Whether interviewing an expert or presenting important findings in a report, using credible sources can give additional authority and credibility to your writing. However, understand that there is a clear difference between the external sources consulted and your own thoughts. Also, you should carefully reference the information used in your articles to avoid misrepresenting the sources and ideas as your own.
Plagiarism means using another person’s words and ideas in your writing without crediting the source. Sometimes, plagiarism means deliberately stealing another person’s ideas and works.
However, plagiarism can also be unintended through forgetfulness and carelessness. Remember, academic writing means building on the works of others, which requires using several credible sources of information and evidence. Here are some tips to help avoid plagiarism.
It is important to reiterate that good research and analysis takes time and patience. If you procrastinate getting started on your assignment, you will likely run out of time and face the pressure to finish it at the last minute. The pressure you will likely encounter if you postpone starting your work may result in sloppy research habits and bad decisions.
Plan research in advance and ask for assistance from your professor when needed. Librarians and tutors can help you organize your research and write original papers. If you think you may not have enough time to complete your assignment, have someone else do the work for you. You can work with an online essay writing service.
Commit to Doing Your Research and Writing
Most students struggle with academic writing as they start college because of the changes in writing conventions and citation demands. Work on improving your writing skills to allow you to complete your assignments appropriately and on time. Avoid taking the shortcuts like presenting samples you get online or copies of old assignments. Ensure you understand what your professor wants you to do, and spend time researching and writing your assignments. Make sure to write all assignments from scratch.
Be Thorough in Your Note Taking
As you prepare for your writing, you will be expected to conduct profound research and prepare evidence to support your arguments. A good practice while brainstorming and searching for information is clearly labeling your notes with your ideas. This way, you can easily distinguish between your ideas and points you have taken from external sources.
When writing your paper, you can adopt mechanisms to ensure that all your sources are cited and referenced appropriately. Good note-taking allows you to stay organized throughout writing and revising your paper.
Track and Cite Your Sources
While academic writing entails original thinking and fresh formulations, the work must be anchored on the foundation of established evidence and subject information. This means you will need to use information from credible sources to strengthen the quality of your arguments.
One of the easiest ways to commit plagiarism is by forgetting where ideas came from and unintentionally presenting the work as your own. To avoid falling victim to this shortcoming, keep your notes organized and compile a list for tracking your sources as you proceed with the work.
Indicate which information and ideas are your own and which have been taken from external sources. You will also need to highlight all the statements that need to be cited, carefully marking any text copied directly from a source using quotation marks.
The point here is that you should always cite other people’s work whenever used in your text. It does not matter whether you found the information on a website, a book, or a journal article. Use the right style manual to inform your approach when citing your sources.
Embrace Proper Paraphrasing
Another important tool for avoiding plagiarism is paraphrasing accurately using your own words and phrases. Good paraphrasing means representing what was written in the original document differently while maintaining the core message.
It requires reading and understanding the source while using your own words to summarize or represent the information. Even then, you will still need to cite the source.
Plagiarism is a serious offense in academia with legal and ethical implications. This article offers a few insights for students on maintaining uniqueness in their writing and avoiding plagiarism. Students must master paraphrasing, cite their sources, and thoroughly edit and proofread their work. Remember, you must set aside enough time to plan, research, write, and edit your assignment.