Learn How to Avoid Plagiarism in 7 Simple Steps
If you’re a high school or college student, then it is crucial that you avoid plagiarism in your work at all costs. Failing to do so can get you in some serious trouble, such as getting an ‘F’ on your assignment, getting suspended from your institute, or even expelled.
However, you can’t prevent plagiarism is you don’t know what it is exactly. Go through this detailed guide to understand how to avoid plagiarism completely.
- 1. What is Plagiarism?
- 2. Types of Plagiarism to Avoid
- 2.1 Intentional Plagiarism
- 2.2 Self Plagiarism
- 2.3 Mosaic Plagiarism
- 2.4 Accidental Plagiarism
- 2.5 Inaccurate Authorship
- 3. Ways to Prevent Plagiarism
- 3.1 Start your Work on Time
- 3.2 Cite your Sources
- 3.3 In-Text Citations
- 3.4 Include a Reference Page
- 3.5 Quotations
- 3.6 Paraphrase the Original Text
- 3.7 Run your Essay Through a Plagiarism Checker
- 4. Is Plagiarism Illegal?
1. What is Plagiarism?
To define plagiarism in simple words, it means stealing someone else's work, words, or ideas and passing them off as your own. Plagiarism can occur in any field or place, for instance, artists stealing some else's songs. In academic writing specifically, it refers to using someone's words without crediting the original source.
There's a higher risk of plagiarism when writing lengthy research papers or term papers. You carry out extensive research and find information that fits perfectly in your paper, without even realizing it, you use it in your paper as is – that constitutes plagiarism.
However, that isn't all. There are different types of plagiarism, both accidental and intentional.
2. Types of Plagiarism to Avoid
In order to avoid plagiarism, you need to understand each of these types.
2.1 Intentional Plagiarism
Intentional or complete plagiarism is one of the most common and severe kinds of plagiarism. It is the act of copying someone else's work word-for-word without proper citation or quotation marks.
If someone is found guilty of complete plagiarism, they have to face a severe punishment that can result in expulsion. Because the student is deliberately trying to deceive the teacher with this unethical and dishonest act.
2.2 Self Plagiarism
Sometimes students get assigned a paper that they have worked on in a previous academic year or a different class. In a situation like this, students submit the same paper in both classes or use portions of their previous works without the teacher's permission; this is called self plagiarism.
Even if it is your original work, you can't use it for two different classes without asking the teacher first or citing yourself.
2.3 Mosaic Plagiarism
Mosaic plagiarism, also known as patchwork plagiarism, it requires a lot more effort than intentional plagiarism. Here students go through different sources, mix them together, change a few words using their synonyms and come up with a new text.
In this form of plagiarism, the original ideas of the work are kept intact and students replace a few words, then pass it off as their own. Although students try to paraphrase the text, but it still counts as plagiarism because they're stealing the original author's main idea and structure.
2.4 Accidental Plagiarism
Accidental plagiarism occurs due to the negligence of the students. They either fail to cite the sources, misquote the authors, or paraphrase the original text incorrectly. Even if it is unintended, it can still get you in trouble so you must learn how to cite your sources correctly.
2.5 Inaccurate Authorship
Often students are in a rush to finish there paper. Therefore, they don't take citations seriously and give inaccurate authorship. For instance, if a text has multiple authors and you only mention one of them. You aren't crediting everyone who owns the piece.
3. Ways to Prevent Plagiarism
Writing an essay requires students to conduct extensive research. Students can't be expected to come up with original ideas on challenging subjects without going through other sources. However, when you decide to take help from the work of others, you can fall into the trap of plagiarism without even realizing it.
To carry out research without falling prey to plagiarism, here are some tips that you must follow.
3.1 Start your work on time
Nothing good ever comes out of procrastination. Start early so that you have enough time left to write your paper without a single trace of plagiarism. Having a relaxed mind ensures that you don't make unnecessary mistakes that can cost you your grade.
3.2 Cite your Sources
When you're using an idea in your paper that isn't yours, you must cite the source that you're taking the idea from. Not only do you have to cite the sources, but also make sure that you're using proper citations.
There are different citation formats, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, etc. you must follow the one used in your college. There are two requirements of citations, in-text citation and a reference list.
If you're adding information that is common knowledge you don't necessarily have to cite it.
3.3 In-Text Citations
In-text citations are within the body of your essay, where you put the author's name, year of publication and the page number in parenthesis. The exact format may differ depending upon the citation style you want to go for.
Here is a detailed blog that you can go through to learn about the APA and MLA format.
3.4 Include a Reference Page
At the end of your essay, add a reference page and list down all the sources you've used. An effective way is to keep citing the sources as you go, don't leave it until after you're done writing. This will help ensure that you haven't missed any of the resources.
Another effective way of avoiding plagiarism is to use quotation marks to credit the original author. However, it is your responsibility to quote their exact words and not misquote anyone. It is the easiest and most time effective way.
3.6 Paraphrase the Original Text
When you come across an idea that goes perfectly with the content of your paper, you can paraphrase it. Paraphrasing is the art of rewriting someone else's work in your own words. Go through the original text a few times, then use different words and structure without changing the idea of it.
3.7 Run your Essay through a Plagiarism Checker
Once you're done writing the paper, you must always run it through a plagiarism checker before submitting it to get rid of obvious plagiarism. There are different tools available online such as Turnitin, that can help detect plagiarism.
4. Is Plagiarism Illegal?
Plagiarism is a serious offense and therefore, it has legal consequences. The penalty entirely depends on the nature of plagiarism. You won't be thrown in jail for plagiarizing some part of your essay, but if you plagiarized your research, then the consequences can be much worse.
This is the reason why you must start taking it seriously and learn the ways to avoid it in the future as well.
Use the tips mentioned above to maintain the credibility of your work. If you fear that you'll run out of ideas for your paper, the best way is to look for an essay writing service that guarantees zero plagiarism. Reach out to the essay experts at 5SatrEssays, who will help you craft an essay according to your requirements from scratch with original and unique ideas.