Plagiarism is a serious offense--and rightfully so. We often think of plagiarism in terms of written materials, but there are many other forms of plagiarism. You can plagiarize someone’s music, art, scientific research or anything else that was originally created by another person.
It is important to know this, because you can get yourself in a lot of trouble if you plagiarize someone else's work. It is alright to base your research on the work of others, but it is important to make sure that you aren't copying anyone's work directly.
Here are 7 steps that you can take to avoid copying or plagiarizing another’s work.
1. do your work yourself
This may be the obvious answer to avoid plagiarism, but is probably the most effective and surefire way to avoid getting accused of copying someone else's work.
Unless you are writing an academic paper and need the research and findings of others to help you complete the task, it might be beneficial to do the work yourself. Your content will be your's and you become the original creator and owner by default. If you feel that your writing is not the best, you can find a sentence helper online to restructure the ones you are skeptical about.
2. UNDERSTAND PLAGIARISM
Before you can start avoiding plagiarism, you need to educate yourself on what exactly plagiarism is. Know what to avoid and what is or is not acceptable. You will save yourself a lot of trouble down the line by getting to know the rules.
The basic rule of avoiding plagiarism is to give credit to any source you are directly quoting. If you do this, you should not have a problem with plagiarism.
3. be alert
Pay attention to what you put down on paper and give credit when you are using someone else’s work. You may not have any crude intentions when copying someone's work, but it is still expected that you state where the content originated from.
Perhaps paraphrasing can come in handy, if you don't feel like quoting an entire passage from an article or a book or an interview.
Always be on the lookout while you're writing to make sure that you aren't taking other people's words and using them in your essay without proper credit. When in doubt, always credit the source or the author of the information!
4. do not procrastinate
When you procrastinate, you pay very little attention on the little details and only focus on getting the job done as soon as possible. Eliminate procrastination and start your task early so that you have enough time to think about what you can write more thoughtfully.
This way, you will have enough time to proofread your essay multiple times to avoid spelling errors, awkward sentences, and, most importantly, plagiarism!
Rushing to finish your essay last minute results not only in a poorly written essay, but also possibly overlooked instances where you plagiarized. Instead, don't take shortcuts and give yourself enough time to properly do each assignment.
As soon as you receive the instructions and due date for an assignment, either start it immediately, write it in your planner so that you won't forget about it, or make a detailed action plan for how you will complete the assignment.
When in doubt, cite your sources!
Sometimes, people absentmindedly add facts they read somewhere once in a book or heard on the news one time. Instead, at times like these, go back and search for the source. Not only does including a valid, reputable source make your claim and your essay more credible, but it also helps you to avoid plagiarism.
When doing your research for a project, try to keep track of any and all sources that you use. Copying and pasting the URL's of websites you visit or typing in the authors' names and titles of any books that you get information from is a great way to stay organized and not lose track of where you find your information.
Start your bibliography as soon as you start researching. This will help you a lot later on, as you will not have to go back and search for the sources of your information.
As soon as you find a fact or bit of information you would like to include in your writing, start a new bibliography on a website like EasyBib. Make sure to fill out as much information as you can while making your bibliography so that you are giving as much credit as you possibly can.
A bibliography and proper citations are the best ways to avoid plagiarism! Even when they're not required for projects, I'd still highly suggest including one, just in case!
7. ask for help
Depending on what you are working on, ask the person in charge if they can help you. Try asking them things like, "What is regarded as plagiarism?" when regarding any specific assignment.
Getting a specific set of guidelines when it comes to plagiarism from each of your teachers or professors can be extremely helpful for you while writing the essay, and they'll appreciate you taking the initiative to come and talk to them about it.
Sometimes, you can get great guidance from these individuals and also learn more about the general rules pertaining to plagiarism. It is always best to be safe rather than sorry!
You want your hard work to pay off and not be disregarded by something as avoidable as plagiarism. You should always think about plagiarism from the point of view of the creators--how would you feel if your work was stolen and credited under someone else's name? Always have compassion for other creators, and be respectful of their attribution and copyright policies.
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Amily Watson works as a content manager. She specializes in writing useful articles for writers, students and people who want to improve their writing skills. Her hobbies are yoga, reading and blogging. Amily's life motto is "Believe you can, and you're halfway there."