Plagiarism is a serious offence in academia. It’s more common than you might think, especially when it comes to student research and essays.
If you’re pursuing a degree in any field, you will likely be asked to submit an essay at some point.
However, since most academic assignments require originality and insight into a subject, your professors will probably ask you to document your sources using standard citation practices such as APA or MLA style. This is because plagiarism detection software has become increasingly common in universities and even corporations.
Plagiarism can have serious consequences on your academic record and future career prospects, not to mention how unethical it is.
By following these 9 tips, you can avoid plagiarism when writing essays and other assignments:
Be aware of what constitutes plagiarism.
Be aware of what constitutes plagiarism. Plagiarism is the act of copying someone else’s work directly and making it your own. It’s important to understand that not all cases of “copying” are bad. If you’re trying to incorporate information from a source into your writing, there are two ways you can go about it.
The first is by “paraphrasing” the information, which basically means you take the source’s words, re-phrase them, and weave them into your own writing. This method is perfectly acceptable to use as long as you write your own take on the information.
The second is by “directly quoting” a source, where you copy and paste a passage word for word into your work. This method is fine to use as long as you cite your source.
Use Microsoft Word’s “research” feature to ensure your bibliography is accurate.
If you’re using Microsoft Word, you can quickly and easily check your bibliography to ensure it’s accurate. Instead of copying and pasting the entire citation into your document, highlight the citation and select “Research” from the “Citation” drop-down menu.
This automatically inserts a “Source” field where you can enter the information pertaining to the source of the citation. This field is automatically saved when you save your document, so it will be there if a professor ever needs to view your citations.
Always use footnotes and endnotes.
If your assignment calls for MLA-style citations, always use footnotes. If you use endnotes instead, you run the risk of accidentally merging the citations into your text and potentially breaking the flow of your writing.
If your assignment calls for APA-style citations, always use endnotes. This is because the proper way to cite a source using APA style is to enclose the citation in brackets and place it at the end of the sentence.
If you’re using a word processor that has a bibliography function, make sure it works properly.
For example, if you’re using Microsoft Word, make sure the bibliography function is properly set up. If you’re citing a source that’s printed in the book’s chapter or section number, make sure you have the “Citation number” field selected. If you’re citing a source that’s printed in a page number, make sure you have the “Page number” field selected.
By setting your citation number field to “No” and your page number field to “Yes”, you can easily distinguish between citations in different formats.
If you are citing a source that you accessed online (such as an essay published on a blog), make sure you select “Web address” as your citation number.
Double-check your citations by using a plagiarism detection software tool.
If you’re really worried about plagiarism, you can use an online plagiarism detection software tool such as Grammarly.
These tools will scan your document and compare it to a huge database of sources to see if you’ve copied anything directly. If a tool finds a match, it will tell you which piece of writing you’ve plagiarized and where it is located in your document.
Plagiarism detection software isn’t foolproof, so it’s important to always check the tool’s results critically.
Proofread your work.
Don’t forget to proofread! The final step to avoid plagiarism is always proofreading.
Always proofread your work before submission. This way, you’ll notice any small errors that might slip through undetected when you’re editing your work.
In addition to finding and correcting any grammatical errors, make sure you’ve properly cited your sources. Sometimes, simple things like forgetting a period or improperly capitalizing a word can cause a reader to suspect plagiarism.
Write your original introduction.
Write an introduction that consists entirely of your own words, with no copied information or ideas.
When writing your introduction, make sure it’s your own original work. The best way to do this is to outline a list of your own thoughts and ideas about the subject beforehand. Then, incorporate your thoughts into your introduction. This way, you’ll make sure you don’t accidentally plagiarize anything while writing your introduction.
Use of direct quotes
Only use direct quotes when they help clarify your point or add additional context or meaning. Just don’t overdo it!
When you use direct quotes, make sure they’re properly cited and appear in quotation marks. The easiest way to do this is to highlight the text you want to use, click “CTRL-END”, and then click “CTRL-SHIFT-C”.
This will automatically place your citation in square brackets, followed by a comma, and then the quoted text.
If you’re using APA style, you’ll also need to denote where in the source the quote is taken from. You can do this by adding a “(” and then writing out the chapter and/or section number followed by a “)“. For example, you would write “(p. 19)” if the quote you’re using comes from page 19 of the source.
If the quote comes from a different source entirely, use “(” then write the author’s name followed by “)“. For example, you would write “(John 1)” if the quote you’re using comes from John 1’s essay.
Keep track of your sources.
If a professor asks, you don’t want to be scrambling and struggling to find or identify your citations.
Keep a record of the sources you’ve used while writing your paper. This way, if a professor ever asks you to cite your sources, you’ll have them all listed and ready to go.
You can either keep a simple binder with your paper’s name on the tab, or you can use a digital note-taking app like Evernote to keep track of your sources.
I hope this article is helpful. Leave a like and let me know your thoughts in the comment section.
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