Since an academic essay is built upon existing research, studies, and popular opinions, you may accidentally plagiarize. Besides, there are so many rules that students often get confused about what is allowed and what is not.
However, as a general rule of thumb, you must know that using someone else’s work and claiming it to be yours is disastrous. You can also not reuse your old paper and submit it again, as it’s self-plagiarism.
So, you must avoid all kinds of deceitful approaches you may feel tempted to use for good grades. It is not as simple as asking a professional writer from a homework help service to do my economics homework or write a research paper.
So here are some simple and effective tips to help you avoid plagiarism in your essays.
8 Useful Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism
Avoid Rushing at the Last Moment
Do you know what student is more likely to commit this mistake? The one who has wasted their precious time, and now there is no escape from the nearing deadline. When you have no time to dedicate to a good-quality essay, you will settle for mediocre writing and might even plagiarize unknowingly.
Hurring affects your grades, gives you unnecessary stress, and reduces your efficacy. Hence, once you are assigned an essay topic, you should start working on it immediately, slowly, and steadily.
You can divide the essay writing task into milestones and focus on one thing at a time. For example, set deadlines for thesis statement writing, research, creativity, outline creation, finishing the first draft, citation, proofreading and editing, and final submission.
Paraphrase and Do Not Copy Others’ Work
You develop a viewpoint and collect ideas to support your arguments when you go through many articles, research papers, books, and other sources. It is quite convenient to directly use someone’s idea and change it a bit. But it won’t be enough. Your instructor can easily find the original source and charge you for plagiarism.
Instead, use a mind map or note-taking app to note your standpoint and supportive ideas. When you start to write your essay, include your findings in your own words. Remember, simply replacing a few words here and there is still considered plagiarism. However, it is considered ethical when you include arguments inspired by other sources written in your voice.
Cite Your Sources
This one is a no-brainer. When the literary world is so disciplined about not stealing others’ ideas and crediting the original authors, citing is a must. Every school and university has a citation style guide. Ensure you follow the guidelines given by your instructor.
Another common mix-up happens when you don’t keep a record of your sources and have trouble finding the correct ones to cite in your paper. Hence, it is the best practice to maintain a record of sources you are lifting ideas, information, and quotations.
Use Quotation Marks
When you use an idea from someone’s work verbatim, it becomes mandatory to use quotation marks and mention the author’s name. If you fail to do so, your essay can be marked down for plagiarism.
Appropriate quotations give credibility to your essay. However, you should keep them to a minimum and choose the ones that add value to the topic. Do not overuse quotations to quote others in your work because it reduces the essay’s quality.
You will be surprised that poor research can drag you down and get expelled for plagiarizing. How? When you rush and use only a few sources to form the base idea of your essay, you might end up doing a spin-off of those write-ups.
Furthermore, even if you are careful not to plagiarize, limited sources would give you a limited perspective. And due to this, you will lack enough ideas and arguments to develop an extensive essay. Consequently, you may copy someone’s entire idea and paraphrase it, which is still plagiarism.
Hence, research at length, gather more information, arguments, and ideas on a topic, and form your opinion from a broader perspective.
Include Your Insights
Essays are not only about using credible research, studies, and discoveries to prove a point or convince the audience of your argument. You can expand your essays’ worth by including your insights along with the ideas you put forth. Since you extensively research and brainstorm ideas, try to note down what you think about the topic and argument. Ensure that your opinion aligns with your standpoint in the essay.
Value adding will not only weigh up your write-up but also save you from plagiarism since you include original ideas.
Use Plagiarism Checker
Despite taking all the measures and being careful, you don’t want to lose grades due to unintentional cheating. This is where online plagiarism checkers can help you. Such software uses machine learning, data analysis, and sometimes AI to detect if a piece of text exists already.
These tools also pick scattered texts on a source, which is how those spin-off write-ups get caught easily. Hence, running your essay on such a tool is wise to ensure there are no issues before submission.
The last and most important tip is the most authentic and trusted way to ensure your essay is plagiarism-free. Proofreading is a must in every type of writing. It helps you identify grammar errors, spelling and punctuation mistakes, and any awkward phrases.
You also have to pinpoint flow and tone issues while rechecking your work. Besides, in essay writing, you must pay extra attention to the information you include in your write-up, citations, and references.
Cross-check the citations with your recorded references and ensure you have included everything. Also, recheck all the data and evidence and make sure everything is correctly mentioned. Edit texts that need polishing, and it’s done.
Avoiding plagiarism is directly related to integrity and honesty. When you make it a habit to follow the above tips, you will consciously stay away from potential instances that may lead to plagiarism. It only takes determination, accountability, and genuine efforts to write good-quality essays and avoid this unethical act.
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