5 Fail-Safe Ways To Avoid Plagiarising

Sometimes, when you’ve got multiple essays on the go, it can be tempting to copy things without putting them into your own words. In doing so you’re committing plagiarism, something that universities across the country take very seriously.

Whether you did it intentionally or not, you can get in serious trouble if you plagiarise essays more than once. Offences include copying or paraphrasing text, or not using referencing to indicate someone else’s work. Here are some tips on how to avoid all of it.


Don’t be a copycat

If you see a comment on a topic which you think would fit into your essay perfectly, quote the original author and reference it. By doing this, you can then go on to describe your thoughts on the quote and why it reinforces your particular point.

This isn’t plagiarism because you are giving credit where it is due. You’re adding more value to a point by expanding on the quote and talking about a subject in more detail. This shows that you’re discussing the idea and formulating your own views.


Don’t use Wikipedia

Wikipedia is hardly a reliable source; literally anyone and everyone can add and edit entries. While it can be helpful in guiding you and helping you gather ideas about your particular topicl it can’t be trusted as a academic source.

Never quote anything from Wikipedia in your essays. Always do further research and look at more credible sources.


Develop your own style

You’ve made it to uni so you must be able to write essays and get the work done. Trust in your own mind and try to develop a writing style which shows off your thought process. Always present text concisely and don’t be afraid to put your own stamp on your writing style.


Quoting and referencing correctly

Whether you use a short extract or a whole paragraph, whenever you use another writer’s words make sure you enclose them in quotation marks. Ideally you don’t want to go overboard and use quotes; however, when you’re identifying a key idea or want to highlight something in particular then it’s suitable.

In addition, don’t forget to always reference your quotes. Most universities have their own style of preferred referencing; ensure you’re familiar with it and comfortable using it.


Be careful what you use

Using any illustrations, maps, graphs and tables et cetera without captions to indicate where they’re from is also a form of plagiarism. You need to acknowledge any material or idea taken from a source. Again, as always make sure you reference it.

At the end of the day, you have come to uni to learn and expand your own knowledge. You need to be able to express your own views; if all you do is reproduce the findings of others, you won’t be contributing anything worthwhile to a subject. Next time you have an essay, think twice if you’ve referenced correctly and ask yourself if you’ve really put original thought into it.


Haleema Khokhar, also known as Kimi (a college nickname that stuck), is a journalism graduate working in the world of marketing and freelance writing. She loves animals, dance and a strong cup of tea. Check out her website and Twitter at @MyImpression_ you can also check out her personal Twitter at @KimiKhokhar 

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