7 Writing Tips to Avoid Plagiarism
One of the hardest things to do when writing is avoiding saying something the exact same way as someone else. If you say something that someone else has already said, without quoting them directly, it can be mistaken as plagiarism, even if you didn’t know about it. So what should you do to avoid this from happening? Well, the first thing you need to do is understand how plagiarism works. From there, give these tips a try when you are writing. They are bound to help you write what you have to say instead of rehashing what other people have already said.
1. Fully Understand What Plagiarism Really Is
The best way to avoid plagiarizing anyone else’s work is to know when you are copying what they had to say or not. If you quote their words directly, or cite that the thought or idea came from another person, you are fine. However, just by changing the order of a couple of words, you are not making the concept your own. You need to reword the information entirely so that it has the same end point, but uses your route to take the reader there, instead of the route that someone else has already mapped out.
2. Do A Lot of Research On Your Topic
If you take a lot of time to research your topic, you will be pulling information from numerous sources. This will help you give the correct information to the reader, without pulling too much information from a single source. Taking little bits and pieces from many different places is another way to avoid plagiarism. The fewer sources you use, the more likely you are to accidentally use the same information that source used. If you have multiple lines of information, you can hop, skip, and jump between them to still get the reader successfully to the point.
3. Avoid Quoting Anyone Directly Unless Necessary
Some people struggle with quoting sources or people, and it appears as though these people are stealing the words or ideas from their sources. If this is you, then avoid using a quote whenever you are not required to do so. Use the basic idea, and say something like “according to (the source)”, to give them the credit for the idea, without having to worry about any type of a direct quotation. This gives them all of the citations they require, without you having to worry about the consequences that come with plagiarism.
4. Learn How to Paraphrase the Basic Ideas
Paraphrasing is a great way to avoid plagiarism, when done right. However, it takes a little practice to get paraphrasing down. The best way to go about how to paraphrase an idea is to read each part of what you want to paraphrase, one sentence at a time. Once you read it, rewrite that sentence in your own words. Never use three or more words in a row that are exactly the same as the source, or it can sometimes be flagged for plagiarism.
5. Take a Unique Approach To Your Topic
Most people take a topic and can beat it to death, talking about it the same way a million times. However, it’s rare to find someone that is able to take a standard topic and breathe new life into it. Look at whatever topic you are tasked with writing about, and figure out a way to look at it differently than everyone else does. This can be a great way of introducing your own ideas into an over-used topic, bringing a whole new generation of readers into a fold that may have been used up decades ago, until now.
6. Cite the Sources You Do Use
When you do have to take an idea that was already used by someone else, then make sure you give him or her the credit they are due. Most people actually like you talking about their ideas and giving them credit. It allows them to be able to spread their ideas around, without them having to do any extra work. They just don’t want you trying to say you came up with it. That becomes not only a headache for you, but also for them. If you are not sure how to cite the work, do a quick Internet search for citations, and you will get a full list of the rules and requirements that go along with each style.
7. Check Your Work Through a Plagiarism Checker
When in doubt, run your work through a plagiarism checker. There are many of them that are free, and some that are paid, but most of them only cost a few cents to run your work against other online works. They will scan your work, and compare it to everything else on the Internet, giving you a breakdown of anything that matches up with something that someone else wrote. This will give you the best results when you are trying to put up work that is truly unique.
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