Avoid plagiarism and being branded a cheat as it could destroy your educational career and future. Here we give you tips on how you can avoid plagiarism.
Plagiarism is a severe offense of academic misconduct which can brand you a cheat – an academic record you do not want to have recorded against your name. If you are found guilty of plagiarism, you could face penalties such as a reprimand, termination of your registration, or expulsion from the university you attend.
What penalty you receive is dependent on your status at university. Suppose you are a new student in your first year of undergraduate study. In that case, the university may be lenient in their treatment of your offense, as they understand that transferring from college to university, you need to learn how to acknowledge sources properly. However, if you are a second or third-year student, such leniency may not be as forthcoming. By the time you reach 2nd and 3rd-year study, you should know better, and in particular, you should know how to acknowledge sources in your assignments.
What is Plagiarism?
There are different types of plagiarism. First, plagiarism in coursework occurs when one presents another’s work as one’s own without proper referencing or giving credit to the original author.
The second is self-plagiarism, where a student presents part or all of a previous assessment into a new assignment.
The third is collaboration, which occurs when you produce a work jointly with another but fail to acknowledge the partnership.
And finally, copying a fellow student’s work and passing it off as if you had created the piece of coursework is a damning form of cheating.
Tips on How to Avoid Plagiarism
Do not blatantly copy material word for word. If you reproduce information, always put the words, sentences, phrases in quotes and refer to it either as a footnote or in a bibliography.
Suppose you copy material without acknowledging the author. In that case, you show yourself up as not understanding the course work you are studying and can only repeat what you’ve found in a textbook, on a webpage, or in an article.
So the moral of this tip is if the work is not yours, do not use it unless you put it in quotes, italics, and reference it in a footnote or bibliography.
Use references to show where you got the information from. For example, if you state a fact, you need to reference that information so that a reader will verify whose statement they are reading.
Do not paraphrase someone else’s work or use the same sentence structure. It is better to read the information and then write it in your own words. But still, remember to refer to the original author. The best way to write a statement in your own words is to go through the necessary reading material, make notes and then pack it away and start writing without referring to it. It would be best to refer to the information once you have finished writing to check the correct facts.
Cite Sources. It is possible to avoid plagiarism by referring to your source by writing, “According to Dr. Davy…”
Or “Dr. Davy states that….” you can also present links to websites you have mentioned, or you can list the sources in a bibliography at the end of your article.
Time Management is crucial to avoiding plagiarism. Quite often, students leave things to the last minute, and in their attempt to catch up, they sometimes inadvertently plagiarize. The moral of this tip is don’t go preparation to one or two days before a deadline. Start working, researching, and writing early, giving yourself plenty of time to submit work that is appropriately referenced.
Check for Plagiarism: Before handing in your work, you can check it for plagiarism by using any of the numerous online plagiarism checkers. It is worth your while doing this as it will highlight plagiarism that you can put right and avoid being penalized or even expelled from universities.