Avoiding Plagiarism With Simple Tips & Techniques

, Staff Writer
Updated August 29, 2016
student getting second opinion to avoid plagiarism
    student getting second opinion to avoid plagiarism
    sturti / E+ / Getty Images

Avoiding plagiarism is important whenever you write, but did you know you may be plagiarizing without even knowing it? These techniques can help you recognize and prevent plagiarism in your work, whether it’s your personal writing or assigned papers and essays.

Six Techniques for Avoiding Plagiarism

Avoiding plagiarism is not difficult if you use a few helpful tips. These techniques will help you ensure your work is your own.

1. Make Sure You Understand What Plagiarism Is

There are several different types of plagiarism, which cover everything from directly copying someone else’s work to reusing your own writing for a different assignment. The first step in preventing plagiarism in your writing is to familiarize yourself with the various types. You can also look at examples of plagiarism. Once you know what constitutes plagiarism, you will be better at avoiding it.


2. Cite All Sources You Use

No matter what kind of plagiarism you’re trying to avoid, it will help to cite your sources. Don’t cite sources you didn’t use, and don’t use anyone else’s ideas or information without credit. Make notes as you do your research so you have a clear idea of what sources you used in your work.

There are different ways to cite information. It is always best to ask for the exact guidelines, in order to avoid issues with plagiarism. Examples of ways to cite papers include:

3. Be Careful With Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing can be a good way to avoid plagiarism if you do it correctly. You can present a similar thought to a source, but make sure you don’t use the exact same ideas or language. If you use too much of the sources’ material, it’s plagiarism. It’s a delicate balance, and it helps to see examples of paraphrasing to understand how to do it.

If you’re in doubt about whether you used too much of the original source information in your paraphrasing, you can always give the source credit.


4. Use Quotations to Include Others’ Ideas

If you need to include someone else’s ideas, use quotations to directly include that person’s words. Then, properly cite the quotation in the appropriate style. You shouldn’t use too many direct quotations in a paper or essay, but a few offer a good way to include others’ voices and ideas in your work without plagiarizing.

5. Find Something New to Say

One of the very best ways to avoid plagiarism is to come up with something new to say about a topic. Consider your subject and what hasn’t been said already. Form your own conclusions from the research you do. That way, you’ll be sure you aren’t using anyone else’s ideas or language.

6. Get a Second Opinion

Consider getting a second opinion on your work when you’re done. Often, the trained eye of a tutor or someone advanced in the field of writing can pick up on situations where the style and tone of the writing changes. By having your friend, tutor, parent, or colleague review the paper for you, you can learn of any problem areas before you turn your work in.

If you don’t have someone who can read the work for you, try copying phrases and sentences and searching for them online. If you put the search phrase in quotes, you can find any other exact use of that phrase. This allows you to fix potential problems with citations or rewording.


Plagiarism Can Be Avoided

There are many famous examples of plagiarism, from the Beach Boys to Melania Trump, so it’s not just students who struggle to avoid it. The key is taking some care in reviewing your work and making sure you give credit where it’s due. With some extra attention, you can turn in work that is your own and that makes you proud.