Computer-assisted Plagiarism Test

In the case of the computer-assisted plagiarism check, specialised software is used to search the text for matches with sources freely available on the Internet. If matches are found, the programme provides information on the suspected original source.

The automatic plagiarism test is highly suited to providing initial indications as starting points for plagiarism investigations. Where your own work is concerned, you can re-check whether you have unintentionally forgotten to reference a source. With regard to another's text, the first signs of plagiarism can emerge thanks to the computer-assisted check.

How reliable is the computer-assisted plagiarism check?

The process of automatic testing is relatively quick and easy to do, but for several reasons cannot be relied on one hundred percent:

  • The search will only include sources freely available on the Web. By no means all texts that might be sources of plagiarism are available online. Many sources have still not been digitised, or require special access privileges to be granted prior to online viewing.

  • The current plagiarism software only has recourse to the search results of popular search engines. The individual search engines can, however, come up with very different results. Discrepancies can on occasion be found in results from the same search engine, if several search requests are made, in stages. Even many of the freely accessible websites are not, or not fully, indexed by the search engines. So those sources cannot be investigated either.

  • The results of the computer-assisted plagiarism check depend on the search parameters installed in the programme used for the detection, including any specified by you. The text to be checked is divided by the programme into several shorter sentences or parts of sentences. A search will then be conducted for these snippets. There can be a wide variation in the result, depending on the length of the snippet of text.

  • Up to now, the existing plagiarism programmes can at best only identify word-for-word matches. Many types of plagiarism cannot be discovered at all by this method: plagiarism in translation, plagiarism in disguise (by means of slight changes: paraphrasing), plagiarism of ideas, plagiarism of structure, etc.

  • Generally speaking, the programmes in existence to date have unfortunately not been a hundred percent reliable. They have frequently been unable to entirely detect matches even in sources freely accessible online and indexed by the search engines.

For these reasons, it is recommendable not just to rely on the automatic plagiarism test, but also to undertake manual searches and investigations. As a first step, however, the software-supported plagiarism check can be of valuable service, providing initial pointers for further manual searches.

We will also be happy to furnish you with manually created expert reports and analyses of the computer-generated search results, with recommendations as to the next steps.

Automatic Plagiarism Testing for All Types of Text

We can subject almost all types of text to a computer-assisted plagiarism check:

If the text to be checked does not yet exist in a machine-readable format, we will happily digitise it for you beforehand.

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