How to Avoid Plagiarism When Writing Your Essay
When you are about to write a complex essay, finding relevant resources is not always an issue. There is plenty of information in online and library sources, so you can assemble and analyze a solid base of resources within few days. However, the way you use those materials will determine the success of your project.
College and university professors can easily recognize plagiarism in students’ work, and they take this issue very seriously. The following tips will help you avoid the issue of plagiarism during essay writing.
1. INCLUDE CITATIONS AND REFERENCES.
Your main goal is to use the sources ethically, meaning that you should always provide proper references. Follow the formatting guidelines your professor gave and make sure to implement the required citation style (MLA, Harvard, APA, Turabian, etc). Citing is not simple, but you’ll get used to it with practice. The main thing to remember is to reference every single source you used in order to write the paper.
2. REFERENCING IS IMPORTANT EVEN WHEN YOU PARAPHRASE!
Most guides that teach you how to avoid plagiarism will tell you to simply paraphrase. You have found materials that are perfect for writing the best essay/essays, so you decide to rearrange the sentences and replace some words with synonyms. That’s a great way to cheat on plagiarism engines, but it’s not a way of avoiding plagiarism.
The act of plagiarizing is not limited to copying whole portions of another author’s work; it also includes using other writers’ ideas without giving credit. Your professors are aware of most academic works published in their niche, so they can easily catch the sentences and paragraphs you paraphrased and tried to present as your own. Remember: it is okay to get inspired by other people’s ideas. However, the purpose of academic writing is to present your own opinions. It doesn’t matter how you use the source; what matters is to reference it.
3. USE QUOTATION MARKS WHEN YOU CITE A SOURCE.
Even if you give credit to an author in the reference list, some professors will consider your paper to be plagiarized if you don’t clearly distinguish the parts you haven’t written yourself. For that purpose, make sure to separate the used sources with proper quotation marks.
4. DON’T COPY ANOTHER AUTHOR’S IDEA PROGRESSION, ORGANIZATION OF WRITING, OR OTHER CHARACTERISTICS.
The best way to avoid copying the structure of a source is to brainstorm and create an outline of your own ideas. Then, you can use the materials you located to support those ideas.
5. KEEP TRACK OF THE SOURCES!
Intentional plagiarism is easy to define: you neglect referencing the sources even when you are aware of the fact that the ideas come from another author. However, sometimes plagiarism is non-intentional. You do a lot of reading before writing the paper, so it’s easy to lose track of a source you already included in the outline. Thus, it is very important to take notes when you go through library materials, and bookmark all electronic sources you intend on using.
There is no such thing as a successful plagiarized essay
If your professor identifies any signs of plagiarism in your work, the first penalty will be a low grade for the assignment. However, the consequences can be much more serious than that, depending on your school’s policy. In the worst scenario, extreme cases of academic dishonesty are being reported.
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