Plagiarism, as you are familiar with, is when an author uses someone else’s words or ideas in their work without giving them credit. Surprisingly, it is quite easy for you to accidentally use someone’s ideas without giving them proper credit. Plagiarism is likely to accidentally occur when you are new to academic writing, rushing to meet a deadline or forget to pass your paper through a plagiarism checker.
Also, the act of plagiarism is powerful enough to destroy your academic or writing career. Plus, it is considered to be a serious academic offense that can lead to a negative effect on the paper and on the writer’s reputation and credibility. Therefore, it is important for writers and researchers to increase their understanding of plagiarism and how to avoid it.
Finding information for your paper is easy but adding that information correctly is the hard part. This is why there is a set of rules to follow when adding information to your paper to not fall in the plagiarism trap. When writing an academic paper, it is the general belief that you are building upon the work of others. Therefore, it is a must to properly cite those authors that serve as a foundation for your work.
Steps to Avoiding Plagiarism
The good news is that plagiarism can be avoided completely by following these detailed steps.
When avoiding plagiarism, when and how to use quotations is quite important. Also, quoting correctly can give your thesis credibility at the same time it is important to use them correctly. Quotation marks are mandatory anytime you are using someone else’s work exactly the way they have written it in their work.
Misquoting a reputable source should be carefully avoided. Plus, avoid using block quotes for words more than 40 and make sure the source of the quoted words is properly cited.
After finding the right information for your paper, it is important to understand the context. Also, try not to copy the text word for word from the source. Paraphrasing can be a little strenuous, but it pays off. Therefore, read the information, understand it and restate the idea in your own words to avoid the allegations of plagiarism.
It is important that when you are paraphrasing, you do not string up more than two words in a row from the source text. Plus, in the process of paraphrasing, you need to make sure that you do not change the meaning of the source text.
As an academic writer, you are aware that citation style varies as there are different citation formats like APA, MLA, Chicago, and others. Every institution or journal has its own specific citation and referencing style. Therefore, it is important to consult the right citation manual when writing your paper to ensure you cite source materials correctly.
Citations usually contain the author’s name and date of the publication. Also, a wrong citation can be viewed as an act of plagiarism. It is also important to cite all quotations and paraphrased sentences, citing a quotation is different because you will need to add the page number of the quotation.
Also, it is just as important to cite your own previous work in your correct work. It might sound odd but using your previous idea in a new paper without citation is considered plagiarism.
Referencing is also important in your bid to avoid falling victim to plagiarism. Always include a page of cited works or a reference page at the end of your research paper. Also, this page must adhere to the referencing guideline of your institution or journal.
To avoid being accused of plagiarism, it is important to get the reference page correctly. The reference page varies according to the referencing style, but it usually contains the names of the authors, the date of publication the title and the source.
Include Your Own Idea
Sure, your paper is about improving someone’s work. But, instead of just parroting just the source’s idea, you include your own ideas. To avoid plagiarism when you write you can include your unique perspective or points in your paper. It is important to note that if you are including an idea of your own from a previous paper you will still need to cite yourself.
Following the steps mentioned earlier is a good way to avoid plagiarism. However, there might be some oversight in the cause of writing your paper. This oversight might lead to plagiarism. Hence, it is important to pass your paper through a plagiarism detection tool. Plagiarism detection tools such as eTBLAST or iThenticate will help you determine how much of your paper is actually plagiarized.
Some of these plagiarism checkers will help to highlight the specific words or sentences that were plagiarized and identify the source of the text. Using a plagiarism checker can help you fix the plagiarized sentences or words.
Important Tips for the Avoidance of Plagiarism
- When paraphrasing, make sure you avoid using too many similar phrases or sentences from the source text.
- A direct quote must cite the source accurately so the readers can know who the quote is actually from.
- Make sure you are aware of and adhere to all citations and referencing guidelines required of your paper.
- Endeavor to always cite any idea or concept that is not your own.
- Make sure you include citations as you write so as not to run the risk of forgetting.
- Give yourself enough time to write the paper to avoid accidental plagiarism from rushing
- Proofreading your paper is an important way to discover if you have plagiarized in your work
- Remember the internet is also a source. Just because it is not a book or an article does not mean it does not require paraphrasing or citation.
- You must keep track of all the sources you use in your research
- Whenever you are in doubt, insert a citation. It is best that you have a citation whether you need it or not to avoid regrets
- When using an idea from the source material, it is advisable to condense the idea to a brief summary that explains it properly.