10 Tips for Students: How to Avoid Plagiarism in Your Writing

26 July 2022

Writing scientific and professional papers is often a new experience for any student. Since the entire concept does not have a precise definition, you can easily commit plagiarism without realizing it. Therefore, we bring you the top ten writing tips for avoiding plagiarism.

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1. Make Sure You Understand What Plagiarism Is

Before going further, we need to know more about the term and its avoidance. Plagiarism means students commit intentional or accidental taking credit for someone’s work or idea without the consent or recognition of that person. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to learn and apply good academic practices from the very beginning. Avoiding plagiarism implies that we apply our scientific skills to write our papers as high-quality as possible. Every aspect of every academic or scientific text is the author’s intellectual property: words, data, thoughts, and information, and none of that can be taken lightly and presented as our achievement or solution.

2. Cite Sources You Use

Carefully selected citations contribute to the persuasiveness of what you claim, but they do not contribute to the quality of your work. In other words, if you were to submit a term paper consisting entirely of citations from other authors, you would likely receive a negative or the lowest grade. Also, there is no need to include common knowledge in this part.

3. Be Careful with Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is a way to express an idea in your own words. When writing, you often make mistakes when you think it’s necessary to hide the fact that relying on other citing sources and paraphrasing helps the author fit others’ ideas into the paper nicely. Just rearranging or replacing words also constitutes plagiarism. When we use theories, ideas, opinions, etc., that are not ours, we must first state whose and where they were presented. You can easily find such references using the best plagiarism software available on the Internet. If we use historical, statistical, or scientific facts or any point that is not ours, we are obliged to provide a reference to the original source from which we took the results. By giving additional research significance, we will be sure that we do not violate anyone’s copyright.

4. Find Something New to Say

First of all, it is essential to start with your interest in a specific topic. To simplify, try to cross two or more areas that you are keen on. This way, you will narrow down your topic, allow yourself greater freedom to criticize and objectively observe, and, most importantly, more easily extract the content you need.

5. Use Quotations to Include Others’ Ideas

It’s okay to quote other authors from time to time, it’s expected of you, but you have to present something of your own. For example, citations are marked with quotation marks. In contrast, each citation must be accompanied by a reference. It contains information about the exact place in the source where the quoted text is located. For example, if you write an idea or an argument that the president (or anyone else) said, you must cite your sources of that quote, give credit, and not take it as your own.


6. Proofread

Not infrequently, the author’s text, before publication, does not quite fit into the language standard – orthographically, grammatically, or stylistically. Then the proofreader appears. With a manuscript and a pencil in hand or at the computer, the lecturer corrects mistakes by adhering to the rules that govern your language, relying on grammar and professional literature. With a suitable proofreader as a collaborator, you will enrich your vocabulary and avoid plagiarism, which is the ultimate goal.

7. Add Value

Using all data that you have found while writing papers would be a colossal waste of time. Instead, try to add new value to the current topic by integrating your insights. Professors will appreciate it, and you’ll get a better mark. Of course, all teachers love to see you’re familiar with the topic and researched all available documents extensively.

8. Make Reference Page

You must correctly use quotations, paraphrases, and summaries to acknowledge another author’s work in your text. It would help if you did this every time you refer to a resource. There are several citation styles, and each has its own rules and detailed instructions to follow. Examples are Oxford, Harvard, and Vancouver styles, APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (American Medical Association), and CMS (Chicago Manual of Style). Data in the bibliography must be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name.


9. Plagiarism Checker

When talking about programs for identifying plagiarized works, Eli Smith says: “Often, the process of checking the originality of the text using these services consists of only a few steps.” He goes on by stating: “an online plagiarism checker returns a result that shows the percentage of overlapping text with other texts, giving links to these texts. You will get a report which shows the percentage of plagiarized content and the origin from which the content was downloaded.” Depending on the characteristics of the service itself, the characteristics of the downloaded content report, as well as the size and format of the documents that can be checked, vary.

10. Internet is a Source

You read someone’s book, you liked it, to the extent that you mention and quote it to your friends for days, but will this enthusiasm partly lead you to start writing something similar yourself? We doubt it. Because who will publish your book if it does not contain a new idea. Who will your readers be? This is precisely how we should look at the content we find on blogs, forums, and the Internet. Information literacy is the most effective way to avoid plagiarism. Therefore, the Internet is a source, and you must cite all sites included in your paper.

Wrapping up

Plagiarised content, whatever its form and level, is an act of fraud. Avoiding it only because it is not legal, and there are many plagiarism checkers, algorithms, and software for automatic detection are not the main reasons. It also takes work for moral reasons: to respect oneself and others. That person probably put a lot of effort and time into the work. And yourself – because what you learn when researching a topic and creating a paper will be a lot. It will benefit you in your later life, job search, and practice, and you will also enjoy the feeling of pride because you have achieved something valuable that others cannot learn. Therefore, always be ethical, keep your academic integrity, and let your works be based on scientific facts.

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