10 Essential Tips to Deal with Plagiarism
Plagiarism has become a normal phenomenon in research, which is not good news by any means. In fact, a study by The Center of Academic Integrity showed that 80% of college students admit to cheating at least once. Comprehensive papers require you to do some pretty thorough research, develop the structure and keep it within the provided guidelines. A lot of people prefer to forgo all that hassle, and that’s where things go wrong.
You may not know this but there are many types of plagiarism. All of them are serious and can lead to serious offenses. But the advent of technology has made it easier for people in charge to uncover plagiarized work, which is why it’s important that everyone understands what plagiarism is to avoid it at all costs.
What is plagiarism?
According to the Oxford dictionary, plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary adds that it’s also the act of using another’s work without crediting the source. In layman terms, plagiarism is the act of using other people’s ideas or words as your original work. Or taking another person’s work and presenting it as your own. It’s also the practice of lying to your academic instructor by presenting work you don’t own and claiming it’s yours.
In academics, plagiarism is a serious offense. It is against the standards of ethics and can lead to various penalties. This article to help you know how to deal with plagiarism.
Why do students and writers plagiarize?
Sometimes people plagiarize unknowingly due to lack of experience. Another reason why writers or students plagiarize is “laziness” as they don’t want to spend time on research. Some students will knowingly plagiarize simply because it’s the easiest way to complete an assignment.
Neither of these cases is allowed. Plagiarism is not only exclusive to the academic world but has also spread to other spheres such as literature, journalism, art, music, etc.
Types of plagiarism
There are multiple types out there. You need to be able to identify them in order to avoid them in the future. As we’ve mentioned some of it can be unintentional but can still carry severe consequences.
Although this can be said as a way of avoiding plagiarism, using this technique wrongly (if you don’t cite your sources correctly) can result in it becoming plagiarism. Paraphrasing is the process of rewriting someone else’s content. It is the most abused form of plagiarism these days.
Mosaic plagiarism is also known as incremental or patchwork plagiarism. It’s similar to paraphrasing and is the process of replacing works or content with synonyms in an attempt to use another author’s work. This is the type of plagiarism students use when they try to deceive their tutors. There are powerful plagiarism checkers out there including Turnitin that can still uncover it.
This type involves transferring content from a source to your own document without crediting the source. Some people will copy content from other sources and paste it to their document then truncate some words or texts but this is still verbatim plagiarism. The best way to avoid verbatim plagiarism is to quote (use in-text citation) the original source.
Accidental plagiarism can occur when one paraphrases another person’s work unintentionally. Or when one forgets to cite the sources of content or texts used in a document. Although a writer or author might commit this type of plagiarism, it is still not allowed. Just ensure you cite references appropriately. There are plenty of reference generators you can use out there to avoid this.
Sometimes plagiarism occurs when citing sources. Sometimes when in a hurry, you might cite sources incorrectly and this can result in plagiarism. This type of plagiarism involves summarizing or incorrect quoting of sources. The best way to avoid this type is to follow the citation guidelines.
Duplicating your own work
This type of plagiarism is also known as self-plagiarism and is the act of reusing your own work. Sometimes students and writers commit this type of plagiarism when they are asked to write about a topic similar to one they have already written about. In this case, students may be tempted to use the previous work and change a few things so that it can suit the question or topic assigned.
Making up sources
Finding sources to support your statement can be difficult. No matter how much you research and this is where most writers opt to come up with sources that don’t exist. Doing this will not only result in plagiarism but will also mislead other people –you will deliver inaccurate information.
Why should a writer avoid appropriation?
As a writer, plagiarism is prohibited and can result in ethical issues. Many writers who present plagiarized work do so intending to earn from stealing other people’s work. Regardless of whether you are submitting a college paper, or you are writing your own articles on your website or blog, plagiarism isn’t allowed.
If you plagiarize once, you make yourself look unprofessional and this can affect your writing career, in fact, you may never recover from a ruined reputation. For students, plagiarism can lead to suspension or expulsion from school.
How to Deal With Plagiarism
Now that you know what plagiarism is, the types of plagiarism, and why you should avoid it, here are several ways to deal with it.
1. Give Yourself Ample Time to Research
Don’t wait until it’s too late to start working on a document. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to start early so that you can have enough time to research and write comprehensive work. Sometimes lack of time is what makes people want to copy-paste other people’s work and present it as their own. When you do enough research, you simplify your writing process. Lack of research can lead to the submission of low-quality work. Organize your process so that you have enough time to research, write and edit. This way, you will avoid plagiarism since you will collect multiple sources that you can use in your entire work.
To gather enough information, make sure you list down key ideas and points you will use in your work. Once you’ve gathered a list of ideas, you can schedule your writing for another time; whether it’s after some hours or even after one day.
Sometimes you might do the research but still can’t find the original source which makes it difficult to cite it. This is where paraphrasing comes in. If you can’t find the original source of a document, you can interpret the text in your own words. That way you can make sure no two original words follow each other in the same sentence without changing the meaning of the text. Note that doing it wrongly can lead to plagiarism. So you need to do it correctly. You also need to credit the original author. “According to ProEssaywriting, a professional writer service provider……”, or “As Darren Blogger would put it…..”. These are just a couple of examples.
3. Provide Proper In-text Citation
When you cite materials, you provide all the required information about the author or the source of your work. That’s why we have listed it as a powerful way to avoid plagiarism. Different institutions have different guidelines concerning the citation style required for each paper. The common types of citation styles used in most institutions include APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and many others. Citing materials will also be helpful if you are using the work you presented previously and this will help you deal with self-plagiarism.
4. Provide References
Once you have cited all the sources you have used in your document, you need to provide a list of references in the footnote. There is a specific referencing format depending on the citation style guidelines. Make sure your references are accurate to avoid misleading people. Usually, your references will include the author’s name, publishing date, title, and source. Information in your references should follow this order depending on the citation style required for the paper.
5. Check for Plagiarism
Sometimes you might do everything possible to avoid plagiarism but still, end up with a plagiarized document. The best way to ensure no instances of plagiarism slip through your eyes is to use a plagiarism checker. The good thing is that there are plenty of plagiarism checkers online; some are even free but with limited features while others are premium with limitless features. Just make sure you use a reliable plagiarism checker like Turnitin or Grammarly to scan your document and uncover plagiarism instances.
6. Authenticate Sources Before Using them
Although there are plenty of sources out there, not all are credible. To keep your work from plagiarism, you must find original sources of information (both online and regular sources) and evaluate how good they are before using them.
To know whether a source is fit to use in your work find out if:
- The author is reputable.
- The information is credible (note that the author took the information from somewhere reliable).
- The date of publication (some sources are outdated).
- The source is accurate (the author supports his or her own thoughts or ideas properly).
Once you have checked that everything is fine, you can use the source.
7. Quote Sources
Note that quoting sources incorrectly can result in plagiarism. You, therefore, need to make sure your quote is written the way it appears in the original source. You must use quotation marks followed by a citation in brackets. This explains why it’s important to do enough research and write down notes when researching. You must also note that there is a recommended length for the quotes you use. For instance, quotes that are too long aren’t good. Avoid using too many quotes as well, as this will make you look like less of an expert.
8. Have Interest in Your Topic
Writing about something you are interested in can make the writing process be more smooth and flawless. One of the leading reasons for plagiarism is when writing something you aren’t interested in. When writing about a topic you aren’t familiar with or aren’t interested in, you won’t conduct enough research and this will result in plagiarism.
9. Understand What to Cite and What Not to
According to Layton Jerald, the author of the top paper writing service review, it is better to provide too many citations than to provide only a few. However, you need to know when you should cite sources and when you shouldn’t. Some information is just common knowledge or well-known so you don’t have to cite it. Even though some information or facts aren’t supposed to be cited, make sure you take precautions when using the wordings. You’d better interpret the wordings in your own words than not citing the sources.
10. Present Your Own Ideas
Instead of struggling to provide sources, references, or quotations, you can present your own idea. Just make sure the information you are presenting is your own idea and that it is informative and educational. But if you are referring to a source, you must stick to the tips we have shared above.
When writing, just make sure you concentrate on making your work as unique as possible. Don’t try to take any shortcuts when it comes to something as vital as research for your education or for your work. The consequences may seem trivial at a school level, with a suspension or even expulsion. At a real-world level, however, the consequences can be direr. It can result in a loss of credibility and trust if you’re lucky, but a lawsuit or even jail time if you’re not.