Before discussing ways to ensure that you deliver a non-plagiarized paper for good grades, we should discuss plagiarism and what it means. Plagiarism is a serious offense that involves borrowing or copying an author's work and passing it off as your own. For better understanding, consider when you are researching an essay paper, and instead of paraphrasing the content or crediting the author, you present the content as your original idea.
Scholars consider this as literal theft of an individual's intellectual property, and according to U.S. law, plagiarism is a crime.
Students should aim to ensure that their work is 100% theirs and understand an author's content and then write using their own words. Any college student will be required to write dozens of papers during their study. As these papers can be exhausting, some choose to take a shortcut, which negatively impacts their grades.
If you are still not sure what constitutes plagiarism and what does not, then here are a few examples:
Failure to reference quoted ideas. For instance, when analyzing a poem or story, you must provide direct quotes from the books. After the quote, mention or cite the author of the poem. Citing content depends on the format you choose for your writing.
Citing incorrect references for direct quotes. Still using the above example, citing incorrectly can occur if you cite a page number that is non-existent in the source you are quoting from. Cite correctly by quoting the right authors, page numbers, and years of publications.
Borrowing someone else's ideas without acknowledging them, like when you provide various definitions for a specific term according to different scholars, and you fail to provide any form of reference. Referencing in any paper is important as it saves you plagiarism attempts.
Paraphrasing someone else's idea and failing to give them credit. A case in point is when you are asked to discuss various economic models, and after paraphrasing, you fail to cite your source.
Failure to reference any work that requires you to carry out research. Any assignment that requires you to carry out research should be referenced unless otherwise instructed.
Submitting another individual's work as your own. This can be a report you copied from the Internet or a classmate's work.
If you have read the above examples, then you know how easy it is to avoid plagiarism. All you need is to paraphrase ideas instead of copying them word for word, cite your sources, and cite and put quotation marks on direct quotes. Then, you are good to go.
Stolen ideas/words are not the only cause of plagiarism. Using videos, music, or images without permission or proper citations also counts as plagiarism. Some examples include:
Creating a music cover of another individual's song without their permission
Writing music with ideas that are borrowed from another artist's music without their knowledge.
Creating a video with copyrighted music
Borrowing images online and failing to cite the source you have borrowed from.
Ever heard of a famous music artist complaining that their work was stolen and, as a result, pulled down from sites such as YouTube? If yes, then that is a perfect example of plagiarism where one used another person's idea by making it seem like it is their own.
Consequently, you must have heard/seen instructors insisting on a student presenting their original work. This is because plagiarism is a grave offense and might have one facing the arms of the law. In school, any act of plagiarized work will result in a poor grade. As a result, this article will attempt to explain how you ensure your paper is 100% original work.
Ways of Ensuring You Submit a Non-Plagiarized Essay
One common thing among all students is the fear of submitting a plagiarized paper because that means that they will receive a low grade or be suspended in the worst-case scenario. The following tips are intended to help you in your quest for non-plagiarized paper, which translates to good grades.
The first step of avoiding plagiarism is to understand it. Thus, if you are new to this concept, refer to the above information to better understand the dos and don'ts of delivering a plagiarism-free paper.
Write from scratch
This means that as a student, you will write your paper from the beginning to the end. When writing a research paper, for instance, the first step is to brainstorm for appropriate topics through research and then create an outline that will guide your research paper. The other writing steps will entail coming up with a draft, revising it appropriately before you can come up with the final copy. You will be equipped with resources from different books, articles, and journals during all these processes. Your work will entail reading, understanding, and coming up with your ideas. Through these steps, I believe it would be hard to find your work is plagiarized as you will have gone through your paper severally and ensured that your points are well highlighted.
Quote and Paraphrase Where Necessary
As mentioned above, quoting and paraphrasing are essential parts of avoiding plagiarism. Quoting lets your professor know that the information you have provided belongs to your author(s). Let's say you are analyzing a short story like Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield. At some point, you will need to quote the author to provide evidence for a point you have stated. If your thesis says that the story's central theme is loneliness, the rest of your paper will be about proving why you think that. For your argument to be effective, you will need to provide evidence from the book, and what better way to do so if not by directly quoting the author. However, it is not enough to quote. For every quote you use, you must cite your source.
On the other hand, paraphrasing means rewriting a piece of information in your own words. For instance, when you are asked to define a specific concept, you may paraphrase to avoid too much quoting. Basically, essays that require you to research to write them are meant to be paraphrased. Like in the above example, much of the discussion surrounding Miss Brill will be paraphrased since you cannot put direct quotes in the entire paper. Plus, some concepts are too long to quote, making paraphrasing an unavoidable task. To sharpen your paraphrasing skills, you should consider reading short stories and writing a summary for each once you are done.
Do Not Forget to Cite Your Sources
The safest way to avoid plagiarism besides paraphrasing is by providing citations. There are two types of citations: in-text citations and reference lists/bibliographies. In-text citations, as the term suggests, are the citations you put within your text or essay. These citations should be in line with the referencing style required for the specific work. In APA, in-text citations begin with the author's surname followed by a comma, then the year of publication. On the other hand, MLA in-text citations start with the author's surname, followed by the page number where you have obtained the specific information. For instance, the in-text citations for the below reference should be as follows:
APA Referencing Style
Stringer, L. (2020). Subject Guides: Referencing Styles-a Practical Guide: APA, 14.
In-text citation: (Stringer, 2020)
MLA Referencing Style
Stringer, Lou. "Subject Guides: Referencing Styles-a Practical Guide: APA." (2020): 14.
In-text citation: (Stringer 14).
A reference list is a list of the sources you have used in your essay. Some essays will have instructions about the number of sources required, and you must follow the instructions. A point to note is that the number of references should align with the in-text citations. For instance, if you have only one reference in your list, you should not cite more than one reference in your in-text citation. Similarly, if you have five references in your list, you must ensure that each is cited within your essay in the correct format.
From the two reference styles above, it is clear that the format differs. Therefore consider taking note of the format you have been instructed to use. We will cover other referencing style techniques later.
Another essential aspect of citing is knowing when to cite. Not all information should be cited. You do not need your paper filled with so many citations that it is difficult to read.
On knowing what should be cited, the rule is simple. Do not cite common knowledge. Cite specific information such as those that have statistics in them. Citing the number of people who were involved in an accident will need a reference point. Therefore, you will be expected to cite that information.
However, there are instances where one is not sure of whether to cite or not. In such cases, include the citation. In any case, it is better to cite, as instructors are keen on papers that are not cited thoroughly. An instructor will easily forgive too many citations rather than little to no citations.
Another hack in citing is CITE AS YOU GO. For longer papers, it is overwhelming to write then reference later; instead, cite you go as it is easier and ensures that the references are placed in the right spaces. Also, Microsoft Word has a references section where you can be updating your references as you write your paper.
Use a Plagiarism Checker
Even after following all those steps, you may need to use a plagiarism checker to be sure; your grades are your biggest priority at this point. There are several tools on the Internet today that can help you check for possible plagiarism. One of the two common ones is Grammarly and Turnitin. Grammarly is efficient in that other than checking for plagiarism; it also helps you correct any grammatical errors that you may have in your work. It checks for correctness, clarity, engagement, and delivery. On the other hand, Turnitin compares your essay against thousands of others that have been submitted and online texts. Other plagiarism checking tools include:
This software is similar to Grammarly in that it checks for both grammatical errors and plagiarism. It has a free and paid plan, making it a viable option for students.
WhiteSmoke incorporates a free plan for all its users, making it an affordable choice for students. Its features include a plagiarism checker, grammar, and a broken link checker, among others.
CopyScape works by showing the user the number of people that have copied information from a similar source. It has a free and paid plan. Other CopyScape features include site filtering, plagiarism checker, offline indexing of content, and automated monitoring.
DupliChecker is as easy to use as WhiteSmoke. It also offers a free plan for checking plagiarism and is beginner-friendly. The only disadvantage of this tool is the word-limit requirement – it can only check up to 1000 words at a time. This means it will inconvenience you if your essay has more than 1000 words, especially if you are running late on your submission deadline.
CopyLeaks is different from the others in that it includes a paid plan and only offers a free trial for a limited time. If you do not mind paying the monthly fee, then you can use it.
Plagiarism is not only a severe offense to students but for essay writing companies as well. The main goal of the company's services is to help students attain good grades. This means that the company has strict rules for any individual that jeopardizes this objective. One of the first steps that essay writing agencies take is to find the writer responsible for the particular plagiarized paper. Depending on the extent of plagiarism, the writer risks being suspended or expelled. However, the rigorous selection process used by the company to acquire its writers guarantees competency. Thus, the personnel hired have a good knowledge of plagiarism and avoid it to ensure students get good grades.
Right to Cancel Paper
The client is mandated to ask for draft samples during the writing process until their paper is completed. With these samples, the client is at liberty to check for themselves whether the document is appropriately formatted and non-plagiarized. If the company cannot fulfill its promise of delivering a non-plagiarized essay paper, the client has every right to cancel the paper and ask for a refund.