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Do College Professors Actually Check Sources? How?

Have you ever heard of plagiarism? In that case, you must be aware of why professors always mention that the work you are doing needs to be original. 

Educational institutes have different policies and requirements when it comes to plagiarism. The commonality is that it is strictly forbidden and if you are caught copying someone’s work without referencing it, you might even be expelled from the institute. Having that said, every institute also has a different requirement when it comes to the percentage of work that can be used from other places.

To ensure that you are safe and are not copying someone’s work, you need to use sources and cite them. 

When you reach a certain level academically, you will be required to write academic papers or conduct scientific research. When you write research papers, term papers, internal assessments, dissertations, thesis, or/and scientific essays, you are instructed to use sources or cite the references. You especially have to do this when the ideas or facts you have written about are not your own. If someone has done some work, you should credit them, right? The same applies when you are using someone’s work as a reference. 

With referencing, there are certain rules that you need to follow. Starting from the different types of citation types to learning how to write bibliography/references, you need to follow the format correctly. Citing your work is what makes dissertation writing different from, let’s say, creative writing. 

How to Resource your Academic Work?

The viable and authentic sources you can include in your research paper includes documentaries, videos, newspapers, scholarly articles, websites, journals and books. When it comes to building up the academic essay, you may use any sort of research that allows you to make the point you are required to make. However, in creative writing, this is something you are not required to do. Creative writing is entirely up to and how you want to go about it. It is unique, and it is entirely the way you want to.  

The real question here is how professors really check the work you have done, especially when it comes to checking the references. Peer-reviewed articles are the ones that are published in the journals. They are reviewed by academics who belong to the niche or the subject on which the paper has been written. So if you are looking to support the topic you are writing an essay on, you need to make sure that you are going for the peer-reviewed articles. Impoartant – you should be careful with how many citations you put in the assignment. Not all of the sources you use need to be peer-reviewed, but it is important if you use some and here’s why. 

Lecturers usually like it when students go for peer-reviewed sources as they are approved and certified. The idea behind this is that you gain more knowledge on the subject when you go for such material. This can also help in choosing topics for the future because the more you read on the subject, the better you understand it. 

How do Professors Check Resources?

Now the real question here is how do teachers really check the work you have done, especially when it comes to checking the references. Peer-reviewed articles are the ones that are published in the journals. They are reviewed by academics who belong to the niche or the subject on which the paper has been written. If you are looking to support the topic you are writing an essay on, you need to make sure that you are going for the peer-reviewed articles. Not all of the sources you use need to be peer-reviewed but it is important if you use some and here’s why.

Now when it comes to checking sources, yes, professors do check them, and they should check them as well. Sometimes the professors are well-versed and specialized in the subject they are teaching. It is easy for them to identify if a source is genuine or a fake one. They can easily spot it. The other way to tell is by checking the references in the bibliography or references. They can check the reference by seeing if it is relevant to the topic or not. Also, if the incite reference does not fit with the citations, in the end, it is a giveaway that a student did not correctly cite the paper or use the right resource. 

Another way for professors to know whether you have worked correctly or not is by checking the plagiarism report. A plagiarism report is usually required for every type of assignment, which is updated on a school-relevant platform. For example, let’s say you are required to upload your assignment on Moodle. In Moodle, a Turnitin report is automatically generated. Now, if your report shows plagiarism, lecturers also check whether the source that led to the plagiarism is the correct one or not. The plagiarism report gives professors an excellent idea of the sources used in writing the research paper. 

Yes of course, teachers actually check sources! And if you are wondering do professors check sources for an annotated bibliography, then the answer is yes. Most of the time, the professors are well aware of the disciplines they are in charge of. After all, they are holding the title of professors, and that comes after a lot of research in the field they are in. For teachers, they can just look at a citation and tell whether it exists or not. Classic papers, the ones that have the classic theories and are easy to tell when discussed in papers. If there is a mistake or an error in the way it has been cited, it sort of tells the professors that the citation might be made up or just used as a filler. The annotated bibliography is also required to follow a specific pattern, as per the referencing guidelines. As mentioned earlier, these guidelines vary from one referencing style to another. However, professors do check them to ensure that the right ones are chosen. 

Make sure to check the history of different referencing styles:

Another way of checking is through a simple Google search. For example, a professor can search the in-text citation by pasting it on Google and see whether the source you are talking about exists or not. Also, they could paste the entire sentence and see whether the sentence is from somewhere or not. Now, of course, the sentence would not be the same since you are not plagiarizing material, but it gives a decent idea to the prof regarding the material you are citing. 

For profs, the bottom line is that they know their way around academic work, especially citations and checking them. So, for students, do not cheat. Do not think you can bluff your professors. Put in the effort. You got this!

Feel free to check other related articles that you will find in the list below 😉

Vasy Kafidoff

Vasyl Kafidoff is a co-founder and CEO at Writing Metier. He is interested in education and the ways modern technology makes it easier. As an educational specialist, he wants to bring awareness about new learning possibilities.

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