How to Avoid Plagiarism in Your Writing
- Posted by Michelle Rated
- November 02, 2016
Plagiarism is considered to be a serious offence by most schools, colleges and universities. Committing plagiarism, either knowingly or unknowingly, will mean your work is rejected, or you can be removed from your course. In some circumstances, it can even lead to legal action being taken against you by the person who’s work you have plagiarised.
What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is when you attempt to pass off someone else’s work or intellectual property as your own. It occurs most commonly with students when they don’t know how to reference the materials they’ve used correctly.
How to Avoid Plagiarism
Reference research materials properly
When you research your paper, you will use many different sources. Be sure to take a note of the author or owner of the material, the year it was published and the title. These items need to be included in your paper. Check with your lecturer, or your course guidelines to ensure you are using the correct referencing method in your paper.
Also, be sure to include a bibliography with your paper that lists every resource you used. Again, the title, the author’s name and the year the piece was published.
If you are in any doubt as to whether or not to include a source, include it. That way, you know you’re covered.
Use a range of sources
It is much easier to accidentally plagiarise someone if you solely use their material for your paper. Try to combine two or more sources, so your words aren’t an identical match for the original pieces.
Use your own words/writing style
Unless you are using a direct quote, everything you write must be rewritten in your own words and in your usual writing style. A good way to do this is to read all of the material (remember, from two or more sources), then write the paper in your words. If you need to check back for facts that’s fine, but try to write as much as you can without looking back through the original material.
Quote the material properly
If you are using a direct quote, make sure to put it in quotation marks and credit the person who you are quoting. A lot of institutes frown on too many quotes, and the accepted length of a quote is usually under forty words.
If, after following all of these tips you are still in doubt, don’t forget you can find sites online where you can enter your writing and run a plagiarism check.