Library Databases Examples using Research Library or PsycARTICLES


These are only two databases you can use to find plagiarized text; there are many more at the Database Finder. We suggest reading through both of the examples below, even if they are not related to your subject area, to get a flavor of how to search library databases in order to verify plagiarism. As a general rule, make sure the search is set to whatever field will search the full-text in that database. Also, maximize the years being searched. So, for example, PsycARTICLES defaults to a three year search which can be changed to all years.

Research Library

Here is an example of a student paper that might seem to have been plagiarized:

Mill had no occasion to think about statistical differences when he was writing in 1843. Statistical differences were only just beginning to loom large on the scientific horizon. New concepts are needed-- 'significant,' 'meaningful,' and 'useful.' All three go with the dread word 'statistical.' When discussing so-called races, namely, geographically and historically identified groups of people, we are talking about populations. And we are talking about some characteristic or property of some but not all members of a population.

We try a search in Research Library, a multidisciplinary search tool with signifigant full-text. Follow these steps:
  1. Select research library exampleSearch
  2. Change the default search from “citation and abstract” to “citation and document text” using the pull down on the right
  3. Limit search to full-text documents only
  4. Paste the up to 145 characters of text into the 1st search box—delete any punctuation no occasion to think about statistical differences
  5. Paste a distinctive name or word into the 2nd search box Mill


By combining distinctive phrases such as "occasion to think about statistical differences" and a distinctive name, Mill, a single citation is retrieved, the article from Daedalus.

Research Library Search Boxes


Now compare the two passages--

Student's paper:

Mill had no occasion to think about statistical differences when he was writing in 1843. Statistical differences were only just beginning to loom large on the scientific horizon. New concepts are needed-- 'significant,' 'meaningful,' and 'useful.' All three go with the dread word 'statistical.' When discussing so-called races, namely, geographically and historically identified groups of people, we are talking about populations. And we are talking about some characteristic or property of some but not all members of a population.

Article retrieved using Research Library--The search produces Ian Hacking’s 2005 article, Why race still matters. Daedalus 134, no. 1 (January 1): 102-116. http://www.proquest.com/(accessed November 22, 2005).

Writing in 1843, Mill had little occasion to think about statistical differences, which were only just beginning to loom large on the scientific horizon. We need some new concepts: I will use the words 'significant,' 'meaningful,' and 'useful.' All three go with the dread word 'statistical.' Since we are among other things talking about so-called races, namely, geographically and historically identified groups of people, we are talking about populations. And we are talking about some characteristic or property of some but not all members of a population.

You may want to try a keyword search as well. This can be useful if the student "scrambled" various words that appear within phrases, such that a phrase search would not be the best way to locate the item.

Here is help documentation about using "AND" to search for keywords:

proquest example 3


For example, here is a keyword search over three terms that appear in the student's work:

proquest example 2


This results in the following search result, which happens in this case to be identical (though need not have been) to the one discovered above.

proquest example 4

PsycARTICLES

Suppose that you encounter the following text in a student paper in and wonder whether it was plagiarized. The story model for juror decision-making (Pennington & Hastie, 1986) is the most influential approach of this type and proposes that jurors formulate a plausible story of the crime, and subsequently, arrive at a verdict consistent with that particular story. Thus, story construction constitutes a central feature of the cognitive process implemented by jurors to handle trial information in a courtroom setting. As pretrial publicity typically exerts a cognitive impact in advance of the trial and testimony evaluation, an examination of the process by which the publicity information feeds into the decision-making process is necessary. For instance, it may be the case that PTP works to make one “story” more credible than other competing explanations of the crime event or, as is examined in the current article, it may be the case that exposure to PTP promotes a proprosecution bias that determines the subsequent evaluation of each piece of evidence to produce a particular final proprosecution story.

One database you may wish to check is PsycARTICLES. Select a phrase from the above paragraph to search in the database. An example could be "pretrial publicity typically exerts a cognitive impact in advance". (Phrase searching is not the only method to try, as we mention later in the document.) Try different phrases, since a student may have taken certain phrases without alteration but in other cases altered them. Trying a number of examples can increase the chances that you will be able to verify plagiarism.

As with most searching, enclosing the words in quotes creates a phrase search string: "pretrial publicity typically exerts a cognitive impact in advance".

PsycARTICLES example


The following result comes up:

PscyARTICLES2


Click on the HTML version of the article and use the find feature to see whether the text appears in the article. Drag down the edit menu and select "find in this page", and type in a phrase (for example, type in cognitive impact) from the plagiarized item:

PsycARTICLES Example 3


Click on "Find"; this will bring you to the following, which confirms that the students indeed plagiarized from this article:

PsycARTICLES Example 4