that has been plagiarized.
Google Advanced Search, or Metacrawler might be particularly useful since search results can be limited to exact wording or file formats, as well as other characteristics. Select a phrase from an essay that seems particularly suspicious based on changes in the writer’s vocabulary, prose rhythm, or comprehension of the materials and search for this exact phrase in the search engine.

Subscription Resources for Detecting Plagiarism

Glatt Plagiarism Services
Site offers a number of resources (at various price points) to help detect plagiarism.
Associated also with, considers itself the “standard” in online plagiarism detection. The company’s products have expanded to deal with other classroom related tasks as well.

Deterring Plagiarism

Writers who use the work and intelligence of other writers without offering attribution do so for many reasons. These lines of reasoning may suggest opportunities for deterring plagiaristic activity before it occurs. A number of options for deterring plagiarism are available at the following resources:

Anti-Plagiarism Strategies (Robert Harris)

More Information

The following links provide further information related to plagiarism and the need for giving attribution to research sources.

Trinity University Academic Honor Code

Avoiding Plagiarism: Practical Strategies (from the Duke University Library)

Bob Jensen’s Threads on Plagiarism Detection and Exam Cheating

Plagiarism in Colleges in the USA (Ronald B. Standler, 2000: includes case law related to plagiarism in higher education)