How to avoid plagialism

Posted: May 2nd, 2023

What is plagiarism and how to avoid it: A guide for students

Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own without proper attribution. In academic settings, plagiarism can have severe consequences, including failure of the assignment, course, or even expulsion from the institution. It is, therefore, crucial that students understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. In this guide, we will explore what constitutes plagiarism, the consequences of plagiarism, and practical tips on how to avoid it.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism can take various forms, including direct copying of text, paraphrasing without proper citation, and using someone else’s ideas without attribution. Plagiarism can occur in various academic works, including essays, research papers, lab reports, and presentations.

Consequences of Plagiarism

Academic institutions take plagiarism seriously because it undermines the academic integrity of the institution and the students. The consequences of plagiarism can vary depending on the severity and frequency of the offense. The consequences of plagiarism can include:

  • Failure of the assignment or course
  • Expulsion from the academic institution
  • Legal action in some cases

Types of Plagiarism can take several forms, some of which may not be obvious to students. It is essential to understand the different types of plagiarism to avoid it. The following are the most common types of plagiarism:

  1. Direct plagiarism

Direct plagiarism is a type of plagiarism where a student copies and pastes an entire paper, paragraph, or sentence from another source without proper attribution. This is considered one of the most blatant forms of plagiarism and is viewed as a serious offense by most academic institutions. It can take various forms, including submitting someone else’s work as your own, copying an entire paper from an online source without citation, or even paraphrasing a section of someone else’s work without giving credit to the original author.

The consequences of direct plagiarism can be severe, as most academic institutions have strict policies regarding plagiarism. These penalties may include failing the assignment, failing the course, or even expulsion. In addition to these consequences, direct plagiarism can also damage a student’s reputation and future career prospects. It is important to understand that even if only a small portion of someone else’s work is used without proper citation, it still constitutes plagiarism.

To avoid direct plagiarism, it is essential to properly cite all sources used in your work. This includes both in-text citations and a complete bibliography or works cited page. It is also important to understand that paraphrasing or summarizing someone else’s work without giving proper credit is still considered plagiarism. By taking the necessary steps to avoid direct plagiarism, students can maintain their academic integrity, reputation, and future career prospects.

  1. Self-plagiarism

Self-plagiarism, also known as duplicate publication, is a type of plagiarism that involves submitting the same work or parts of the same work to multiple sources without proper attribution. It is particularly common in the academic world, where authors may be tempted to reuse sections of their previous work in new publications. However, self-plagiarism is considered unethical because it can deceive readers and undermine the integrity of academic research. This can have serious consequences for the individual, as well as the institution.

One of the main concerns with self-plagiarism is that it can lead to a lack of originality in academic research. When authors recycle their own work, they may fail to contribute new ideas or perspectives to the field, which can hinder the progress of research. In addition, self-plagiarism can lead to confusion among readers, who may believe that they are reading original research when in fact they are reading recycled material. This can damage the credibility of the author, as well as the academic institution.

To avoid self-plagiarism, it is essential for authors to properly cite their previous work when using it in new publications. This includes citing the previous publication in the reference list and indicating that the work has been previously published. In some cases, authors may need to obtain permission from the publisher or copyright holder to reuse their own work. It is also important to ensure that any reused material is relevant and appropriate for the new publication, and that it does not compromise the originality of the work.

  1. Paraphrasing plagiarism

Paraphrasing plagiarism is another type of plagiarism that students should be aware of. It occurs when a writer rephrases someone else’s ideas or work but fails to give proper credit. Even though the writer is not copying the text word-for-word, it is still considered plagiarism because the ideas and content are not their own.

Paraphrasing plagiarism is often a result of poor writing skills and a lack of understanding of how to properly use sources in one’s writing. To avoid this type of plagiarism, students should make sure to read and understand the source material thoroughly before attempting to paraphrase it. They should also be sure to use their own words and sentence structure to convey the information, while still giving credit to the original author.

To properly paraphrase a source, students should also use quotation marks for any exact phrases or sentences taken directly from the original text. Additionally, they should include an in-text citation and reference list entry for the source to give credit where credit is due. Proper citation not only avoids plagiarism but also helps to strengthen the writer’s argument by providing evidence and credibility to their ideas.

Overall, it is important for students to understand the different types of plagiarism, including paraphrasing plagiarism, to avoid unintentional academic misconduct. Proper citation practices and a clear understanding of how to use sources in one’s writing are key to avoiding plagiarism and maintaining academic integrity.

  1. Mosaic plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism, also known as patchwork or incremental plagiarism, involves taking pieces of information from various sources and putting them together without proper attribution. This type of plagiarism is common in academic writing, particularly when a student is attempting to meet a word count or deadline. Mosaic plagiarism is still considered plagiarism, as it fails to give credit to the original authors and misrepresents the student’s own work. This can result in serious academic consequences, including failure of the assignment, course, or even expulsion from the institution.

One of the challenges of detecting mosaic plagiarism is that it can be difficult to identify if the student has rephrased the information in their own words. However, there are tools available to educators and students that can help identify this type of plagiarism, such as plagiarism checkers that highlight similarities between the student’s work and existing sources. To avoid mosaic plagiarism, students should make sure to properly cite any information or ideas that are not their own, and use their own words to convey the message.

Another way to avoid mosaic plagiarism is to break down the research process into smaller steps, and focus on each source individually. Students can take notes on each source and make sure to properly cite the information as they go. By focusing on one source at a time, students can avoid the temptation to copy and paste information from multiple sources without proper attribution. It is also important for students to plan their assignments ahead of time, giving them enough time to conduct research, take notes, and properly attribute information.

  1. Idea plagiarism

Idea plagiarism, also known as concept or idea theft, occurs when someone takes another person’s original ideas and presents them as their own without proper attribution. Unlike direct plagiarism, which involves copying words or phrases verbatim, idea plagiarism is more subtle and harder to detect. This type of plagiarism can occur in a variety of forms, including using someone else’s ideas in a speech or presentation, incorporating someone else’s research findings into a paper or article, or even stealing a unique business idea.

To avoid committing idea plagiarism, it is essential to give credit where credit is due. Whenever you use someone else’s ideas or concepts in your work, you must provide proper attribution. This includes citing sources and acknowledging the author or creator of the original ideas. If you’re unsure whether a particular idea is original or has been previously published, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and provide a citation or reference to the source.

Another way to avoid idea plagiarism is to develop your own unique ideas and perspectives. While it’s okay to draw inspiration from others, it’s important to add your own original contributions to the conversation. This could involve conducting your research or analysis, synthesizing information from multiple sources, or adding your own unique perspective or interpretation. By developing your own ideas and perspectives, you not only avoid plagiarism but also add value to the conversation.

Idea plagiarism is a serious academic and professional offense that can have severe consequences. To avoid committing idea plagiarism, it’s essential to provide proper attribution for any ideas or concepts that are not your own. This includes citing sources and acknowledging the original creator of the ideas. Additionally, it’s crucial to develop your own unique ideas and perspectives to add value to the conversation and avoid simply regurgitating what others have already said. By following these tips, you can ensure that your work is original and respected in your academic or professional community.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Avoiding plagiarism requires a deliberate effort to understand and practice proper citation and referencing techniques. Here are some practical tips on how to avoid plagiarism:

1. Understand the assignment

Understanding the assignment is crucial in avoiding plagiarism. Before beginning any writing task, it is important to carefully read and comprehend the assignment instructions. This includes understanding the topic, the scope of the assignment, the intended audience, and the format and style requirements. Understanding the assignment will help a student to develop a clear and concise thesis statement and to organize their ideas effectively. Moreover, it will help them to avoid straying off topic or including irrelevant information, which can lead to unintentional plagiarism.

To further understand the assignment, it is recommended to seek clarification from the instructor or the teaching assistant if any aspect of the assignment instructions is unclear. Students should not assume that they fully understand the assignment, as this can lead to mistakes that result in plagiarism. Seeking clarification from the instructor or teaching assistant can also help to avoid misconceptions about what is expected of the student in terms of originality and use of sources.

Another important aspect of understanding the assignment is to become familiar with the required citation style. Different academic fields use different citation styles, and failure to adhere to the required style can result in plagiarism. Understanding the citation style also includes knowing how to properly cite sources within the text and in the reference list. This will help students to avoid plagiarism by giving proper credit to the original authors of the sources they have used.

Understanding the assignment is a critical step in avoiding plagiarism. By carefully reading and comprehending the assignment instructions, seeking clarification if necessary, and becoming familiar with the required citation style, students can avoid unintentional plagiarism. Ultimately, taking the time to understand the assignment will help students to develop a well-organized, original, and properly cited piece of writing.

2. Take notes

Taking notes is an essential part of research, and it can be a useful tool for avoiding plagiarism. When you are conducting research, it’s important to take detailed notes on the sources you are using. This will help you keep track of where you found your information and make it easier to reference your sources correctly. When you are taking notes, be sure to use your own words and phrases, and don’t copy directly from the source. By summarizing the information in your own words, you can ensure that you are not accidentally plagiarizing.

It’s also important to keep track of the source of the information when you are taking notes. This will make it easier to reference your sources later on. Some effective ways to do this are by using a citation manager or creating a bibliography as you go. This will save you time and effort in the long run, and ensure that you are giving credit where it is due.

It’s important to be consistent in your note-taking process. Whether you prefer to take notes on paper or electronically, be sure to keep your notes organized and easy to read. Use clear headings and subheadings to categorize your notes, and don’t be afraid to color code or use symbols to help you stay organized. By taking detailed, organized notes, you can make the research process easier and avoid plagiarism.

3. Use citation tools

Using citation tools is an effective way to avoid plagiarism. These tools help you accurately cite your sources in the correct format, saving you time and ensuring that your work is properly referenced. Many citation tools are available online and are easy to use. For example, Citation Machine and EasyBib are popular citation tools that can automatically generate citations in various formats. These tools allow you to enter information about your source, such as the author’s name, title, and publication date, and then generate a properly formatted citation for you to copy and paste into your work.

It is important to note that while citation tools can be helpful, they are not foolproof. You should always double-check the accuracy of the citation generated by the tool and make any necessary corrections. Additionally, citation tools may 1not be able to generate citations for every source type, so you may need to manually create citations for some sources. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that your work is properly cited and does not contain plagiarism.

In addition to online citation tools, many word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word, also have built-in citation tools. These tools can be accessed through the program’s toolbar and allow you to easily insert citations and create a bibliography. By using these built-in tools, you can ensure that your citations are properly formatted and reduce the risk of accidental plagiarism.

Using citation tools is an essential part of avoiding plagiarism. These tools make it easy to accurately cite your sources and ensure that your work is properly referenced. While citation tools are helpful, it is important to double-check the accuracy of the generated citation and manually create citations when necessary. By taking these steps, you can avoid plagiarism and ensure that your work is original and properly cited.

4. Paraphrase carefully

Paraphrasing is an essential skill that can help you to avoid plagiarism. It involves rephrasing someone else’s ideas or words into your own words without changing the meaning of the original text. When you paraphrase, it is important to be careful not to simply replace a few words with synonyms, as this can still be considered plagiarism. Instead, you need to ensure that the ideas are expressed in a new way while maintaining the original meaning.

One way to paraphrase carefully is to read the original text carefully and take note of the key ideas. You can then try to restate these ideas in your own words, without looking back at the original text. Once you have paraphrased the entire passage, compare your version to the original to ensure that you have not accidentally used too many of the same words or phrases.

Another important aspect of paraphrasing is to cite your sources. Even if you have rephrased someone else’s ideas in your own words, you still need to give credit to the original author. This can be done by including an in-text citation or a reference list at the end of your work. Different citation styles have different rules, so be sure to follow the guidelines for the style that you are using.

It is also important to remember that paraphrasing is not always necessary. If you are using common knowledge or information that is widely known, you may not need to paraphrase. However, if you are using someone else’s unique ideas or research, it is best to paraphrase or quote them and give proper credit. By paraphrasing carefully and citing your sources, you can ensure that you are avoiding plagiarism and presenting your own original work.

5. Use quotation marks

Using quotation marks is another important strategy that can help you avoid plagiarism. Quotation marks should be used when you are directly quoting someone else’s words. This means that you should use quotation marks around any exact phrases or sentences that you are taking from a source. It’s important to ensure that you only use quotation marks for direct quotes and not for paraphrased or summarized content.

When using quotation marks, it’s also essential to include a proper citation for the source. This means including the author’s name, publication date, and page number if applicable. Citation styles may vary depending on the discipline, so make sure to check with your instructor or use a citation tool to ensure that you are following the correct format.

It’s important to remember that quotation marks should only be used sparingly. Overusing quotes can make your writing appear choppy and may indicate a lack of original thought. Instead, try to summarize or paraphrase information in your own words as much as possible, and reserve quotes for instances where the exact wording is necessary for the point you are making.

6. Use multiple sources

Using multiple sources is a great way to avoid plagiarism. When researching a topic, it’s important to gather information from various sources and incorporate them into your writing. This not only helps to provide a well-rounded perspective on the topic but also makes it easier to avoid unintentional plagiarism. When using multiple sources, be sure to cite them properly and avoid copying and pasting large chunks of text without attribution. Instead, use your own words to summarize and paraphrase the information you’ve gathered from your sources.

One way to use multiple sources effectively is to compare and contrast the information you’ve gathered. Look for similarities and differences in how each source presents the information and use that to inform your own writing. By doing so, you can create a more nuanced and well-supported argument that draws on multiple perspectives. This approach also helps you to avoid relying too heavily on a single source, which can make it easier to slip into unintentional plagiarism.

It’s also important to keep track of your sources as you’re conducting research. This means noting down the author, publication date, and any other relevant information so that you can properly cite them later on. There are a number of tools available that can help with this, including citation management software like Zotero or EndNote. These tools allow you to keep track of your sources, organize them, and easily generate citations in a variety of styles. By using these tools, you can save time and ensure that your sources are properly cited.

7. Seek help

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense that can result in severe consequences. While students must take the necessary precautions to avoid it, they might still find themselves struggling with the complexity of assignments or the lack of time to complete them. In such cases, seeking help is a viable option. Asking for help not only prevents plagiarism, but it also ensures that the student has a better understanding of the material.

One of the most common ways to seek help is to consult with the instructor or a tutor. Instructors are usually willing to provide guidance and answer any questions regarding the assignment. Moreover, instructors can also offer feedback on the student’s work, helping them to improve their writing and avoid plagiarism. Tutors, on the other hand, can provide one-on-one assistance and personalized advice. Tutors can help students to develop their writing skills, avoid plagiarism, and identify the best sources to use.

Another way to seek help is to collaborate with peers. Students can form study groups or work with classmates to discuss the assignment, share ideas, and review each other’s work. Collaborating with peers can help students to develop a deeper understanding of the material and learn from different perspectives. Moreover, students can provide feedback and suggestions to help each other avoid plagiarism and improve their writing.

Lastly, students can seek help from online resources. There are many online writing centers and plagiarism checkers that can help students to avoid plagiarism. Online writing centers offer tips and guidance on how to improve writing skills, avoid plagiarism, and use proper citation techniques. Plagiarism checkers, on the other hand, can scan the student’s work and identify any instances of plagiarism. While these tools can be helpful, students should still review their work and ensure that it meets the assignment requirements.


Plagiarism is a serious offense that can have severe consequences, especially for students. To avoid it, students need to understand the different types of plagiarism and take the necessary steps to avoid them. This includes understanding the assignment, taking notes, using citation tools, paraphrasing carefully, using quotation marks, using multiple sources, and seeking help when necessary.

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Plagiarism is a serious offense that can have severe consequences. As students, it is important to take the necessary steps to avoid it. However, if you find yourself struggling with academic writing or homework assignments, you can always count on to provide you with 100% plagiarism-free essays and homework assistance. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve academic success.

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