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How to Avoid Plagiarism in Your Research Paper

Time is of the essence, as some paper writing services say. It is especially true for students because they have many things to do but have limited time. They have to do research, write papers, meet people, read books, discuss in class, take notes, and join other activities. Assignments can get overwhelming, and some learners cannot take any more pressure and result in quick fixes. Plagiarism can have adverse effects on their character and career because academic work requires a high level of responsibility and integrity.

What Plagiarism Is?

Plagiarism is copying another person’s work or borrowing their original ideas without proper citation. It uses words, concepts, or production without crediting the source or disguising them as one’s own. It is an act of fraud that involves lying and stealing, and copyright laws protect the expression of original ideas. Using music, videos, and images of another individual is also plagiarism if the person using them does not ask permission or give appropriate citation.

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Classifications of Plagiarism

Steps to Avoid Plagiarism

1. Accidental Plagiarism

Neglecting to cite sources, unintentional paraphrasing a source using similar words without attribution, or misquoting sources is accidental plagiarism. You must cite your sources and be careful and accurate in notetaking. Unintentional plagiarism has the same consequences as the other plagiarism types.

Explicit Plagiarism: Explicit plagiarism is transcribing another person’s work word-for-word without quotation marks and attribution. It is a deliberate, unethical, and academically dishonest act that serves as grounds for disciplinary actions.

2. Mosaic Plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism is borrowing from phrases without enclosing them with quotation marks or searching for synonyms but keeping the same structure and meaning of the original work. Patch writing, even if unintentional, is punishable because it is also academically dishonest, even if the student footnotes the source.

3. Individual-Plagiarism

Individual plagiarism is submitting a past article or mixing several previous articles without asking permission from the involved professors. For instance, you submit your high school term paper in your college course. Self-plagiarism is also applicable when you turn in the same written work in different classes without asking permission from your professors.

Why Avoid Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is unethical, and writers submitting plagiarized content are committing theft. Avoiding it is essential because it hurts your integrity. You lose the respect of your peers and mentors and may cause you to lose future career advancement and significant professional referrals. Students who plagiarize their papers may lose their leadership roles or financial aid. Lastly, the original writer may sue you in court because you take the profit or credit away from them.

Steps to Avoid Plagiarism

1. Do not delay making your research and writing assignments

It takes time to perform excellent research, and delaying it adds undue pressure that makes you do sloppy research and makes grim decisions. You must plan your research and ask the help of your librarian, professor, and other people.

2. Make a promise to complete your work.

Discuss with your professor if you do not understand the assignment. You can join your other classmates to form a group. However, if your instructor wants individualized content, you must write your paper by yourself. You can ask your group mates for inputs or suggestions.

3. Be meticulous in notetaking.

If you take notes, you must clearly label them. For instance, if you write your ideas, you can identify them as “ME” in parentheses. If you take words or concepts from other sources, you can mark them with the author, origin, and date. It is easier for you to write your references or bibliographies if you make it a habit to jot down notes properly.

4. Carefully cite your sources avoid plagiarism

You must make it a habit to cite other writer’s work, ideas, words, and phrases that you indirectly or directly use in your paper. Expressions or terms from other sources must be in quotes. You can check the available style manuals online for reference.

5. Learn how to paraphrase effectively.

Scrambling words and phrases or using synonyms and rewriting other author’s works is plagiarism. If you want to avoid it, you must learn proper paraphrasing, which requires a genuine understanding of the source and summarizing a concept or point. Citing your sources is also part of paraphrasing.

6. Analyze your sources.

You do not cite all your sources found on the internet. One excellent rule of thumb is to decide how credible they are. You must determine if they provide exemplary support to their ideas, accurate information, and quality writing.

You can use the following criteria in evaluating your sources:

  • Authority

You must determine if the author is an authority on the subject you are researching or if they cite their credentials or experience. You must check if they include a way for you to contact them if their work appears in a publication and if they fully credit their other sources.

  • Scope, Relevance, and Coverage

You must also ascertain if the content is appropriate for your paper. You can also check the covered geographical area, time, and intended audience. 

  • Accuracy and Bias

If you wish to include a source in your paper, you must find out how the author presents the information. Moreover, you must determine if they state their biases and are factual.

  • Timeliness

You must include timely information in your paper. Thus, if the source is out-of-date, you can disregard it.

  • Quality

In your research, you must find out if the author uses accepted methodologies and write the information. Moreover, the source must organize the presentation of the facts and provide links to them. 

  • Commercialism

You can find out if the author is selling a philosophy, a product, or one’s self. You must check if the website or article has a corporate sponsor.

Final Thoughts

Plagiarism is a no-no in paper writing. Some students may be unaware of it, while some may deliberately do it. You now understand what plagiarism is, why you have to avoid it, and what you can do to avert it. Armed with the information and tips from this article, you can now go and write your assignment with flair and integrity.

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