Creating great content, whether for academic or business, is not always easy. With many rules to follow and writers writing the same content, it’s almost impossible to avoid some challenges such as plagiarism. Copying someone else’s work is a serious offense irrespective of the content you’re writing, and it is equated to stealing even if you didn’t do it intentionally.
However, you can still use someone else’s content by mentioning the sources of your content. By citing your sources, you’re letting your readers know that a specific statement or content did not originate from you but from another person. In this article, we will discuss plagiarism, why you should avoid it, and tips to prevent it.
What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism means using someone else’s ideas or words without properly crediting the original author. Sometimes it involves deliberately stealing someone’s work, but it often happens accidentally through forgetfulness or carelessness. This can be copying someone’s published or unpublished work and presenting it as your own.
Why Should You Avoid Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is an ethical issue. Any writer who submits plagiarized content is treated as a thief who aims to benefit from the stolen content. This is true whether you’re submitting an academic paper or article content to your employer. You can be penalized or have some of your writing privileges revoked if you’re found guilty of plagiarism.
For instance, if you submit a plagiarized paper in an academic institution, your school can cancel your examination reports or, worse, suspend you from school for a specific duration. When it comes to freelance writing, Google can pull down your site if they find out you posted someone else’s work on your site. It also compromises your integrity, leading to a loss of respect from peers and mentors.
Ways to Avoid Plagiarism
Fortunately, avoiding plagiarism is relatively easy, especially if you’re careful with the content you’re writing. It’s also essential to train your mind to use your resources to get ideas, not copy. Developing your style and writing unique content reduces your chances of duplicating someone’s work.
1. Cite Your Sources
One of the best ways to enrich your content is finding information from authoritative sites, books, or journals. Writing rules allow you to extract this information directly from your source to your work, but you need to cite and provide attribution.
Academic papers request references and proper citation throughout the article. Ask for guidelines if you’re unsure how to do it to avoid plagiarism issues.
2. Use a Duplicate Checker
While avoiding plagiarism can be quite easy, you can never tell that your content is plagiarized unless you check. When writing content, you might find yourself picking phrases or sentences from your sources and unknowingly writing them exactly as they appear without citing. That’s why you might want to invest in a duplicate checker to catch these issues before you send the work.
There are several plagiarism checkers online that scan your text and check for borrowed content. When they find a phrase or a sentence, they will highlight it for you and confirm where you got it from. These suggestions can help you to only work on problematic areas.
3. Use a Wide Range of Sources
When you use one source to write your work, you’re likely to copy some phrases or sentences from the source, which can easily lead to plagiarism problems. Use multiple sources and combine information to formulate your views, and write in your own words. When you have numerous resources at your disposal, you can pick your ideas from each, making it easier to create unique content.
Paraphrasing means rewriting your sources’ ideas or using the information you find to write unique content based on your own words without changing the meaning. However, paraphrasing can easily slip into plagiarism if you’re not careful. You need to have excellent paraphrasing skills to write without copying your sources. It involves rewording, using synonyms, and formatting paragraphs in a unique sequence. Don’t forget to include a citation to the source.
5. Include Quotation Marks
The easiest way to escape plagiarism is by using quotation marks while attributing to the original author. For instance, if someone said something, instead of changing what they said, which alters the original statement, you can use quotation marks around the text to show that the statements are not your own.
Mashum Mollah is a tech entrepreneur by profession and passionate blogger by heart. He is on a mission to help small businesses grow online. He shares his journey, insights and experiences in this blog. If you are an entrepreneur, digital marketing professional, or simply an info-holic, then this blog is for you. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn