You are more than likely a little tired of hearing the word plagiarism, but, if you are conscious about doing well at college and university, then you should be clearly aware of what plagiarism is, how easily you can fall into the trap, and how you will be able to identify quickly if you have mistakenly plagiarised someone else’s work and remove it.
Tip 1 – Know what Plagiarism is
You should become accustomed to what plagiarism actually is – essentially it is passing of someone else’s work as your own. Doing so in academic writing means that you are not acknowledging where you have gained the information and understanding of the topic on which you are writing, and after all you are not expected to know everything!
Tip 2 – Don’t copy any work verbatim
Copying work verbatim means copying someone else’s work word for word with no acknowledgment to who or where the work has come from. This is different from a direct citation, as with a citation you are acknowledging where exactly the words have come from as well as evidence of your reading.
Tip 3 – Copying and Pasting is a no, no
You should resist the temptation of copying and pasting any material from someone else’s work and changing a few verbs around, and replacing a few other words just isn’t right. Even if you put a reference to where you got this information in reference list as you are still copying most of the words from the original writing.
Tip 4 – Keep track of your sources
You may do all of your research on a note pad, and at the back write down all of the full references of the sources you are using. I used to do this and found it to be of great help – it is so frustrating when you have a great quotation, but can’t use it as you can not remember where in the hell you actually jotted it down from. Keeping track of and organising your sources is key to keeping on top of preventing plagiarism.
Tip 5 – Practise expressing some else’s ideas
You will be writing about many different author’s notions and ideas throughout your work, so practicing doing so will lead to you increasingly understanding how to do this process. You want to be able to express other people’s opinions and processes fluently and not being able to do so can lead you to copy and plagiarism other individual’s work.
Tip 6 – Believe in your own writing and conclusions
You wouldn’t have be able to get into your current course if people didn’t think you would be able to complete the work set out without committing plagiarism. You want to be able to prove to yourself how much you want your qualification and you should be able to write in your won words an understanding of certain theories and understanding within a chosen topic. You will need to conclude your writing too, so you will need to know in-depth about what you have written in your paper.
Tip 7 – Check your work
Sometimes, and even without noticing, you could be plagiarising someone else’s work in your essay or paper. This isn’t because you have done it knowingly, but it could be that the 2am mad writing session was pretty tiring and you actually added a part of a paragraph that now doesn’t look like your actual writing. Checking through your own work will mean that you should spot some areas that you may have approached the plagiarism boundary and need to steer yourself away from it.
You could also additionally have a professional proofreader look over your document for you and bring a different view to your writing, this increases your chances of making sure your work doesn’t contain any plagiarism.