Plagiarism Prevention: How the Library Can Help
Education is a key part of preventing plagiarism. While many students understand that they need to cite a source when they quote a passage from a book or an article, they may not realize that they must do the same when they paraphrase. Other students may cite books or articles, but will be unaware that they also need to cite charts, images, or other resources that they use in their assignments. Students may also become frustrated when using style manuals, which appear to focus more on how to cite, rather than the reason to do so. All of these factors can be reduced when we teach students the purpose of citations and bibliographies, and their larger role in scholarly communication.
The Library is more than happy to work with you to develop a program for your course that focuses on academic honesty along with other research skills. We can highlight:
- Identifying and reading various types of citations
- Using citation mangers to organize your research
- Print bibliographies and their role in research projects
- Cited reference searching (who cited whom) for highlighting
Online Help Guides
Detecting Plagiarism: Search Tips and Library Services
Searching the Web
If you are looking for documents that contain a certain passage, try using the advanced search screen in your search engine of choice. For Google, enter the suspected phrase in quotes. Other search engines, such as Yahoo, also provide an option of phrase searching.
Library Full-Text Databases
An increasing number of Library resources are available with full-text online. While they are extremely convenient to use, they often make it easier to plagiarize. If you would like to search for a passage in a Library database, keep in mind that not all full-text is the same. In some databases or journal websites, you may be able to search the complete text of a work--even if the item is in pdf format. For other resources, metadata at this level may not be available, and you may be limited to searching citations. To see what options are available in the database or website you would like to search, go to the advanced search option, looking for a "full text" or "text" search. Whenever possible, try to search passages using a phrase search. Check the "Help" features of the database to identify how the phrase searches must be constructed (for example, should you use quotes or parentheses). Once you are in an article, you may be able to use the "Find" feature in your browser to identify specific word(s).
Term Paper Mills: Purchased Papers
Plagiarism is big business. There are plenty of sites on the Internet offering to provide papers on a variety of topics. Some sites offer this "service" for free, but most come with a price. Unfortunately, there are too many of these services to list. But locating them is very simple, often as easy as going to the search engine of your choice and typing in "term papers" or "free term papers." You will find plenty of sites to chose from.
Plagiarism Detection Software
There are also several services available to help you detect such plagiarism, such as Turnitin.com. However, please note that these programs are not available through the Library.
How the Library Can Help
Librarians can assist you by confirming suspect citations or can provide advice on searching full-text resources for passages that you fear may be plagiarized. If you are interested in using this consultation service, please feel free to contact:
Librarian for College Instruction and Outreach
The Joseph Regenstein Library
The Library has many books about plagiarism and academic honesty in our collection. Check the Library Catalog for specific titles.
A guide to citing resources from the University of Chicago Library, including information about most of the major citation styles (MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, etc.).
Citation managers are programs that collect records or citations from research databases (indexes, catalogs, etc.) that you can then organize for your research projects. They also help you cite your research by creating bibliographies, citations, and footnotes automatically. This guide helps you determine which citation manager is the best for your needs.
This web site is a collaboration of The Library, IT Services, and the Provost's Office and the Office of Legal Counsel. While copyright law is discussed and guidance is given, this site should not be relied on as definitive legal advice.
Information about permissions to reproduce or publish material from the Center.
A library guide highlighting common pitfalls in student research & how instructors can help overcome them.