Plagiarism in Academic Writing: How to Identify and Avoid It
BY SCOTT RAGIN
In the academic world, plagiarism is considered as a serious offense because stealing the work of another writer is an unacceptable tactic. Today, falling into the plagiarism trap became very easy and even tempting because the Internet has all information that could possibly be needed for a research paper, essay, article, or review. Unfortunately, many students and even some scholars make this mistake every year because a lack of their effort to write original text is easily detected by sophisticated software packages at education institutions.
The punishment for plagiarism offense is quite serious and often results in destroyed academic reputation, zero grade, and even expulsion from the educational institution. These short- and long-term consequences can be a bad influence on your academic career, so considering plagiarism as an option to complete an assignment should really be out of question. Instead of using this option, try some of these great and proven strategies to identify unoriginal content and avoid it in the future.
Strategy 1: Use Anti-plagiarism software
Identifying plagiarism is easy these days. There are a lot of websites that have sophisticated software that detects it in the matter of minutes. This online software is very easy to use: just copy the text you need to check and click “check” button. When the check is completed, you will be provided with a plagiarism report with the percent of the original text and the plagiarized areas will be highlighted for you to change.
Strategy 2: Paraphrasing
This strategy falls into “avoiding” category. Imagine this: you have found the information that is perfect for using in your paper. Instead of copying it, read it to the end to really understand the essence of the text. Now, when you know what the content is about, you can put it into your own words, which will help to avoid having unoriginal text. It is generally advised not to copy more than three or four words from the text without having them paraphrased.
Strategy 3: Quoting
This means that you take a short chunk of text from the source (usually a part of the sentence that has some important information for your topic) and leave it without changes. In many cases, when you need to provide the original definition of the writer or state his or her point of view, it is allowed to have their words quoted. Just put the quotation marks at the beginning and at the end of the quote; for example:
Competitive advantage is defined as “the source of company’s competitiveness” (Johnson, 2016, p. 123).
However, you need to remember that most of the text needs to be paraphrased, so the use of quotes should be significantly limited. Also, citation styles have specific formatting requirements for quotes, so be sure to follow them as well.
Strategy 4: Citing
It is one of the most widely used strategies in the academic world. It is the way of referring to the works of other authors with the use of parenthetical citation. Essentially, citing is conveying the thoughts of others via your own words and giving the credit to them. In addition to academic papers, this method is used in business reports, government agencies’ publications, and other works. Here is the example of APA style citation:
The effectiveness of student motivation is measured by their academic performance (Johnson, 2016).
As you can see in this example, you need to follow the rules of formatting styles as well. Contact your instructor to know which citation style is used by your institution.
Strategy 5: Get help of professionals
If you are short on time to deliver an academic work due to personal or other reasons, consider using the help of professional writing services. They hire writers with relevant academic background in particular areas to deliver the best work for the customers and, more importantly, provide original texts with plagiarism reports to prove that the text was not plagiarized. Of course, it is better to develop your academic writing skills by yourself but there is no shame in using the services of professionals when you are short on time.
The Bottom Line
Plagiarism is unprofessional, illegal, and disregarding, so avoiding it at all cost is the best possible strategy for modern students. Professors often say that it is better to miss the deadline rather than submit a plagiarized assignment and they are totally right about that. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies you can utilize to avoid plagiarizing the text that is widely recognized in the academic community.
Use these strategies to make sure your academic career advances with every written assignment you make. Besides, following academic integrity rules will also contribute to your professional career because you will develop appropriate work ethics that appreciates originality and quality of work.
Scott Ragin is a qualified educator, author and scholar. He is experienced in classroom teaching, training teachers and leaders and advising academic researchers. Scott provides assignment help at Aussiewriter and covers different topics concerning higher education and educational technology. Feel free to contact him at Facebook.