Before writing any sort of paper, it is important to be aware of techniques you can use to avoid plagiarism. Understanding these practices will help you to avoid problems in the future.
Here are some ways in which you can avoid plagiarism in a document you are writing:
- Choose familiar content.
- Do research before write.
- Cite all sources.
- Ask questions.
- Get a second opinion.
Choose Familiar Content
One problem that many students face is that they try to create papers and reports on topics about which they are completely clueless. Instead of focusing on a more simple aspect of the problem, they will decide to attempt some extremely difficult, if not impossible, topic.
Since they do not understand the topic, they could wind up taking others’ ideas and words. Whether they do this accidentally or on purpose, this is plagiarism.
Do Research Before You Write
Another issue that students often run into is that they do their research after they have written a paper. At this point, they might discover that someone has already covered a similar topic or even used the exact same ideas. Since the meat of the paper is already done, they do not want to add in the citations or quote other individuals. Even though the plagiarism was not done on purpose, they still need to cite their sources.
By doing the research beforehand, students are aware of what is already out there before they begin tackling the written assignment. Then they can decide which ideas they want to avoid and which they want to mention, with sources cited.
Cite All Sources
Here we have the best way to avoid plagiarism. Simply cite all of the sources which you use for a particular paper.
There are different ways to cite information. You must ask the person for whom you are writing which way he or she prefers to see sources cited or if they prefer any specific books to be used as a citation guide.
Examples of ways to cite papers include:
- Modern Language Association (MLA)
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- Chicago Manual of Style (Turabian)
It is always best to ask for the exact guidelines, in order to avoid issues with plagiarism.
If you are not sure if an issue would be an example of plagiarism or if you are not sure how to cite information, then you must ask. You should not be afraid to ask for assistance for for advice on whether a specific notation could be viewed as plagiarism.
Get a Second Opinion
Often times, the trained eye of a tutor who someone advanced in the field of writing, can pick up on situations where the style and tone of the writing changes. Perhaps you just forgot to add a citation for one area. However, by having your friend, tutor, parent, or colleague review the paper for you, these subtleties in language can be detected. Once detected you can either remove the plagiarised content or quote the content and cite the source.
Plagiarism Can Be Avoided
Not all plagiarism is deliberate. Sometimes the writer inadvertently copies some research material into their writing or forgets to cite a source. Careful proofing and the extra second of eyes of a second proofreader can help you avoid plagiarism.