Truth be told, many students find it very difficult to write perfect papers that are free of plagiarism, considering it may cost them their career or degree and render their years of toil useless. Plagiarism is becoming a real problem, more so for students who are spending a lot of time, resources, and energy to write and present unique, original, and good quality paper.

A well-written paper is guaranteed to be a stepping stone to improving their school grades. Plagiarism usually occurs to the students mainly due to insufficient knowledge of a particular topic, lack of proper citation techniques, and inferior paraphrasing skills. Quoting other people’s material without acknowledging the source or the author is unacceptable and is treated as plagiarism.

While referencing, a student can easily fall victim to plagiarism by writing another person’s work and omitting to include a reference to allow the reader to easily differentiate the student’s work from that of other sources. A majority of institutions is using plagiarism checker, online software to check for the originality of the students work

Another cause of plagiarism is when the student is unclear about the common knowledge of a certain idea and lacks in expressing a concept in his/her own words. Another factor that causes plagiarism is a lack of commitment towards the learning process as many students focus on just acquiring an academic degree or diploma.

All in all, not all students who plagiarize can be said to be innocent; some pass off other people’s work as their own without a second thought. It is every student’s dream to write and submit to his/her supervisor or professor, a well-written paper that is free of plagiarism to avoid it being rejected.

Therefore, is it possible to write a unique and original paper that is free of plagiarism? This is the dilemma many students find themselves in and are trying anything that promises them plagiarism-free writing. To answer the above question, let us explore the various methods that are likely to help the students avoid, as well as identify plagiarism:

Paraphrasing

After getting the perfect information you will need for your research paper, it is always advisable to read through it, understand the concept well, and then write it down using your own choice of words. Make a note not to copy more than two words in a row from the material you found, as this will lead to plagiarism. In case you are compelled to use more than two words to drive the point home, make sure you use quotation marks. This will help to differentiate your work from someone else’s work, and by doing this you are clearly showing you have no claim whatsoever, to the words quoted.

Quoting

When writing your paper, and you feel that the best option to bring the best about a concept is by using another author’s exact words or ideas, you should always quote the source. While quoting the information, you should quote exactly as it appears from the source, as no one would like to be misquoted. When quoting another person’s work, it is improper to leave it just that way without mentioning the author’s name to give him/her credit. When quotations are correctly done and placed at the correct positions, you will be protected from plagiarism allegations.

Citing

This method is very effective in avoiding plagiarism as it tells your reader that certain materials in your work are not yours but came from another source. When citing you must include the author of the text, the title of the work, page number, and the date the information was published. By citing your sources, you will be giving credit to the original author and it is a good way to use other people’s work and not being accused of plagiarism.

When citing, it is important to use the document formatting guidelines acceptable in your institution i.e., MLA, Chicago, and APA. Won’t citing make my work less original? This is the question most asked by students. On the contrary, citing helps the reader to distinguish your ideas from those of other sources and helps on emphasizing the originality of your paper.

Referencing

Referencing is another way of avoiding plagiarism. Referencing entails including the reference page of the text or information cited. Referencing, according to the rule should appear at the end of your research paper and should follow a specific order. The method of referencing used should also meet the formatting guidelines used in your institution. The information should include the author’s name, title, the source, and the date of publication, and it should follow a specified order. This makes the reader clearly know your source to avoid mistaking it as plagiarism, and in case of clarification, he can easily get it whenever he needs to confirm a point.

Citing your own material

Why should I cite my own material yet I have claimed all the rights? A student may ask. If in the process of writing your current paper, you happen to include texts or words you had used in your previous papers, the best option is to cite yourself. It is advisable to treat the text the same way you would, were it written by someone else. Using the texts or words you have used in your past papers is referred to as self-plagiarism and is not acceptable. It will, however, be treated as if you have stolen another person’s work.

Citing quotes

Sometime, a student might find it necessary to quote work he has not yet read but he had encountered it in another person’s work. Just because he has not read it does not mean he can’t cite it in his work. He actually can cite the quote as long as he acknowledges the source of information to give credit to the author and to clearly show that he does not lay claim to the material. The author’s name, the date of publication and the page number the text was extracted from must be included; otherwise, you will be guilty of plagiarism.

Before handing over your research paper, you should go through your entire work, editing where necessary and check for any plagiarism. With plagiarism checkers easily available, one can assess the paraphrasing, quotation, citing and other skills. A majority of institutions is using plagiarism checker, online software to check for the originality of the students work.

You should, therefore, not play lazy by failing to check your work as plagiarism is a serious crime and should not be downplayed as it could cost your degree, diploma or career. The above steps should act as a guideline to help you deliver better results that will help you achieve your goals. You are therefore urged to embrace the above tips to avoid plagiarism to guide you into writing a perfect paper.