Plagiarism is a major ethical concern in academic writing, and it is an issue addressed during freshman and graduate student orientation seminars.
Students who deliberately submit plagiarised English essays are given several possible punishments, from a simple warning to an ‘F’ in the course.
However, writing unique, standard, and creative English essays demands a lot of research and time which comes no less than a challenge for students.
In order to prevent essays from plagiarism, students must stick to proper writing strategies. Most students fail to follow a strategic plan and still commit plagiarism.
Therefore, in this article, we will discuss a few simple and effective ways that can help students avoid plagiarism while writing English essays.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
5 Best Ways For Students to Avoid Plagiarism in Essay Writing
1. Take Enough Time To Plan And Write
A common cause of plagiarism is not taking enough time to write and plan. Students are always in a rush, and they don’t bother to take their academic assignments seriously.
As a result, they end up copying material from online sources, which is plagiarism. To write unique essays, students should take the proper time to plan writing strategies and then write essays following those strategies.
Also, writing any academic paper a night or a day before can never ensure its uniqueness and quality.
Therefore, if you want your essays to stand out in the competition, you should start by dedicating enough time to your academic tasks.
This way, you can write essays with an open mind and clear focus without stressing about the deadline. When you write with a clear focus, the chances of plagiarism are very small.
2. Explore Multiple Sources
As we previously discussed, a standard and unique essay demand a lot of quality research. Therefore, before writing an essay, a student must do all the prior research by exploring different sources, both online and offline.
Deepen your investigation by reading widely on the subject of your essay. Even if you think you have a good understanding of the topic, it is still better to do some research.
When you read more, you’ll find more and more unique data sources. In this approach, you’ll have access to a larger pool of ideas that can be remade from an original perspective.
To get the best out of your research phase, you must:
- Read several different essays that cover the same outline;
- Compile and organize the data you’ve gathered from different sources;
- Underline key points in each essay and rephrase them using your own words to make them sound more original.
You can use a word, statement, or even an entire section that you think would be useful and interesting in your essay. You just need to rephrase it properly to avoid plagiarism.
3. Paraphrase Instead of ‘Copy/Paste’
Paraphrasing is considered the best way to avoid plagiarism in academic writing. Whether you are writing an essay or research paper, if there is any information you want to include from the source in your final draft, then do not copy/paste. Paraphrase instead.
However, paraphrasing must be done properly. Many students take paraphrasing as swapping a few words with their synonyms or altering sentence structure a little, but in actuality, proper paraphrasing requires acknowledging the sources.
If you are not acknowledging the sources, you are likely to commit plagiarism. This is because plagiarism looks not just at how words are put together but at how the meaning is being communicated.
If a student wants to avoid being accused of plagiarism, he or she should use his or her own words to represent the ideas of another author while making it clear that the ideas are not the student’s own.
Moreover, the students should double-check each cited source to ensure that the concepts presented in the essay exactly reflect those presented in the primary authors’ discussions.
4. Cite Sources Correctly
A common mistake that could lead an essay toward plagiarism is mentioning incorrect sources. This type of plagiarism is referred to as ‘Source-based plagiarism.’
As far as citations are concerned, students must keep track of all the sources from which they have copied information to use in their essays.
The citation may include the name of the author, the title of the journal, or any other relevant information. It is best recommended to adopt an appropriate citation format, such as APA or MLA style.
5. Use Online Tools to Find Plagiarism
The last and final step that every student must follow in writing academic content is to run their work through a plagiarism detector to detect plagiarism.
Even if you are writing essays using your own ideas, knowledge, and words, it is still better to run your work through a free plagiarism checker.
This is because a few sentences in your essay may be repeated elsewhere. Therefore, it is important to run your essay through a free plagiarism checker to ensure that it is completely original. We say ‘free’ because it’s not really practical to invest in a paid one only if you need to check an essay.
Online plagiarism checkers provide reports detailing how closely an essay matches content already available in public databases.
These checkers identify sections of the essay that contain plagiarised content to assist students in making corrections.
Plagiarism is an imperative issue in the academic world, and students are always warned not to commit it.
In essay writing, many students intentionally or unintentionally commit plagiarism and then face serious punishments.
This is because of many reasons. Not giving enough time to academic assignments, not following a good writing strategy, and many more.
In the above sections, we discussed the five best ways students can easily follow to avoid plagiarism while writing essays.