Every student will have to write a lot of academic assignments on their way to graduation and getting a higher education diploma. Those are essays, term papers, research papers, thesis papers, etc. Some most dedicated and goal-oriented students will write dissertations to get their Master’s or Ph.D. degrees in the chosen field.
Let’s take a term paper as an average point for the majority of high school and college students. That type of assignment is what nearly everyone expects, doesn’t it? So, after you’ve got your topic, outline, and research done, one question will bother your worried mind. How to make your term paper free from plagiarism?
This article is called to help you find an answer. We’ll go from the very beginning. The first question to answer may seem absurd, but practice shows that it is necessary to explain some definitions even to experienced students and writers.
What Is Plagiarism?
Yep, that’s the question we’ll answer first. According to our experience, many people connected with the field of academic writing in this or that way frequently understand plagiarism not correctly enough, if not to say wrongly. What’s the point?
It’s quite a frequent viewpoint that anything you’ve taken from another paper should be considered plagiarism with no exceptions. However, that is not always the case. To solve an issue, we will use the online dictionary by Merriam-Webster. According to that company’s definition, you plagiarize something when:
- you intentionally steal someone else’s words or ideas to present them as your own;
- you use someone else’s production without giving the required credits to the source;
- you commit literary theft;
- you present the product or idea from the source that already exists as the brand new, original concept.
To conclude on this point, plagiarism is about fraud. It is an act involving stealing anyone’s work and lying about its originality later. And yes, according to the copyright laws enforced in most countries, including the US, an original idea is intellectual property, just like an invention. The fact that the idea is recorded (written in a book, a printed academic paper, or contained in a digital file, for instance) means it is protected by copyrights.
How to Not Plagiarize a Research Paper
Now, when you know what is perceived as plagiarism in both the legal and academic world, it will be much easier for you to understand how not to become a plagiarist. Here below, you can see five recommendations. Check every one of them attentively and remember recommendations well. That’s the sure way for you to avoid getting caught with an accidental plagiarism case. We won’t mention avoiding intentional plagiarism here, though, because you most probably know that the academic community does not tolerate that at all. That means one thing: you shouldn’t even try.
Let’s see how to avoid plagiarism in research papers, term papers, essays, and all other types of academic assignments. Maybe, you might want to make some notes while reading the following section. If so, grab your notebook and a pen.
Tell Things in Your Own Words
That’s the first thing to remember by heart when thinking about how to write a research paper without citing everything. Simply put, try to paraphrase the content whenever it is possible. It’s also how to copy an essay without plagiarizing it.
Still, be attentive and do whatever you can to avoid changing the meaning of the sentence, paragraph, or even the whole paper. Sometimes, it’s enough to use a single word wrongly to confuse your professor or supervisor.
Quotations Save the World!
Another critical solution showing how to avoid plagiarism in a research paper or any other type of academic assignment is quoting. Untyped quotes will mean that the content is plagiarized. On the other hand, quotes put correctly let the reader know that the particular piece of content was taken from another source.
Important note: you can’t change the quoted content in either way. It should be provided similarly to how the original author expressed their thoughts.
Proper Citing Is Effective
You should cite any content that does not belong to you. It is critical to give credits to anything you’ve got from another academic paper, book, or website. What defines the look of your citation is the formatting style. Don’t forget to check the paper requirements attentively and keep up with the required citation all the time.
Please note that you should provide citations for your own materials published previously as well. Suppose that you continue to develop your work from your essay that is already available for the public. Then, you have to cite your own work to avoid a so-called self-plagiarism issue.
We suggest you be especially attentive with this one. Students get caught in self-plagiarism cases more frequently than anyone might think. Sometimes, supervisors and committee members can forgive that, but in most cases, that’s considered a serious failure.
What you shouldn’t cite is any evidence collected after you perform some test, survey, research, etc. That’s your current contribution to the subject and topical knowledge.
Keep Your Sources Listed
Just record every source serving you as a reference. Special citation software had been developed for that purpose long ago. You may want to try Reference Manager, Zotero, EndNote, or any other instrument that you feel comfortable enough to work with.
That’s a simple step to do. But it can solve many issues and save your final grade, academic reputation, and entire scientific career.
Anti-Plagiarism Software Is a Must
As you might know already, the only way to avoid plagiarism in an argumentative essay is to check it using the reliable anti-plagiarism software solution. The list of checkers to use is unlimited, though, obviously, there are more and less reliable ones. Which one to choose is your call. The most popular ones available for free are Plagiarisma, Quetext, and Plagium.
Summary on Countering Academic Paper Plagiarism
So, now you know how to avoid accidental plagiarism in your academic assignments. Thorough approach towards citing, reference sources, paraphrasing, and quotations are your lines of defense. The use of anti-plagiarism software is a must-have case to guarantee the absence of plagiarized content parts in your essay, term paper, or any written assignment.
And, of course, don’t try to trick the system intentionally.