How to avoid plagiarism?

Most of the students have a lot in their to-do list (like the researches they have to do, people they must meet, articles they should write, books they must read, etc.) but they don’t have enough time. Some students are not able to do these things on their own, so they ask others for ideas and help. As we know plagiarism has a negative effect on the person’s character and profession. Also as is expected, academic work should reflect academic ethics and responsible behavior.

Therefore, how is it possible to avoid plagiarism?

Researchers can avoid plagiarism through proper preparation. To do so they need to know the subject of their study thoroughly and do research on it and in order to avoid plagiarism they have to mention the source of the quotes (cite the used sources). Before the start of the research try to answer these questions:

1. Do I have a good understanding of the subject of my study?

Researchers can avoid plagiarism through proper preparation. To do so they need to know the subject of their study thoroughly and do research on it and in order to avoid plagiarism they have to mention the source of the quotes (cite the used sources). Before the start of the research try to answer these questions:

2. Do I have a new word on the subject?

When you have a good understanding of the subject, you use less of other’s words and ideas. Before you start to write choose the subject of your study with an open mind and lots of searches. Gather books, journals, films, articles and other resources as much as possible. Referring to different resources not only expands your knowledge, but it also reduces the chance of inadvertent copying and plagiarism, while dependence on a single reference increases the possibility of using its words or ideas.

See if you have new ideas on the subject of your study or you are just making a summary or a paraphrase of other people’s works. According to T. S Eliot “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”  

3. Are my notes comprehensive?

Take notes but keep the used sources intact. Keep information such as Bibliography of the used books, authors, page numbers, website addresses. Always preserve the source of your information. Never trust other’s footnotes. Making use of Zamen Salamati’s plagiarism service, inspect the possibility of plagiarism in the text and change it if required.

4. Ask yourself if the idea or argument belongs to you?

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between your ideas and the works done by others. When you base your ideas on other people’s sources, make sure to bring them distinctively.  In some cases, it is possible to commit plagiarism by referring to your sources in an ambiguous language. The readers should know which are your own ideas. Inspect your work for any chance of plagiarism and avoid it.

Webster dictionary defines plagiarism as “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own”. As a general maxim make sure you do not copy more than two words together.

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