The best way to avoid unintentional plagiarism in academic paper
Teachers already know far too often what to expect from students who have learned various methods of cheating. What do the lazy students usually do? They plagiarize in this or that manner. They upload works from so-called “paper mills” written by others, reassign the works of other students, or copy and paste bits of text from articles available online. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are different types of plagiarism, and one of them is unintentional plagiarism, which occurs because of unawareness, absent-mindedness, and sometimes just from laziness. How is it possible? Let’s take a closer look at the issue.
What are the reasons why unintentional plagiarism occurs?
Unintentional plagiarism is rather complex, and it happens for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps the first and the foremost reason is that students are unaware of such things as unintentional plagiarism, which means they don’t know how to avoid it. Awareness is the key, and instructors must take some time to teach students about all kinds of plagiarism.
Another reason is that students forget or just don’t know the rules for writing bibliographies, references, citations, and quotations. These are all must-know topics for students, and if they fail to stick to the rules, they could face a lot of unpleasant consequences. Among other reasons that lead to unintentional plagiarism is a lack of paraphrasing skill. Some students find it rather challenging to reword pieces of source text used in writing their papers. Learning how to put something into your own words seems difficult, but with a bit of practice is easier than many might think.
One more reason is poor planning. When students procrastinate and have to quickly throw together a project they should have been working on for weeks, bad things can happen. When in a hurry, students forget to revise their writing and check if their quotes and references are all right. It is a pity when students get a lower grade just because they waited until the last minute to complete an assignment.
Also, students who work with primarily with just one source of information are bound to run into trouble. You quickly get caught in an endless loop of writing the same thing as that one other author writes. When students lack multiple points of view, their writing inevitably becomes rather one-sided.
One of the best things students can do to avoid unintentional plagiarism is to use anti-plagiarism software that can detect any type of plagiarism automatically. Teachers tend to use plagiarism checkers when assessing student papers, and it’s a good idea for students to make sure everything’s fine before submitting their work to their instructors.
What should you do to avoid plagiarism?
Avoiding plagiarism is a major concern for both students and teachers, and practically everyone in school knows a few secrets of successful writing without plagiarism. I would also like to provide you with a few tips that help me write good, original papers and avoid unintentional plagiarism. It took me some time to figure out what I should do to be successful. You’re welcome to use these tips too. Here they are:
- Always indicate the source of information you use and the author’s name. Even when you paraphrase a piece of text, still it’s going to be unintentional plagiarism if you don’t mention who said it first.
- Take notes from those sources you use for your own work, jotting down names of authors you quote, marking those parts of the text you quoted so you can check them later, and make sure everything’s cited properly when making revisions.
- Develop your paraphrasing skills. What do I usually do to paraphrase? I read the text two or three times and put down everything I remember without looking at the text. Also, while reading I note key points or put down a plan so that later, based on this draft, I will be able to reproduce my own writing.
- Learn citation styles and use citation generators. You already know there are a number of citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, and so on), and all of them have their own peculiarities. Tools that automatically generate citations are a great help here because they can arrange a citation in any style you want in a matter of seconds.
- Learn proper formatting for papers and quotation marks usage. These things seem to be rather insignificant, but sometimes incorrect formatting is one of reasons unintentional plagiarism occurs.
- Don’t quote too much. There’s the matter of fair use, and if you include huge pieces of “borrowed” text in your paper, you might be infringing on the author’s copyright.
- Stick to your own ideas. Quoting and borrowing somebody else’s ideas is fine, but most teachers are interested in your point of view, experience, and research.
I hope my tips are helpful to you, and that my recommendations will assist you in writing original, high-quality, and plagiarism-free works. Take care and stay original!