Plagiarism Investigation of Doctoral Theses and Dissertations

Our plagiarism investigators can subject your own dissertation or that of a third party to a professional plagiarism check. For the procedure to be used regarding your own dissertation, see below. For cases involving a plagiarism check on another’s doctoral thesis, simply read on.

So you have begun to have suspicions about someone's dissertation, and you wish to have it checked to see if the quotations have been cited in the required way, and whether the sources have been correctly attributed? We will be pleased to conduct a plagiarism test for you. Our plagiarism detectives are already experienced in putting under the microscope the doctoral theses of prominent figures, high-ranking officials and captains of industry.

One further point: unlike certain voices in the press, we do not take the view that to investigate the doctoral theses of well-known or lesser known figures is in any way unethical. A doctoral thesis has to be published and thus made generally accessible. Everyone has the right to analyse published texts, to evaluate them, and naturally also to criticise them where justified.

How do we go about checking someone’s doctoral thesis on your behalf?

Our experience as plagiarism evaluation experts has shown that the following approach works best:

  1. We obtain the dissertation paper that you have named, and conduct a formal preliminary examination. We scrutinise the bibliography and the footnotes, and gain a first impression of the thesis. At this stage of the plagiarism check, we have not yet conducted any investigation of other sources. After a general preliminary examination of this nature, we discuss our findings with you, together with the next steps to take.

  2. To continue our investigations, we then scan in the book. Experience has shown that for the next stage in electronic work on the text, it needs to be “proofread”, revealing possible starting points for further plagiarism detection. Only then is it possible to institute a computer-assisted web search. We present you with the results, and you can make a decision about the next step.

  3. Along with this, a manual library and literature search can also be conducted. Normally, the previous two stages will have presented enough starting points for a more thorough investigation, which can now be followed up in detail.

You can of course discontinue the plagiarism check after any of the three above-mentioned steps. In the case of the third step, one conceivable line of approach could be a staged investigation with regular interim reports, so you remain up to date at every step of the way with how the check is progressing.

A Plagiarism Assessment of Your Own Dissertation

With regard to your own doctoral thesis, the following main types of plagiarism check are possible, and can also be used in combination:

  • Automatic plagiarism detection: the quickest and simplest, but at the same time the least reliable method of plagiarism checking. Our plagiarism software browses the freely accessible Web in search of corresponding text passages. This relatively affordable type of plagiarism assessment is suitable for providing initial guidance as to how to proceed.

  • Formal plagiarism detection: this form of checking for evidence of plagiarism is particularly recommendable if you are writing a dissertation yourself and find you are unsure about the way to treat your sources. Our expert quotation analysts will examine your bibliography and your footnotes to see that they are set out correctly and uniformly, and will give you tips on the use of references.

  • Advice on the treatment of sources: if you are having problems with setting out your list of sources or with citing them in the right way, we will be pleased to advise and coach you in all aspects of citation, footnoting technique and bibliography layout.

How long will the plagiarism check take?

The computer-assisted plagiarism test can usually be completed within a few hours, if the text is available in machine-readable form. If the text to be checked has not already been digitised, doing so can take a few weeks. The text has to be scanned in first, and to undergo automatic text recognition plus manual error correction.

A manual plagiarism investigation may last several weeks or even months altogether. In most cases, not all sources are immediately accessible, and these have to be acquired, for example through an inter-library loan. The searches can be conducted to last from a few hours up to several weeks, according to preference and budgetary considerations.

For a formal footnotes check, you should allow from several days up to a week or more, depending on the volume of text.

What happens to the results of the plagiarism search?

Of course, we guarantee, with plagiarism testing as with everything else, absolute confidentiality in handling your personal data. Neither the author of the text under assessment nor the wider public will come to know your name without your consent.

With regard to the test results: these too we can treat confidentially, entrusting them to no one but yourself. In the case of your own text, this is usually the preferred option. Where others’ texts are concerned, we can if requested place the findings of our investigation in the public arena, and/or inform the relevant university, enabling it to undertake a reassessment of the doctoral thesis.

  • print

Appointments in our office
or on telephone are possible
after prior agreement
by e-mail only.