How to Avoid Plagiarism in Your Work
‘Plagiarism’ may be a term you are very familiar with, however, if you have not heard of it before it is the act of copying other people’s words, work and ideas. It can be tempting to plagiarise, especially when your work load begins to mount and the pressure rises.
It can seem like the easy option, but plagiarising work can have serious consequences. These include expulsion from your university and fines or penalties. It is therefore important to avoid plagiarism and receive the best grade you possibly can.
Quotations and Referencing
Knowing how to quote correctly can dramatically decrease your chance of plagiarising. Directly copying from the text in quotation marks longer than 40 words (3 lines) is considered too long. Therefore, ensure you are only quoting necessary information to show your ability to analyse and edit effectively.
Along with quoting, you must ensure that the quote is referenced correctly. Each course may use a different referencing style, such as Harvard referencing (the most common), APA or Oxford. Make sure you follow the guidelines strictly, to avoid any problems with your work.
Often, Universities will allow a draft submission to Turnitin. Turnitin is a program that identifies plagiarism in texts and produces a similarity report. It is normal for your work to show some similarities, due to the secondary research you have quoted within your work. However, a high percentage of 25% and over can show signs of plagiarism.
Therefore, by submitting a draft you can identify any areas where you have plagiarised and can correct your work before final submission. Do not miss out this step as it can be crucial in improving your work, checking your referencing and ensuring quotations and paraphrasing are done correctly.
Balance Your Work and Believe in Yourself
Lastly, plagiarism is more likely to happen when you are short for time and really struggling with your work load. Plan carefully by organising your work load into manageable sections. This will keep you on top of your work, make you more focused and more productive and your work will not suffer.
Also remember to believe in yourself and your ability to write well. People will copy other’s work when they feel theirs is not good enough. Therefore, put the work in, ask for feedback from friends and tutors, read out loud and continually edit and improve your work. When you manage your time correctly and have self belief you will more than likely surprise yourself.