Coursework Writing Guide: How To Avoid Plagiarism
As most students know, plagiarism is taking the ideas or words of someone else and representing them as your own. It can cause problems for students or anyone else who attempts it.
In order to be able to avoid plagiarism, you must have a firm and detailed understanding of what it is. It not only includes word for word copying; it also includes close mimicry of someone else’s sentence structure by only changing a few of the words with synonyms.
Plagiarism can also include copy and pasting sections of text off the internet to use as captions on a poster or for an essay. It can also include using images that haven’t been purchased or you don’t have the proper rights to use.
Strategies to avoid plagiarism
- Don’t copy someone else’s words
- Always properly cite and reference all sources you use
- Know your subject well enough that you can write authoritatively and produce original text
- Read many sources before you write so that your brain doesn’t remember phrases and slip them out as you write thinking they are your own.
- If you are in doubt as to whether your writing is truly your own or the idea belonged to the source you read, give credit. It’s better to give credit when in doubt than not to.
- Complete quotes from other sources can be used without fear of plagiarism as long as they are contained in quotation marks and properly cited.
- Facts themselves cannot be copyrighted. You can use facts in your writing without fear of plagiarism. It’s the discussion about the facts, or someone’s opinion about the facts, or an author’s writing about the facts that you need to be wary of.
- When you perform your own experiments, take your own surveys, make your own conclusions about a fact or event, they don’t need to be cited. When you make conclusions based on other people’s work, their original work should be referenced.
Check for plagiarism
Make sure you haven’t plagiarized unwittingly by running your paper through a plagiarism checker. If you have the original sources in paper version, check through the articles and make sure you don’t find the same wording in your own paper.
Always make full citations and references within your paper. Don’t take any shortcuts hoping to save time. It’s usually not worth it in the long run. If you’re worried that some of your sentences sound like someone else’s, they probably do. It’s better to fix them now and not take the risk.