How to Avoid Plagiarism in Academic Writing


Parag Narang | Updated: 16-06-2020 18:16 IST | Created: 16-06-2020 18:16 IST
How to Avoid Plagiarism in Academic Writing
Image Credit: Flickr

Academic integrity and honesty are crucial principles of most educational institutions. For this reason, plagiarism in college papers is considered unacceptable and can lead to lower grades and other punitive actions, including expulsion. Students who learn how to write essays and paraphrase initial sources starting from elementary school have fewer problems with sticking to the plagiarism-free policies. On the other hand, international students with the educational system that differs from that of the US or the UK may sometimes face difficulties understanding what is considered plagiarism and what is not.

Fortunately, it's never too late to learn new things. So, let's dive deeper into understanding plagiarism and ways to avoid it in academic writing!

  • Consult your college policies

Before we give recommendations on how to compose high-quality non-plagiarized essays, let's determine what plagiarism in academic writing is. Plagiarism is using someone else's ideas as your own without indicating their authorship. Some colleges indicate as plagiarized only those pieces of text which coincide with the initial source entirely, word-by-word, whether others say that paraphrasing without the source being mentioned in the references is also a type of plagiarism. Ask your teacher about the academic policy of your educational institution before you start writing your paper.

Don't forget that there are multiple formatting styles and they all have different requirements towards referencing your sources. Make sure that you quote your sources the right way by having an example of a well-composed paper in front of you. There are multiple online companies that can help you with this by providing you with an excellent sample composed according to the latest version of the formatting style your college applies. Make sure to order your custom-written paper from a cheap reliable essay writing service with vast experience, like CustomWritings, which is committed to providing students with professional essay writing assistance.

  • Write down your sources

Practice shows that if you don't make notes from the very beginning, you won't remember where did you get one or another idea when you finish your paper. Completing your references can take you several hours. To make it quicker, make sure to write down all details on your sources from the very beginning, including the page of the book, the journal, or the manual you're referencing to.

  • Find some professional help

Ask for assistance from a custom professional essay writing service when you feel like no authentic idea comes to your mind. You will see how to make the most common topic look original and interesting. What is more, you will receive a list of sources that you can research in order to find some new viewpoints on your assignment.

  • Extend your vocabulary

Completing proper papers for ENL students is easier than for those for whom English is not a native language. One of the reasons is that international students find it difficult to paraphrase complex ideas. Use Thesaurus to find synonyms for various words and notions and don't forget to reference the source of your idea even if you haven't copied it word-by-word. One of the easiest ways to paraphrase the quotation is by reading it several times and then trying to express it in your own words without looking at the initial piece of text.

  • Don't cheat when trying to hide plagiarism

Plagiarism-detection software like Turnitin knows that some students try to cheat it in various ways. Some of them change passive voice into active or the singular into the plural in order to hide plagiarism. Some of them go even further and try to use Cyrillic characters in their English papers to cover up copied pieces of text. The bad news for such cheaters is that modern software applies the algorithms that can easily spot these tricks.

Double-check your papers by yourself before you turn them in. Fortunately, today there are many online services that offer plagiarism checking for free or for a small fee. If you are not sure whether you have indicated all the sources you've used in your assignment, double-check yourself. Plagiarism-checkers will also help you to remember all the sources you've used in your paper. The thing is, many of them give their clients not only the percentage of phases that have similarities with the open Internet sources but also indicate the exact web pages with which your text coincides.

  • Every source counts

Some students think that if they've used a YouTube lecture or some TED-talk as their main source, they don't have to mention them in their references. This is a false statement as every source counts. Check out how to cite audio and video materials and write them down on your bibliography page.

If you decide to make fast research using articles from popular though not trustworthy websites like Wikipedia, make sure to dive a bit deeper and check out the references section. There you will find the original sources the Wikipedia article author has used in his or her research. Make sure that the idea you've read coincides with the abstract of the initial paper and cite it properly.

This method will also help you to maintain your references on the high level, as some of the online sources are considered to be unreliable and might be the reason for a lower mark for your assignment.

Don't forget to mention the translated sources. If English is your second language, the chances that you're going to use some sources written in your mother tongue are high. Though it may seem that the plagiarism-detection software won't spot such a trick, you still might be caught and be accused of plagiarism if you don't mention the source you've translated.

Remember that your papers should contain some academic or scientific novelty. This means that even if you're composing an essay on a typical topic, there should be something in it that will differentiate your work from assignments of the rest of the class. You can add some novice to your assignment by using unusual sources or by trying to look at the problem in question from a new perspective. Whatever strategy of writing your papers you choose, remember to always mention the books, manuals, and websites that have influenced your viewpoint.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are the personal views of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)

Give Feedback