Magoosh GRE

How To Check for Plagiarism

| May 3, 2012 | 1 Comment

What is Plagiarism?

Plagairism is a major “hot topic” across all UK universities, as educators look to clamp down on students who exploit resources, such as the internet, to try and cheat the academic system.

Websites such as Wikipedia and Google facilitate student’s copying of ideas and articles and including them as part of an essay. Taking ideas, quotes or words from another source without proper citing or acknowledgement is “plagiarism”.

The consequences for being caught having plagiarising in your work can be very severe,  with punishments ranging from exclusion from a course to expulsion from university; even – in some instances – to court hearings.

However, plagiarism is not always committed intentionally; most plagiarised essays or dissertations are simply improperly referenced, or where students inadvertently mix their own ides with those of another, without referencing.

This is why it is important that you check your essay for plagiarism before submitting to your university. However, if the thought of avoiding plagiarism sounds like a daunting challenge, checking for plagiarism in your academic writing is easier than it seems.

How You can Check for Plagiarism

There are a few steps you can take when writing and reviewing your essay or dissertation to check for plagiarism in your essay.

Firstly, you will need to proofread your essay and make sure that any source or idea that is not your own is properly referenced. If you are using the MHRA standard of referencing this will involve adding a footnote at the end of the sentence, or if you are using Harvard school of referencing, then you will need to add the Author’s name and the date of their work in parentheses after the quote; for example – (Smith, 1970).

Secondly, you should make it second habit to regularly check the frequency and formatting of your referencing; as incomplete or inaccurate referencing can later lead to plagiarism. If you have checked, and re-checked for plagiarism – you can get a friend or family member to read over your essay and see if they can spot any unreferenced quotes or ideas.

Thirdly, you should check all the sources that you have used in the research and writing of your essay; even if you have not directly quoted a source, if you are using an idea that has come from someone, you will need to acknowledge that – either in the text as a footnote and in the bibliography of your study; e.g. (Darwin discuss this theory in his The Evolution of Man, 1876). Make sure all your quotes are referenced.


Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help when checking your essay for plagiarism. When in doubt about whether or not you are fringing on having plagiarism in your work, ask your tutor for help.

You can also make use of websites such as and to help check your essay to ensure that you are not inadvertently plagiarising someone else’s work.


Category: Dissertation Writing Guide

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