6 Ways to Avoid Plagiarism
- Paraphrase - So you have found information that is perfect for your research paper. Read it and put it into your own words. Make sure that you do not copy verbatim more than two words in a row from the text you have found. If you do use more than two words together, you will have to use quotation marks. We will get into quoting properly soon.
- Cite - Citing is one of the effective ways to avoid plagiarism. Follow the document formatting guidelines (i.e. APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) used by your educational institution or the institution that issued the research request. This usually entails the addition of the author(s) and the date of the publication or similar information. Citing is really that simple. Not citing properly can constitute plagiarism.
- Quoting - When quoting a source, use the quote exactly the way it appears. No one wants to be misquoted. Most institutions of higher learning frown on “block quotes” or quotes of 40 words or more. A scholar should be able to effectively paraphrase most material. This process takes time, but the effort pays off! Quoting must be done correctly to avoid plagiarism allegations.
- Citing Quotes - Citing a quote can be different than citing paraphrased material. This practice usually involves the addition of a page number, or a paragraph number in the case of web content.
- Citing Your Own Material - If some of the material you are using for your research paper was used by you in your current class, a previous one, or anywhere else you must cite yourself. Treat the text the same as you would if someone else wrote it. It may sound odd, but using material you have used before is called self-plagiarism, and it is not acceptable.
- Referencing - One of the most important ways to avoid plagiarism is including a reference page or page of works cited at the end of your research paper. Again, this page must meet the document formatting guidelines used by your educational institution. This information is very specific and includes the author(s), date of publication, title, and source. Follow the directions for this page carefully. You will want to get the references right.