Avoiding Plagiarism in Writing

When developing a paper, it is common for one to use information from third-party sources. Such sources provide sufficient information necessary for expounding one’s idea. Developing a stronger research paper requires drawing upon other people’s thoughts and including relevant content in your report. However, there is a difference between merging external ideas into your writing and misrepresenting other people’s views as your own. Plagiarism involves using other people’s opinions without crediting the original source properly. It also involves stealing other people’s work deliberately.

Four Tips of Avoiding Plagiarism

  1. Citing Sources Properly

Always record and cite sources in your writing. Keep your writing organized and compile a list of all citations as you continue with your research.  Add citation with the full name of the external source, publication date, and other elements based on the style guide. One way of citing sources is using footnotes or endnotes by putting a small number in the text and listing them at the foot or end of your text. Another way of citing these sources is using brief citations in the text and providing a bibliography at the end of the text with full publication information.

  • Use Quotations

Always use quotation marks when quoting other people’s work directly and providing the page number from which it is taken. Another way of expressing directly quoted information is by making a clear distinction between the quoted text and other parts of the text. For instance, you can indent the quoted paragraph, acknowledge the author at the end, and provide the page number from which the information was taken. Nevertheless, directly quoted texts should be used occasionally in your writing. Furthermore, you should only copy short parts and make them evident to your audience. Examples of content that can be quoted directly include exact phrases that apply to your current discussion. One can also use quoted wordings when rewriting would change the meaning of the content and when the source expresses information distinctively.

  • Paraphrase

Use external sources to get important points regarding the subject topic. However, you should write these points in your own words and acknowledge the sources used. Explain the main points by comparing and contrasting the opinions of various authors and including your own comments. This approach will help you avoid repeating the information gathered. It also shows that you have read, understood, and analyzed the information properly.

  • Express Your Own Opinions and Ideas

You should avoid parroting other people’s ideas and focus on what you have to say regarding the subject topic. Include unique perspectives in your writing to avoid relying on other people’s ideas. Express your opinion regarding information in the source through careful verb selection. For instance, you can use positive opinion, negative opinion, or neutral opinion when using verbs. Furthermore, you can use different reporting verbs.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to go through the source and understand clearly the information given before writing. Finally, ensure that the text is well structured with relevant and related points from different articles appearing together. Also, remember to include your views as a writer and express them in an organized manner.

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