The internet has made our lives very easy, whenever we have a writing assignment to do the first thing we do is to go on the net and search regarding our topic. The information that we collect comes in very handy when we sit to write our assignments. However, if we are not careful with our actions we can end up in deep trouble. Yes, I am talking about plagiarism!
A lot of time students are accused of plagiarism and many of the times they don’t know how to avoid it. Below are a few easy tips on how you can avoid plagiarism and stay out of trouble.
Know what it is
The first and foremost thing you need to do is to know what plagiarism actually is. Yes, a very complex word but with a very simple meaning. Plagiarism simply means using someone else’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person.
Do not copy paste
You need to realize that the information that is available to you on the net is given by someone. It is someone else’s property, their ideas and words that are there so that you may only seek help from them, not copy the content and conveniently paste them as your own work.
Do not paraphrase
If you think that you can get away from plagiarism by simply changing a few words here and there and writing someone else’s ideas and words as your own, you’re very wrong. Just paraphrasing a few words is not enough, you need to cite the source from which you got the material from or the name of the person whose words you are using.
Use quotation marks
If you are using someone else’s words because you feel that they are very impactful e.g. a quotation by someone famous then make sure that you put those words in quotation marks and give the name of the person whose words you have used at the end of the quotation.
Know your format
Know what format (MLA, APA, and Chicago) you’re following. Different formats have different ways of citing sources. It also amounts to plagiarism if the sources are not cited according to the format that you have followed. So be very careful and make sure that you cite your sources according to the format
Do not take risks
You don’t have to cite sources for something that is common knowledge. However, if you are in any kind of a doubt about the information your using is common knowledge. It won’t do you any harm if you cite sources for something that is common knowledge but it will do you a great harm if your information does not turn out to be common knowledge and you haven’t cited a source for it.
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