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Ways to Avoid Plagiarism

The definition of the word ‘to plagiarize’ in the Merriam-Webster dictionary goes as ‘to steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one’s own.’ The keyword here is ‘to steal’ because it defines exactly what the nature of plagiarism is - a person deliberately uses other people's ideas without appropriate crediting.

However, in academic writing, plagiarism most often happens accidentally because of the student’s inattentiveness or lack of knowledge about it. You may just forget that some idea or passage you have included in the paper needs the citation or do not remember where the thought comes from. Keep in mind that paraphrasing also needs a citation, or it will be considered plagiarism.

Even if you think that copy-pasting is harmless, this can have the most serious consequences for you in an academic environment. So you should always avoid it or think about using the citation techniques properly. If not, it can lead to a negative impact you would not like much. That is why plagiarism is entirely forbidden in most academic institutions all over the world.

Consider this

You should think of the following things when you write academic paper not to get in trouble:

  • Be sure to track all the sources you have been reading in the process of writing.
  • Quote the sources and cite them even if you are paraphrasing.
  • Use the in-text citation and correctly written reference list to credit the authors whose ideas you use.
  • Before you hand in your paper, check it with the help of our reliable online plagiarism checker.

In this article, we will provide several useful tips on how to avoid plagiarism in your academic writing. They will make your studies and writing assignments easier and safer.

Tip 1. Stay Organized

You will not get plagiarism in your paper accidentally if you know how to keep track of everything you use in your work apart from your ideas.

That is why it is crucial to remember where every idea comes from, or you may be tempted to use it as your own. So, try to note every source in the preliminary list of citations during the preparation process. You may mark the things as your own in one color and highlight the thoughts and statements that need citation in another color. Do not skip the quotation marks if you cite the idea directly.

Accidental plagiarism often happens when a student does not have enough time to complete the task. Such a hurry may result in skipping notes about the sources. Therefore, make sure that you have enough time for your paper. When not in a hurry, you will be able to pick out only important sources and cite them properly in the final version of the assignment.

Try to note the complete details of every source you have used. They can be articles from journals, books, websites, or even videos. If you do it consistently, it will be easier in the process of writing to go back and see where the phrase is taken from.


It is vital to use only credible sources. It means that your sources should not contain any bias and need appropriate evidence for the backup. They also should not contain vague terminology, emotional language, subjective statements and buzzwords.
It is always better to use academic journals and books. You can also opt for Google Scholar as a reliable source of information. Every source you want to cite in your paper should be created by a respected author or organization with a good reputation and acknowledgment.

Tip 2. Proper Quotation and Paraphrase Help a Lot

If the idea or statement from the source complies with your vision of the problem and you want to include it in your paper, you need to correctly quote or paraphrase it with the appropriate citing of the source. Your argument still will be more persuasive if you use your interpretations and conclusions.

If you consider what to choose - paraphrasing or quoting, the first option is always better because you can demonstrate that you have understood the text and can add something new to the idea.

When you quote, you copy the original text word-for-word. However, it cannot stand alone. You need to use your words to introduce the quote, or it will not make any sense. Never forget to use quotation marks.


Direct quoting is not always appropriate so try to use it only if:

  • The author has created a distinct original definition, and you prefer to use it in your work.
  • The original text may lose its meaning if paraphrased.
  • You are happy to support your work by the authority of the author.

If you want to introduce a longer quote in your paper, use block quotes. However, do not overuse such big passages. It is always more effective to paraphrase them. You will look more professional and knowledgeable among your peers.

Remember that paraphrasing should also be supported by the indication of the source or it will be considered plagiarized. If you change some words in the copy-pasted text, it will look unprofessional, so try to understand the author’s idea and retell it in your words.

Try to use some other words and phrases but be careful to keep the meaning of the idea the same. It needs complete understanding. And whatever you should do, always cite the author of the idea and never try to present it as your own.

Tip 3. Correct Citation Is a Must

It does not matter whether you use a direct quote or paraphrase. You need to cite the author of the statement correctly. You can use the in-text or footnote citation and the complete reference of all your sources in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your paper. The in-text citation should correspond properly to the information in the reference list.

You will need to use an appropriate citation style required by your academic institution. The most common styles are MLA, APA, and Chicago. Your supervisor will tell you what style to use, and you can also consult them about how to do it. The most important thing here is that you need to follow this style throughout the entire paper.

In addition, all your citations should include the author’s name, the full title of the source, and the date it was published. All other elements are optional, and some of them may be required by the style you use. If you quote several sources in one statement, cite them one by one to clarify where the ideas come from.

You may use our online citation generator to ensure that you are doing everything properly. It is free and can save you a lot of time and effort.

Tip 4. Checking Your Paper Does a Lot of Good

You should always check your paper for plagiarism before submitting it. The most common errors that can result in accidental plagiarism are:

  • skipped quotation marks;
  • a source is in the text but not in the reference list;
  • the citation is misplaced or completely forgotten while the original idea is included in your text;
  • the paraphrased sentences are included in your text without any reference to their author.

Your academic institution is sure to use a plagiarism checker of their own, so you must be aware of it. The checker will scan your paper and compare it to the databases of all the available publications. All the sentences, paragraphs, and passages that have been taken from them will be highlighted as plagiarism if they are not properly cited.

To be on the safe side, use our online plagiarism checker before submitting the paper. This way, you can see which passages can be treated as plagiarism and provide the appropriate citation for them.

You can also use a citation checker to detect all the inconsistencies between your in-text and reference list citations. You need to do it because improper or incorrectly indicated sources can lead to plagiarism detection.

Final Thoughts

Now you know how to avoid plagiarism in your academic writing. If you use the tips provided in this article, your academic scores will improve, and you will be successful in your future career.

Avoiding plagiarism is quite important if you want to have better grades. That is why you should take into account its consequences. Be sure you have done your best to double-check whether your paper is free from plagiarism. Your efforts will be assessed properly.

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