According to Harris(2017), plagiarism is the process of taking other people’s work and passing it as your task. It can also be defined as wrong and illegal using of publication and presentation of work as being original. In an academic setting, plagiarism is described as being an act of dishonesty and is highly penalized as it breaches journalistic research. It further deprives the rightful owner the privilege to benefit from his/her work. While some cases of plagiarism are intentional, others may occur erroneously. This paper seeks to highlight some of the ways that can be used to avoid plagiarism.
The first step is to understand well the act of plagiarism,and what it entails, as most cases of plagiarizing are done mistakenly.This allows one to comprehend issues that lead to plagiarism, and ways that they can be addressed. Secondly, there is the need to have knowledge in both paraphrasing and quotation of resources used. Citing quotes indicates that there is recognition of the rightful owner of the materials used (Harris, 2017). Through quotation, it is permissible to use outside information directly in your study by employing proper citation. On the other hand, paraphrasing requires that one synthesize and rewrite ideas contained in the text.
Rather than just replacing some words with their synonyms, paraphrasing entails an understanding of the text and re-writing it in your own words. While replacing synonyms may minimize the chances of plagiarizing, it affects the flow and authenticity of information(Nevile, 2010). The third step to minimize plagiarism is through the proper citation of sources used. All information from outside sources should have in-text citations that feature details such as names of authors, date of publication, and page numbers depending on the format of the given assignment. Further, all in-text citations should be found on the reference list,the last page of the paper.
Neville(2010) asserts that understanding the context of a text is the most effective way of dealing with plagiarism. It allows researchers to digest ideas in texts and rephrase them to suit their studies. While this may prove challenging, regular practices result in a significant improvement in the quality of written materials, and reduction in the time used to research. Further, learning new vocabularies and reading different articles improve creativity levels and minimizing chances of errors.
Currently, different online plagiarism applications can be used to check the originality of written texts. An example is Turnitin, Copyscape, Plagchecker, and others. These applications are useful in highlighting unoriginal texts, and also give recommendations on the changes to be made. Online plagiarism checkers can be accessed from different Internet platforms, and are easy to use. While there are free platforms, others require users to pay certain periodic fees. However, it is worth noting that these platforms are only used to cross-check the quality of the paper after completion of the writing process.
In a nutshell, it is evident that many approaches can be used to prevent plagiarism. One of the methods is understanding writing practices that lead to plagiarism, and ways that they can be avoided. There is also the practice of proper use of direct quotations and in-text citations. This helps to acknowledge information used from external sources. However, excellent writing skills are only attainable through regular practice and reading other literature materials. Lastly, there is the option of using online plagiarism checkers to confirm the originality index of your completed papers.
Harris, R. A. (2017). Using sources effectively: Strengthening your writing and avoiding plagiarism. Routledge.
Neville, C. (2010). The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
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