Writing a research paper or an essay is not as simple as it may seem; as there are many things involved. You have to build an ideal structure, conduct excellent research, format the project and ensure that the project fits the guidelines. However, there are other issues like plagiarism that still appear after writing down the whole project; hence today, we will discuss how to avoid plagiarism
Plagiarism is akin to stealing. The only difference is that, in plagiarism, the original work can still be found somewhere else. Unfortunately, many people are not keen on getting the original resources.
You can avoid plagiarism by finding the primary sources, citing and referencing the sources as well as carrying sufficient research. These tasks can, however, be overwhelming, and that’s why we have come up with these excellent tips to help you avoid plagiarism. Check them out, and you will not be stressed for having plagiarized materials in your work.
What is plagiarism?
Let’s first get the obvious thing out first: meaning of plagiarism.
Plagiarism is taking someone’s original work and presenting it as yours. In the academic writing world, it breaches some ethics standards; hence it is subject to penalties.
How to avoid plagiarism
This is the best method when you are required to quote the original site, but you cannot get it anywhere.
- Write the work in your own words and don’t quote more than three words in a verbatim row.
- Always double sure your work to be sure that you have not messed anything up
However, note that you can’t merely paraphrase the whole document and present it as yours. Make sure that you attribute some ideas to the original work. Begin the sentence by adding the author’s references then share the ideas and thoughts.
- Quote sources
When quoting your work, ensure that you do it exactly how it is written in the source. Enclose your citations in brackets to acknowledge the authors extract. For you to effectively avoid plagiarism when quoting, take some notes and organize the reference list afterward.
Consider the length of your quote; the quotes with more than 40 words are not ideal. Also, keep in mind the quotes percentage in your paper. It’s not recommendable to use many quotes as your expertise level might be put in questions.
- Cite materials
The correct citation contains the crucial details outlined by the author. When citing elements of the original work, be conversant with the citation style guidelines of your institution. You can use; APA, MLA, Chicago, etc. In case you are using your previous materials, cite them too but do not recycle every detail; as this could cause self-plagiarism.
All the materials that you cite in the paper should be contained in the reference list. The list is also supposed to be written in a particular format to ensure that you follow the required guidelines. Typically, the reference information should contain the name of the author, title, publication date and the source. The order of these items is determined by the citation guideline you are using.
- Invest in your topic
One main reason why students present plagiarized work is lack of sufficient information or interest about the project. As a result, enough research is not conducted to find the author sources. This adds up to a project full of plagiarism. If are given a topic that is not interesting enough, concentrate on the resources that will provide enough information; this will help you present quality work and avoid plagiarism.
- Understand what should not be cited
It is better to “overcite” other than to “undercite” but….
You also have to be aware of what should be cited or what. There is no need of citing the well-known facts or common language. Urban legends and personal experiences also fall into this category. However, there is one crucial thing to keep in mind; copyright. While the facts and common knowledge should not be copyrighted, the unique and original wordings can. So, ensure that you take enough precautions and change them to your words.
- Use plagiarism software
This is one of the favorite techniques to avoid plagiarism. There are many plagiarism software that provides reliable plagiarism checking. Some are free while others are paid. They are either in the form of an application or a website; hence the choice is up to you to select the one you want. However, it’s still important to go through the work manually to avoid entirely relying on the plagiarism checkers.
- Write bibliography
You will require the reference list to create your bibliography; and, the earlier you begin to prepare the index the better. Taking notes while you are still writing the paper is hugely beneficial to the work quality. It allows you to determine the missing sources as well as other materials that should be found. It also assists you to verify your work and ensure that you have made proper citations.
- Include the online sources
The online sources contain detailed citation requirements than the regular print materials. Notably, many citation styles need inclusion of the date when the work was retrieved. This is because the original authors may have removed or rephrased the information since online articles are often updated. Also, before you cite your work, be keen to reference the original work.
- Evaluate your sources
Apart from merely looking for sources, evaluate how accurate the information is. This does not only apply to the regular sources but also the online ones.
Ask yourself these questions to know if the sources are worth to be included in your paper:
- What is the author’s reputation in this field?
- Where did the author get this information from?
- What is the publication date of this work? Is it still relevant?
You will only increase the chances of plagiarism on your work if you include questionable sources.
When you have a full commitment to write an outstanding project and follow the above-discussed tips, it will be easy to avoid plagiarism. Looking for an easy way or shortcut will not only make you deliver poor quality work but also waste your time. If you want to succeed, develop the right mindset, and your paper will be plagiarism free.