How to Avoid Plagiarism
Plagiarism is the act of taking someone elses words and ideas without giving him or her the credit and it is considered one of the worst offenses a person can make in his or her career. It involves not only the word-for-word copying of another piece of work, but close imitation of it as well, e.g. by using synonyms. Sometimes acts of plagiarism can be committed by mistake, just because students dont know how properly to cite their sources. Many students, unfamiliar with what constitutes plagiarism, can be guilty of it without even knowing.
As a student and throughout your professional life, it is extremely important that you understand what constitutes as plagiarism and refrain from committing it. Not only can plagiarism affect your grades; it can cast a shadow on your professional and academic reputation for the rest of your life. Moreover, if charges are pressed, a plagiarizer can face serious legal consequences.
Schools, colleges, and universities take plagiarism very seriously. Most educational institutions have academic integrity committees who monitor students. With plagiarism detection softwares readily available, plagiarists are sure to be caught. Many schools suspend students for their first violation and expel them for further offences.
Also, keep in mind that legally you cannot use another persons material without citation and reference. An author has the right to sue you if you dont respect copyright law.
That is why it is crucial to learn what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it before attempting any writing project. By following these three easy steps, you will never have to worry about being accused of plagiarism.
1. Write in your own words: restate information several times to verify that you’ve put it into your own words. Try thinking of the paraphrase as your reflection on what youve read. Also, if you get familiar with the subject you are writing on, and if you use several sources of information, it will be easier for you to write in your own words.
Here’s a useful tip to help you with this. Use Google Translate to translate a paragraph into another language: for example, English to French. Then copy and paste Google’s translation back into Google Translate and do it again with another language: e.g., French to German. Then translate that back into English. You will end up with broken English that is hardly comprehensible. Using the knowledge of your research subject, you can fix the broken English and create an article that has your own personal touch.
2. Cite your sources: You must include a bibliography or works cited in your paper. If you use a direct quote from another author’s work, then you must quote it and cite it properly. Many teachers accept the standard MLA format, unless otherwise specified. The way of citing differs depending of the kind of source used (whether it is a book, book chapter, journal, webpage, etc.) If you are copy/pasting the entire sentence or a paragraph, you must put it in quotation marks and mention its author and title, as well as the publication/webpage and page number.
If you are paraphrasing or writing about someone elses idea always give credit, by starting your sentence with According to
3. Use plagiarism checker: Always use an online plagiarism checker or plagiarism detection software to check your writing before turning it in. Universities also use computer programs to detect plagiarism, so never shrug off your professors warnings of checking your work for stolen passages.
Using plagiarism checkers like Grammarly, you can check your papers, assignments, and documents for plagiarism, generate citations, check for grammar errors, and improve the overall quality of your writing.