When I started working on my 30,000-word dissertation, my primary worry was how I would pass the plagiarism check. The word limit was Herculean, and the topic required stating so many facts from the print media that I was almost sure that I would get cent percent plagiarism detection even though I had written many papers before. Plagiarism is a concern—no matter how much of an expert you become, you will always dread it.
College students, especially when they start afresh, find dealing with plagiarism difficult. With time and experience, you figure out ways to handle plagiarism effectively without compromising with quality. But, I will save you time and provide you with a handful of tips in this regard.
Here are 5 tips which can help college students deal with plagiarism:
Read Well Before Writing
One of the key problems is that we are always in a hurry to write down papers. Writing papers require patience—lots of it—and only when you have read adequately should you start writing papers. What is the benefit?
When you know the subject of your paper properly, you are in a better position to explain it in your terms. One way of reducing plagiarism is engagement in paraphrasing. Many times we simply paraphrase whatever we read in a selected article. Instead, read multiple articles and you would not even require constantly checking a reference article. This will enhance the quality of your paraphrasing.
Side Note: Latest anti-plagiarism software are very well-developed and can detect paraphrasing attempts to a certain degree. So, caution is needed.
The purpose of the plagiarism check is to ensure that you do not write and publish anything which is not yours, and you have not adequately cited the sources of information. You must give due credit to whoever from whose work you have taken content.
There are many formats of citations used across academics. The most popular ones are MLA, APA, Bluebook, and Oscola. You can go for the traditional way of citing by referring to their manuals or simply access one of the many websites which offer automatic generation of citations. One thing to keep in mind: not all websites offer correct formats and therefore, you should double check before finally using them for citation.
Talk With Your Supervisor/Teacher
Many times we go astray with what we are writing. We become pressurized about the content and the various sources to find it. As a result of this, we end up copying and pasting a lot in our paper.
It is highly recommended that you talk with your teacher/supervisor on a routine basis. Make notes as to what you are doing and where you need help. Your teacher can even guide you on how to avoid plagiarism. He might even suggest you resources to consider which can add volume to your research.
Get a hold on a good plagiarism checker
You must have a plagiarism checker with you for double-checking the work before submitting. There are many plagiarism software available, with Turnitin being the most commonly used one.
In case you do not have an account on Turnitin, your teacher might have. When I was in college, I would ask my teacher to run a Turnitin check for me every time I wanted to publish a paper.
One very important tip: Make sure you have disabled the setting, in whatever software you use, which saves your work. This will ensure that the next time you run a check on the same document the software considers your document as fresh.
The authenticity of the sources
The world of research is filled with plagiarised work, especially online, and you cannot blindly trust every source you come across. You must conduct thorough research on the authenticity of the source you are using in your work.
For starters, check the reputation of the author, whether that author has taken material from other sources, when the work was originally published, and how many citations that author’s work has received. It is recommended to choose works from journals with designated identification numbers.
Even when using online sources, it is recommended you avoid those websites in which content can be edited by anyone such as Wikipedia.
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