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Four Rules for Avoiding Plagiarism in Essay Writing

You can submit paper later, you can even ask your professor for an extension, you can write a mediocre essay and use some outdated sources. You can make some mistakes in formatting and you can forget about a thesis statement. These are all common academic writing sins, but they are not deadly ones. The only deadly sin you just cannot indulge in is submitting a plagiarized paper, even if we are talking only about some small part of it.

There are reasons for such seemingly harsh approach. The main goal of the academia is to educate you, to make you think on your own. More of it, professors are well aware of all the technical possibilities students have nowadays to reduce their writing load and to speed up the process. You have the Internet, Google Scholar search, online libraries, Quora, etc. Which means that your professor get truly angry when having all these opportunities for honest research you try to steal from others. The rightful accusation of plagiarism can lead to expulsion and it is definitely not a result you are aiming for.

Rule #1. Use only truly PRIMARY sources

This reminder may sound somewhat funny, considering the fact that it is written in all your textbooks, in all the syllabuses for any course. However, most of the students at some point tend to ignore this rule completely. Here is an example. You have found an article online in which some other material is quoted — some study, some conference, etc. It is very tempting to quote the latest source, without looking for an initial one. Unfortunately, in the current reality of fakes, post-truth and low-quality media, this approach might lead to a disaster. You can rely only on some trustworthy media in this regard, like, for example, the Economist or Financial Times. Other than that you should find a quoted source, read it, find needed information and cite it properly.

Rule #2. Don’t Quote Free Online Samples

It is a complete “no” if you are willing to submit only original final drafts. Online samples may be even well-written, though it happens rarely, but they are all used for hundreds and thousands of times, which means they have been indicated in the systems similar to Turnitin, and once your paper is checked the borrowed parts will reveal themselves. You can use free model papers for inspiration, as examples of structure, but you can’t borrow texts from them, and you can use them as legitimate references for your own work.

Rule #3 Use Online Plagiarism Checkers

Some of them are free, some of them are not, some of them allow you to check only one small text a day, but the thing is, most of them really work. Of course, they don’t allow digging into some academic databases of earlier submitted papers, but the possibility of you copying someone else writing is very low. It is possible only if you both used information from the same sources and didn’t paraphrase them properly — in this case, plagiarism checker will emphasize the unoriginal piece of text anyway. Check every passage you paraphrase to make sure you do it correctly and don’t forget to cite it properly. Use several checkers for the same passage to double check the originality.

Rule #4 Don’t Ignore Formatting Rules

Surprisingly, but such a seemingly mediocre and additional thing as formatting can ruin your academic progress. Formatting is not only about the page numbers, and right font, it is first of all about citing the referenced sources properly and according to the specific sets of rules. Problems with references might also be the reasons for accusation of plagiarism. Of course, you will not be expelled for one or two cases of lame formatting, but if your papers constantly have other flaws, it will add to the picture. Once you find a source, you want to use in your draft, write it down and save a link. Even if you take 10 words from it and paraphrase it, you still have to cite it within the text and add it to references. If you do it from the very beginning, you will never get lost.

These rules are not that hard to follow. Of course, you still can play some tricks. However, if you are under time pressure, or the academic load is too harsh, or the topic you have to write on is too complex, it is better to address a legitimate essay writing service for a custom written paper, than to submit a plagiarized final draft to your professor. Stay on the safe side and never risk your diploma just like that. 

TUT Staff

Written by TUT Staff

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