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How to Spot Plagiarism in a Dissertation

There are several surefire ways to recognize non-unique snippets in text. One of them is the simplest: using a service for checking student papers for borrowings. This rule applies if the student unintentionally "appropriated" the results of someone else's work. Also, experts pay attention to such 3 parameters: formatting, quoting, style, content.

Formatting. In the case when scientific research takes up a large volume, it is much more difficult to determine the dishonest intentions of the applicant. However, experienced professionals will cope with such a task. Such “tips” as formatting elements help them in this. It raises suspicion if the style, font, indents and other parameters of the text do not correspond to the general design of the dissertation. The "stolen" text may contain hyperlinks or references to Internet resources and other hidden information (in footers, after the text).


Citations from works that are out of date at the time of writing the dissertation, references to outdated literary and Internet sources, or to those to which the author of the scientific research does not have access rights seem suspicious. If the bibliography and citations in the text do not match, this also raises questions.


If there is a small text in front of the reviewer, he will immediately see which parts of the work differ in style from the main text. Complex constructions “give out” plagiarism in the dissertation and sentences that are adjacent to simple ones are too different from them. In voluminous works, you can also find a mismatch in styles, this will take a little more time.


Plagiarists often do not follow how the material is presented. If the work does not meet the requirements of the supervisor, the material resembles a “patchwork quilt”, in which meaningless general information alternates with highly detailed data, this also indicates plagiarism in the dissertation.

To avoid accusations of appropriating someone else's intellectual work, it is best to write the work yourself. However, in this case, you can unwittingly become a plagiarist. Follow the rules for citing other people's scientific research!

More resources: Footnotes and References in the Dissertation. What Are the Differences? References in the Dissertation How to Write an Abstract Presentation of the Content of the Dissertation Work Correctly Why Do You Need an Abstract? Peculiarities of Reviewing Manuscripts, Scientific Articles, Dissertations and Monographs

Karl Rockwell

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