How to avoid committing plagiarism

Category General

Plagiarism occurs when someone else’s thoughts or ideas are copied without credit or acknowledgement. Students normally run the risk of committing plagiarism when they are rushing to finish their assignments. Sometimes this is done intentionally, where paragraphs of text are copied and passed off as their own and sometimes students commit plagiarism by accident. This normally occurs when students do not give credit to the source or do not paraphrase correctly. Here are a few tips to help you avoid committing plagiarism.

1.     Don’t cut corners: When you are stressing to finish your assignments you may be tempted to just copy and paste information that you found online. However, if you do not rewrite and rephrase this copied information and if you do not give credit to the source, you are committing plagiarism. Always remember to reference correctly and put quotation marks if you copy direct quotes. Starting assignments ahead of time can help you reduce the risk of plagiarising seeing as you have more time to reconstruct your sentences and reference correctly.

2.     Remember to update your references: Remembering to reference every source you use will help you avoid plagiarism. Try and update your reference list as you work. This will help you ensure no sources that you have used have been left out.

3.     Use your own words: When you are writing your assignment, try and read a paragraph of useful information and then close the book or internet site and think about what you read. Then put it down in your own words.  

4.     Rather use direct quotes and don’t paraphrase: When students paraphrase, they may try and make their summaries original, however, they still may be too close to the original text. Using direct quotes is a safer option as you can then then give your opinion about how the quote relates to your assignment. If you do decide to paraphrase, try and make the text original and use your own words in order to construct the thought or idea you want to put down on paper.

5.       Try to work individually: When students work with a friend, their essays/assignments are usually very similar. This is because they normally use the same structure and resources. They then run the risk of plagiarism. 

Author: Aimee Serrao

Submitted 01 Nov 16 / Views 1617