Leanne R.
Leanne R.

How to Avoid Plagiarism in 5 Easy Ways

7 min read

Published on: Dec 19, 2020

Last updated on: Dec 29, 2022

How to Avoid Plagiarism

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It may be tempting to cut and paste when writing a paper, but it's not worth the risk. Plagiarism is serious business. In some cases, it can even lead to academic dishonesty charges. If you want to stay on the right side of the law, then avoid plagiarizing your work.

If you have ever struggled with plagiarism, then this blog is for you!

There are many ways to avoid plagiarism in the modern age. All you have to do is follow these 5 easy steps mentioned in the blog below, and you will be on your way to being a more original writer.

What is Plagiarism?

As per the dictionary definition of plagiarism, “to plagiarise” means:

“to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (another’s production) without crediting the source.”

The definition of plagiarism includes instances when another’s ideas are used without crediting them. Even if you were carelessly using the words or ideas of someone else, just by accidentally pasting their work into your own and not giving proper citation can lead you into trouble.

In the tech-forward culture, it is easy to simply copy and paste another person’s work without crediting them. However, this has serious consequences in academic settings as well as professional ones.

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5 Easy Ways to Avoid Plagiarism

Now you have a foundational understanding of what plagiarism really means, avoiding it will become easier for you. To help you steer clear from plagiarising someone else’s work, here are five ways to avoid plagiarism:

1. Properly Cite all the Sources

Alluding to an idea or wording that's not your own is a tricky thing, but it doesn't have to be if you use citations in your writing. When allusions are drawn from outside sources and included within the text, they have to be cited properly.

The most important citation details in academic research papers include full names of authors, dates published with appropriate documentation (DOI, page number, journal or volume number, etc.).

The following details in your paper should be mentioned with accurate references:

  • Text or concept that is taken from someone else’s publication
  • Your own text, information, data published somewhere else

The following components in your paper do not need citations:

  • Your results or scientific evidence gathered by you during experimentation or study
  • Universal facts or common knowledge

Moreover, the citations should be given according to the required format. You can go through the MLA format guide or the APA format guide to learn the two most popularly used citation styles.

2. Quote the Information

Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else's work as your own. One way to avoid this behavior is by using quotation marks around any direct quotes. This is done for the readers to know where these words came from. You can also use citation labels like "direct quote" or "quotation.”

To make your paper more interesting and engaging, use quotes. The quote should be exactly as it appears in the original work you're citing – not just a summarization or paraphrase of their ideas.

3. Paraphrase all the Used Literature

Paraphrasing is when you rewrite someone's ideas or information in your own words. You don't change the meaning of what they said, but you do change the wording and how it looks on paper.

A paraphrase shouldn't be plagiarized, which means you shouldn't copy their sentences word for word. But if done correctly, paraphrasing can be original and make your writing sound good by using more descriptive words.

Paraphrasing is a great way to make your writing more creative and engaging. But it can be risky if not done correctly!

Difference between Quoting and Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing and quotes are two different techniques that you can use in your academic papers.

Quotes show the original author's words, while paraphrases make it easier for readers because they summarize the author’s ideas with some changes. So, the reader still understands what was said before.

In general, paraphrasing should be used over quoting whenever possible. This is because it shows an understanding of meaning. Additionally, when using long passages, it becomes hard to remember quotes and easy to understand the meaning expressed in paraphrases.

4. Write Your Own Ideas and Research More

Parrots are often boring because they only repeat what their source said. To make a captivating argument, you should explore your own ideas and perspective instead of just repeating other people's words verbatim or alluding back to another person’s thoughts.

But, while expressing your thoughts, do not commit self-plagiarism!

One of the most common mistakes students make is recycling their previous words. This is known as "self-plagiarism." It is when writers reuse their words on different assignments without permission. It can be tempting, but the risk involved with this action makes it a very poor idea to do so.

5. Run Through a Plagiarism Checker

The use of plagiarism checkers is a common practice at universities. These programs scan your paper and identify passages that are too similar to other texts.

This gives you time to fix the mistakes before submitting them for review.

With this technology in place, there's no need to worry about forgetting citations or leaving quotation marks out - they'll catch any!

Avoiding plagiarism is worth the effort. However, in addition to being more aware of what constitutes plagiarism, it ultimately takes daily practice to figure out how to avoid plagiarism.

Practice the mentioned steps in routine writing, and you will become habitual of creating plagiarism-free papers.

Why Should You Avoid Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is a giant ethical dilemma. You are either taking advantage of others’ work, or you're trying to get ahead in life by any means necessary, even if that means using someone else's words without giving them credit!

Avoiding plagiarism is very important for a writer if they don’t want to compromise their integrity!

Other than losing the respect of your teachers and fellows, you could lose valuable professional referrals or future career advancement if caught plagiarizing. This is especially true in a school where this may result in the loss of a scholarship or leadership roles for some students.

Moreover, if an original source takes legal action against you after they find out about it, things can get much worse also.

Plagiarising content can be easy for people who don't understand the importance and implications behind academic integrity issues.

However, plagiarism is an unethical practice that harms the writer, other researchers, and the research community.

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Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

Avoiding plagiarism is important because it can lead to a lack of originality and integrity in your work. To help you avoid this, follow these tips:

  • Poor writing skills often result in accidental plagiarism. Learn the principles of good writing so you have a voice for yourself and can express your ideas with clarity without copying.
  • One of the most important skills a writer can have is paraphrasing. This involves changing the sentence structure, keywords but retaining the main idea. Paraphrase sources by taking what you've read and changing it in your own words, making sure to include a citation along.
  • Citations are a way for you to properly credit the author of any source that has been used in your paper. Choose a citation style that's appropriate for your discipline and familiarize yourself with it thoroughly.
  • Learn what plagiarism is and what it is not. Read about the types of plagiarism and ways in which you can intentionally or unintentionally commit plagiarism. Only then will you be able to avoid it.
  • Oftentimes, people assume that what they know is common knowledge for everyone else. But it may not be! You should always cite any information you think will help your argument. Don’t mark it all as general information.
  • Be careful not to distort the meaning of what was meant in a source. This doesn't only apply textually but also with charts, graphs and images.
  • It is important to make sure that the citations for your research are accurate. Check and double-check all information before using it in a paper.
  • Do not just copy-paste large portions of text without obtaining permission from the author and giving them due credit.
  • Use the resources available at your university, online, and from course instructors. Don’t shy away from help.
  • If you are in doubt whether you have paraphrased the text accurately or not, just put the text in quotation marks (quote it) and induce the citations.

Plagiarism is the act of using someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own. It can range from copying a few sentences to incorporating an entire paper without citing sources.

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. It can lead to expulsion, suspension, or other punishments for students who knowingly or unknowingly commit it.

Thus, it is important to avoid plagiarism!

Follow the above-mentioned ways and practice them in routine to avoid plagiarism in your papers.

Leanne R.


Leanne R. (Literature, Education)

Leanne is one of the most experienced writers on our platform and holds a Ph.D. degree from Cambridge. She has worked as a journalist, an editor, and a content creator for newspapers, magazines, and websites around the world. Leanne’s research and writing skills are unsurpassed making her one of the best-reviewed writers on our platform.

Leanne is one of the most experienced writers on our platform and holds a Ph.D. degree from Cambridge. She has worked as a journalist, an editor, and a content creator for newspapers, magazines, and websites around the world. Leanne’s research and writing skills are unsurpassed making her one of the best-reviewed writers on our platform.

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