Online Writing

How to avoid Plagiarism?

Ways to Avoid Plagiarism
Written by Em-em Avila

Table of Contents

Have you been assigned a writing task? Do you want to make sure you make no mistakes while writing it? We know that writing is no easy task. Whether you are writing an essay, article, research paper, or academic journal, you have to follow a lot of rules to deliver decent content. 

Also, you will have to maintain the originality of your write-up to avoid negative remarks from your professor. 

However, it is not a straightforward task since writing involves numerous steps and a lot of research. You cannot complete an assignment such as writing without committing mistakes. Errors are bound to happen almost all the time.

Your article may have grammar issues, spelling mistakes, or any other issues. However, of all these issues, one mistake that you must avoid at all costs is plagiarism.

Plagiarism is a severe offense that can result in your write-up being rejected or getting remarked badly. It is akin to stealing and a serious case of violation of copyrights.

Let us first understand what plagiarism is.

What is Plagiarism?

The dictionary meaning of the word plagiarism is: “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (another’s production) without crediting the source.”

Thus, plagiarism is described as using another person’s words/ideas without giving proper credit to the original author. Plagiarism is termed intentional when a writer steals another’s work. However, it is more commonly unintentional and often because of carelessness, forgetfulness, or accidental.

Given the technological advancements and the plethora of information available on the internet, it is hard not to use various sources of information. However, one must steer clear of this offense to avoid any nasty remarks on one’s writings.

Are you still wondering how words can be stolen and cause a serious offense? 

Well, according to US law, it is a punishable misdeed. Words or the expression of original ideas are considered intellectual property. Copyright laws protect it.

Almost all types of expression are protected by copyright if recorded in some way. For example, a book or a computer file is one such copyright-protected entity. 

Types of Plagiarism

Some of the common types of plagiarism that you must be aware of are:

  1. Direct plagiarism: It is a word-to-word copy of someone’s work without proper citation or attribution. This kind of plagiarism is academically dishonest. It may be a deliberate action—this type of offense results in disciplinary action against the plagiarizer. 
  1. Self-plagiarism: This type of plagiarism occurs when a writer or a student submits his or her previous work. Or if the user uses certain parts of the previous work without permission. Also, it is termed self-plagiarism when a previous work is re-submitted at different places sans approval.
  1. Mosaic plagiarism: This kind of plagiarism is also known as patchwriting. It happens when a writer borrows specific words/phrases from a source and uses them without quotation marks. Or the writer may replace certain words with synonyms, keeping the original structure intact.
  1. Accidental plagiarism: Accidental plagiarism occurs when you unintentionally borrow or paraphrase another’s work or fail to quote another’s work.

Whatever may be the type or case, plagiarism is academically dishonest, and you must be responsible for avoiding it.

The Actions That Cause Plagiarism:

You must understand the action that results in plagiarism to learn to avoid it in the first place. This knowledge also helps correct those mistakes. Let us walk you through the actions that result in plagiarism. Usually, it is considered plagiarism when you:

  • Do not cite the source of the phrases or excerpts from other’s work and use it as your own. It does not matter, even if it was unintentional.
  • Do not use quotation marks when borrowing a particular phrase or paragraph from another source. 
  • Do not acknowledge hard data (the data which must not alter in any sense). This leads to accidental plagiarism.
  • Cite a wrong source, whether it is intentional or unintentional. Quoting a phrase from one source and attributing it to other results in a violation of copyrights.

Reasons to avoid Plagiarism: 

Usually, the effects of plagiarism may vary from ethical, personal, or even legal consequences. Now you understand what can cause plagiarism, learn the effects of plagiarism. We have curated some reasons why is it vital to avoid plagiarism:

  • Adversely impacts reputation: Students are involved in academic writing, and practicing plagiarism may lead to a low score or even suspension.
  • Legal issues: The original author may file civil charges against the plagiarizing individual in severe cases. As a result of which, legal actions may be encountered.
  • Face penalties: The plagiarizer may have to face a fine if charged by the original author.

These are some of the issues caused by plagiarism. The consequences of plagiarism may range from moderate to severe. However, it is always better to avoid plagiarism to prevent any punishments associated with it.

5 Essential Tips to Avoid Plagiarism

Since you know the adverse effects of plagiarism, it’s best if you evade it at all costs. However, how do you do it when you have to use another’s work? We know that it sometimes becomes unavoidable to borrow specific phrases or ideas.

Avoiding plagiarism is paramount to the writer. Fortunately, it is not so tough to avoid plagiarism. With a basic understanding of what plagiarism is and its effects, you can help avoid this mistake. Here we have listed some valuable tips that you can make use of:

  1. Cite your source without fail: Add citation whenever you use or allude to some idea, fact, saying, or quote that is not yours. It must help identify the original source. The citation must provide details such as full name, publication date, and any other essential element.

Whatever citation style guide you are using, ensure that you follow it thoroughly.

  1. Use quotations: If you use someone’s words verbatim in your work, one of the most basic yet obvious strategies to avoid plagiarism. And you avoid plagiarism by surrounding the other’s quote with quotation marks. Doing so indicates that the words are not yours. A direct quote should include a source citation so that readers may know where the quote came from.
  1. Paraphrase the information: Paraphrasing means rewriting a text, phrase, sentence, or paragraph in your own words without changing its original meaning. You rewrite someone’s words without changing their core meaning.

Paraphrasing requires a bit of work. You must reword and format the writing in an authentic way. And you also must avoid using any similar words or phrases from the source. Paraphrasing can slip into plagiarism easily, so be careful.

Remember that you are using a source for writing, therefore cite the source in the required citation style. You can use a paraphrasing tool if necessary. 

  1. Research and present your ideas: Explore what you want to write. Research and dig every helpful information—question yourself from multiple points of view. Add your points and contribute your ideas to the source.

You have to quote or cite the source of your words if they are based on someone’s idea. 

  1. Plagiarism checker: You may sometimes inadvertently use a particular phrase or sentence without citation. However, to avoid such issues, use a plagiarism checker tool to identify such issues before submitting your write-up.

Many plagiarism detectors will scan your content to determine whether any part of your writing is plagiarized.

These are some necessary steps to avoid plagiarism and write effective original content. Remember that plagiarism is not tolerated anywhere. Be it your professor, a publication house, or an online site. 

Plagiarism is despised by everyone, hence you must be aware and be careful when referring to other’s work. Avoiding plagiarism is necessary for students and writers as it may be detrimental to one’s career or reputation. 

Moreover, with today’s technological advancement, it is easy to detect plagiarism with the help of plagiarism scanner tools. Therefore, try to research and come up with original ideas. The suggestions provided in this article can help avoid plagiarized content in your write-up. 

Make sure to use proper citation and quotation marks in your write-up. Inculcate paraphrasing and use the plagiarism checker tool to ensure your text does not contain duplicate content. Please provide attribution to all sources wherever it is required, and deliver original content.

You may find it’s a lot of work but be assured that it’s worth every bit of effort. With daily practice and perseverance, you will improve your writing skills.

However, just have patience and keep up with your routine and you will definitely succeed. 

About the author

Em-em Avila

Em-em Avila is a creative content writer from a leading Online Freelancing Platform---24Task. She loves to share information about a variety of topics including Academic Writing Tips, Freelancing Jobs, Digital Marketing Strategies, Virtual Assistance, and many more. Her passion for writing and sharing valuable information and helpful tips with other people is her inspiration in her every piece.

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