Plagiarism refers to an instance of using the ideas, thoughts, and arguments of another author without prior authorization and proper permission. It is the representation of another individual’s work as one’s own. A plagiarized piece of work not just showcases a lack of skills and knowledge, but it can also lead to copyright infringement. Plagiarism may also be caused due to the pressure of creating good quality content in the overabundance of existing resources both online and offline. Add to this the burden of time constraints which makes the act of copying someone else’s work unethical and unprofessional. To avoid plagiarism, multiple ways are there, the ways need to be followed properly.
While it is easy to find data and information for most research papers, it is not easy to include those data points into your paper without following for plagiarism. Following are some simple pointers which you should keep in mind to ensure that your speech, essay, assignment or paper is free from plagiarism.
Let’s start on how to avoid plagiarism
1. Cite your sources
Citing is one of the most successful ways to avoid plagiarism. Depending upon the formatting guidelines and citing regulations used by your educational institute, you could make use of MLA, Chicago, or APA format of referencing. Once you have mentioned the name of the author along with the date of publication and similar information you can comfortably cite the data from other sources.
When you are quoting a source or an individual you should remember to use the quote precisely the same way as it appears in the original piece of work. Doing so is essential because no one wants to be misquoted. It is a good practice to use quotes having 40 or lesser words. As a researcher, you should also know that citing a quote is different from citing paraphrased material. The former requires mention of the page number along with the paragraph number in case your source is from the web.
Including reference(s) to all the sources at the end of your paper is another easy way for you to avoid plagiarism. Referencing should also follow the document formatting guidelines laid down by your educational institute. A reference table is more specific and includes details about the author, the date of publication, the source title, etc.
4. Paraphrase to avoid plagiarism
Once you have found information that is perfect for your essay or assignment, the next step for you is to imbibe the main idea and paraphrase it in your own words. You can substantiate the main argument using personal examples or instances from history.
5. Start early
Many people do not realize, but a looming and stringent deadline can trigger the need to complete your assignment quickly without proper research. This can result in plagiarism. To avoid such plagiarism, make sure you devote enough time to researching, brainstorming, and writing your research paper. It is imperative to remind yourself that you need a buffer to edit and double check your content multiple times to ensure that there isn’t anything that is not yours on your paper.
6. Refer to more than one source
You are bound to fall under the trap of plagiarism if your research is limited to one source only. If you base all your arguments and ideas on one piece of content, then there is a danger of following its phrasing, structure and other characteristics. Therefore, you should try to refer to more than one sources. These include encyclopedia, websites, journals, e-papers, podcasts, interviews, and surveys. Referring to many sources also adds authenticity to your argument making it much more convincing.
7. Check for plagiarism regularly
The best way to make sure your content is free from plagiarism and hundred percent original is by running your content through a content checker at regular intervals of time. There are free and paid services available online which can be used to detect whether your material is duplicate or plagiarized.
8. Add value
Do not try to include all the data and information you find in external sources. Instead, try to add some value to the topic or the problem under consideration by mentioning your insights. This will not just help you in scoring high marks but will also give an impression that you have gone into the depth of the topic and understood the problem from various viewpoints. You may even ask your friends, colleagues, teachers, and mentors for their feedback and opinion.
The above tips and strategies will certainly help you in avoiding plagiarism. One of the crucial factors you should keep in mind while referring to other sources is the fact that their audience could be completely different from yours. You should also identify what information is necessary and should be cited and what data points are redundant and therefore, can be eliminated. Once you have grasped the context of the topic, it would be easy for you to produce a unique piece of work.
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