It can be difficult to avoid plagiarism in academic writing, as you have to use various sources to create an essay. In general, plagiarism is when someone copies someone else’s work word for word. When it comes to academic writing such as writing an essay, it is important to give the original person credit for their work or this is viewed as plagiarism too. It can be committed innocently as you can accidentally represent someone else’s thoughts, ideas or words if you display them as your own as forget to give the original author credit. So with all of this in mind, how do you avoid plagiarising when you are completing an essay for example?
Different kinds of plagiarism
To begin with, you need to make sure that you understand what it actually is as there are different kinds of plagiarism:
- Direct: this is where another author’s work is copied word for word.
- Accidental: this is where you forget to provide citations for information that inspired you. This also includes forgetting to give credit when you have paraphrased a source or misquoted a source that you have used.
- Mosaic: this is where quotation marks have not been added after you have quoted an author. If you mention an author in your essay you need to make sure that you separate the quote that you have used in your own words.
- Self: This is where you use a previous essay and say it is your own work.
So now we understand what plagiarism is, we will now take a look at the different ways you can avoid it.
- Note down your own ideas. Before you start to do any research it is worth noting down your own ideas. This way you can avoid plagiarising anyone else’s ideas. Try and brainstorm your own thoughts and think carefully about the topic of your essay and write down what your thoughts on it are.
- Make notes. When you start to do your research make sure that you make notes about where your research has come from i.e. jot down the sources.
- Citing sources. When you use sources to site in your essay make sure that they are authoritative ones. You need to follow the citation style that your teacher has stated and make sure you follow this to the dot.
- Create an outline. It’s important to remember to create an outline of what your essay will end up like. This way you will know where you will be putting your ideas and where you will place any quotes.
- Plagiarism software. If you want to make sure that you avoid plagiarism, then use plagiarism detection software when writing your essay. This software can pick up any parts of your essay that have been plagiarised. A lot of these software is free and it does not take long to use. The report that you will get back from the software will highlight the parts of our essay where it detects plagiarism and can provide links as to where similar content can be found online.
- This is where you use the same idea that someone else has but you attempt to explain it in your words. The issue with paraphrasing is that it does now always work the way you want it to, as it’s difficult to use a different idea to someone else’s, as we tend to use the same ideas. Paraphrasing is classed as plagiarism and for this reason, it is best to read all of the information that you have and then write down what you have learned from it in your own words. By doing this, you will show what you have learned and you will avoid plagiarising someone else’s work. It is important however to quote someone else’s idea if you do decide to use their idea and put it into your own words.
- Avoid plagiarism removal tools. When looking for ways to avoid plagiarism in your essay you may discover tools online that claim they can remove any of them that may be apparent in your essay. It can be tempting to use them as you may think you will save some time and effort, but this will end up coming back to haunt you. The reason being is that these tools are not effective and cannot completely remove plagiarism. Instead, they may negatively affect the quality of your essay. This will mean that you will end up with an essay that has poor vocabulary and grammar and is not structured properly. So the best advice is to steer clear of these so-called plagiarism removal tools.
- The internet. You may have found some information online and not in a book. This does not mean that you can simply use this information without citing it. It’s easy to get caught out using information online but you need to be extremely careful as after all any ideas/information that is online belongs to someone else. Therefore, any online sources that you use you must reference and cite in order to avoid plagiarism. That’s why we recommend to address an essay writing service provide by customwritings.com for getting professional custom writing assistance online.
- Speak to your tutor. If you feel unsure as to whether you have plagiarized something then speak to your tutor. They will be able to go through your essay with you and help you to understand how / what you may have plagiarised.