How to Avoid Plagiarism
The best way to avoid plagiarism is to make sure that you are always:
- writing your own papers
- taking notes from sources instead of copying down whole sentences
- including the sources you are using
- when finding information, be sure you are writing down the name of the author and the book, webpage, or article from which you got it.
- then when you are writing, mention where you got the ideas as you are writing. Even if you aren’t quoting word-for-word from the source, you are using the ideas. This must be cited in your paper assignment.
You may notice when reading some articles that the writer has a name in parentheses at the end, such as (Tolkien 272). This means the writer got the information from a book by Tolkien on page 272. At the end of the paper, a page called References or Works Cited will list all the sources that the writer used to write the paper. There are many different styles of citation, such as MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and Chicago style.
Besides telling from whom you got your information, you also avoid plagiarism by writing your own papers. The Internet has made it easy to get information in a heartbeat. Instead of copying and pasting information, you should be writing down notes, just as you would if it were a book. It’s better to get a bad grade with original writing than to get a good grade with someone else’s becauase
- You aren’t learning how to write properly, which will affect you in the future.
- If you ever get caught, you will be in much more trouble than if you had simply received a bad grade.
An item that many people plagiarize all the time without realizing it is visual graphics, such as pictures and videos. If you are posting these to your social media or other online account or using them in a project, you must put the link from where you found it. For example, if you are using pictures for a poster, you can insert a text box with the link before you print it. It doesn’t need to be in big font so long as it can be read. Otherwise, write down a brief description of the picture in your notes and copy down the link. You can then write or type the URL link under the picture in your assignment. Make sure readers know you did not film or take the picture.
When in doubt, ask!
When to Avoid Plagiarism
You should always avoid plagiarism. Any time you have a paper, project, report, poster, even homework, you should be doing your own work. If you are using ideas and information from other people’s books, webpages, etc., you need to say so in your assignment.
Copying homework from another student is also plagiarism. That student did the work. Even if you know how to do it, copying it from someone else is cheating. Homework is one way teachers can tell if students understand the material. If you are having trouble, the teacher will not know that you may need more help. This will cause you a problem when it comes to tests.
Make sure that any time you do schoolwork you use your own ideas and writing, and give credit to information from other sources. If you are not sure when to cite information, ask your teacher.