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Nowadays, many students are challenged by the necessity to create their pieces of work and prove the originality of their ideas. The question of plagiarism is frequently discussed in different academic facilities. As a rule, teachers ask their students to follow the Code of Ethics while writing their academic projects, as well as using and referencing different sources to avoid cases of plagiarism. However, today, even borrowing ideas from the Internet may be compared to borrowing from published sources (Spatt, 2011). Therefore, it is necessary to be very careful with every idea introduced in a paper. Regarding a number of writing requirements and the possibility to be blamed for plagiarism, it is hard for many students to start writing their papers without any fears and doubts about the quality and originality of their work. In this paper, several simple but effective strategies for avoiding accidental plagiarism will be developed and discussed to help students succeed in writing and using multiple sources.
Writing and Plagiarism in Modern World
Students have access to numerous sources from which it is easy to take some ideas for writing. On the one hand, such an ability facilitates a writing process and deprives students of the necessity to spend days and nights at libraries searching for a required source. It does not take much time to turn on a computer and surf the web. On the other hand, the Internet contains billions of informative sources with data that has to be properly referenced. Such access challenges students a lot because there are more reasons for being blamed for plagiarism.
According to the Code of Ethics, writers have to be transparent each time they use ideas from different sources and be sure to change the construction of every paragraph (Academy of Management, 2011). In addition, there are many credible online programs like Turnitin, which may be used by tutors to check the level of plagiarism in each work. Angelil-Carter (2014) suggests connecting the frequency of plagiarism and its increasingly problematic nature with the development of “new understandings of discourses and texts” (p. 15). In other words, not to spoil individual writing with plagiarism, students have to get a clear idea of what they allow to use as examples of common knowledge in their papers and when it is time to put quotation marks and cite a source.
Personal Past Experience in Writing
During this course, I have already created several works and passed them successfully, meaning that no cases of plagiarism were discovered. Every paper was based on certain requirements and a definite number of sources that should be used. For example, in the essay about the importance of education and its price, I used one definite article written by Caldwell for The New York Times Magazine. It was introduced at the beginning of the paper so that the reader could understand why the article had been chosen and what I was going to discuss.
Though there were no direct quotes that required the provision of page numbers, the essay was supported by a number of paraphrases and appropriate references being made at the end of the sentence or after the author’s name. I found it necessary to cite the source when I stated that about $180,000 had to be spent on a college education for one child (Caldwell, 2007). However, such general thoughts that many Americans wanted to know the price of education or that education was defined as an integral part of human life could be introduced without references because it was a kind of general or common knowledge that many people had to be aware of.
My work on this essay was not easy because I wanted to combine the ideas of one particular author with my own thoughts and not be blamed for plagiarism. It was necessary not to cross the line but concentrated on what I had already known on the chosen topic and what contributions Caldwell’s article could make to my understanding of the American system of education. This kind of work helped me develop several important strategies in terms of which it was possible to avoid plagiarism and create a good piece of work that demonstrated my level of knowledge, my writing skills, and my researching abilities.
Important Strategies for Plagiarism Avoidance
My writing practice shows that today, students can easily find many credible sources with the necessary information for their papers. However, not all students know how to add the chosen information to their papers and avoid plagiarism. In some cases, students may follow the already offered outlines and topics without reference to the sources where they find this information. Even if a writer does not use a single word from the source but pays attention to the ideas developed there, there is a chance to be accused of plagiarism.
Importance of Referencing
A writer has to be ready to work with different sources, make necessary references, and never forget that each piece of writing aims at presenting personal ideas and understandings. Writers should not be afraid to develop their ideas, pose questions, and give answers. At the same time, they have to work with sources and prove their abilities to investigate different aspects of one issue, consider the thoughts of other people, and make conclusions regarding personal knowledge and the material found. The main strategy that has to be followed in a writing process to avoid plagiarism is to never forget about referencing. This requirement is an obligation, and students are welcome to develop their own approaches to meet this criterion.
Reference List Creation
One of the possible steps in writing without plagiarism is a creation of a reference list according to the guidelines of an association chosen. In many cases, tutors or other readers pay certain attention to this list in order to understand if a writer relies on someone’s ideas or if it is an original work that is based on someone’s personal ideas. When a reference list is created, the sources mentioned there should be used throughout the paper. Each association has its reference rules. If it is an APA paper, in-text citations should include the author’s name and the year of publication (Spatt, 2011). In case it is a direct quote with a phrase or a sentence used in quotation marks, it is necessary to add a page number after the year of publication. In MLA papers, students have to give a page number right after the author’s name without mentioning the year of publication (Spatt, 2011). However, a variety of sources that may be used by students is impressive, and it is obligatory to follow the rules defined by a facility or its department.
Citation, Paraphrasing, and Quoting
The use of sources may have different forms, including direct citation, paraphrasing, idea exchange, or quoting. Blockquotes may be required for long papers. In addition to the fact that this part of the work has to be properly cited, it should also have an appropriate appearance. Paraphrasing is a process when a writer does not use more than two similar words in a paper from a source (Angelil-Carter, 2014). Complete and correct information has to be introduced while paraphrasing (Academy of Management, 2011). Though such a combination of words is hard to achieve, a good writer has to develop numerous ideas and introduce the same thought in different ways.
Finally, some writers like to cite their own material or use the same ideas they have already used in previous projects. In order to reduce the level of possibility of being accused of plagiarism, writers have to cite themselves in a proper way. In some papers, it is enough to mention that this thought has already been introduced in another project. In some works, a reference to a previous paper is required to avoid self-plagiarism. In fact, many academic writers refer to their past projects, make appropriate citations, and add their past projects to a reference list.
In general, students may create papers that are plagiarism-free in case they are aware of how to work with sources, how to make a reference list, and when a piece of information should be quoted. To avoid plagiarism, students should not be afraid to develop new ideas, share their approaches, and investigate new areas. Writing without plagiarism is possible in case the strategies of this paper are taken into consideration and followed.
Academy of Management. (2011). Ethics video series: Plagiarism [Video file]. Web.
Angelil-Carter, S. (2014). Stolen language?: Plagiarism in writing. New York, NY: Routledge.
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Caldwell, C. (2007). What does a college education buy? The New York Times Magazine. Web.
Spatt, B. (2011). Writing from sources. Boston, MA: Bedford/St.Martin’s.