Plagiarism is a severe offence to students who want to get good grades in their classes. It can also be challenging to avoid, especially if you are unaware of the different ways plagiarism can happen. This article will discuss some of the most common ways students plagiarise and what they can do to avoid them.
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Understand what plagiarism is.
Plagiarism is a serious academic offence, and it can lead to consequences. If you plagiarise in your writing, the professor will know it because they have read your work before. The best way to avoid plagiarising is to understand what it is so that you know what not to do.
Plagiarism occurs when you copy another person's work and claim it as your own by passing off their words as if they were created by yourself. This may also occur when you copy someone else's work but change some parts so that they appear different from their original version (for example, replacing a few words). In both cases, this is considered plagiarism; however, changing just one word would be considered academic dishonesty instead of plagiarism in most situations since there is no intention of copying the other person's work directly or indirectly.
Give credit when it is due.
If you are writing an academic paper, many people deserve credit. You should always credit the author when you quote or paraphrase their work.
You also need to credit the source of a quotation or paraphrase, even if it is not mentioned in your references list. For example, if you use information from a book but do not cite it in your references list and just say "the book said," then the reader will be confused about which book said this thing (if they don't know).
When citing sources for material that does not appear in print (e.g., audio recordings), include all available details about how one might access this resource (e.g., website address). Try not to rely solely on secondhand information when researching unless no other sources are available; if possible, try contacting someone directly who has first-hand knowledge of an event or person being discussed.
Note down the source of your reference.
The source of your reference should be noted down at the end of the sentence in which it appears. For example: “In this paper, I will show how the use of multiple sources can help make academic writing more effective and engaging for readers” (Richmond). The format for citing an author's work depends on whether or not it is a direct quotation or paraphrase:
- Quotation - use single quotation marks to indicate quoted words (e.g., "That is so true," said Richmond). Use double quotation marks when quoting someone else's sentence, but you need to use some words from your sentence to make sense of it (e.g., In this paper...). If there are no direct quotes but only paraphrases, then just put parentheses around your paraphrased material indicating where exactly it came from—the source should still be noted down somewhere else!
Avoid paraphrasing completely.
If you're quoting a source and paraphrasing it, ensure that the information paraphrased from the source is not precisely what you are quoting. For example, if you're using an author's exact words in quotation marks, your paraphrase cannot be identical to these words. Change one or two words and ensure that your new sentence has a different meaning than its source.
Do not use direct quotes.
One of the most common ways to avoid plagiarism is not to use direct quotes. Instead, paraphrase what you’re saying in your own words.
Here are some examples:
- “The human brain is a complex organ with highly developed functions and abilities, but it still has many mysteries that we have yet to discover.” vs “The human brain is a complex organ with highly developed functions and abilities; however, there are still many mysteries about the brain that we have yet to discover."
- “It was an amazing experience! I learned so much from working on this project." vs "I worked on a project where I learned so much."
Compare your work with your source material.
One of the most critical steps in avoiding plagiarism is to compare your work with the source material. This can be done manually or by using a software program (such as turnitin.com). Plagiarism checkers are designed to scan your work and compare it with other text, providing you with feedback on whether or not any portions of your writing have been copied from other sources.
You should use a plagiarism checker before submitting any papers for grading or publication, mainly if you use a service such as Turnitin that requires students to submit their assignments for evaluation by the service's artificial intelligence algorithms before submitting them for marking or publication.
In conclusion, you must understand the difference between paraphrasing and direct quotes, along with the types of variables. It is also vital that you note down the source of your reference so that if someone accuses you of plagiarism at any point, they can check your sources and see whether or not the accusations are valid. By following these tips, you can avoid plagiarism in your academic work with minimal effort—and reap the rewards!
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