Writing a research paper is already difficult, especially when aiming for accuracy. It becomes even more difficult when you need to come up with the information you need without copying from somewhere else.
There seem to be a lot of rules governing using information that already exists. It’s fine to copy to a point, but you need to credit that copying, and not crediting correctly could lead to plagiarism problems.
Besides, plagiarism is a serious offense that could not only lead to your discreditation, but could have your entire paper thrown out. Here are some tips on avoiding plagiarism in your English research papers.
Use your time wisely
A simple way to avoid plagiarizing your work is to manage your time. Using your time to its full potential gives you more time to check your research paper.
Furthermore, you’re not pressed and panicked, so the temptation to just copy and paste is less enticing since you have time to rearrange the information suitably. Using your time wisely also means less opportunity for mistakes.
Employ proper citation
Most schools have a set requirement for citation systems. Citing your sources is a great system to employ but can be worthless if you do it incorrectly. Check your school’s requirements, as well as the specific requirements for each paper and cite accordingly. Using the correct citation method is just as important as actually citing your sources.
Check your writing
Proofreading is a necessary step, no matter what your writing purpose. Through proofreading, you can check that your grammar and spelling are correct, and at the same time, you can check that you have cited all your sources.
Missing even one citation could be devastating, so proofreading is your final safety net to ensure you don’t lose opportunities because of one small error.
Quoting is a very easy way of avoiding plagiarism. When you quote a source directly, you need to cite it immediately. This means that you are less likely to miss the citation since you do it as you write. Quotes also hold more relevance in research and can make your paper feel more trustworthy if you quote from a good source.
Paraphrasing is a great alternative to quotes. You don’t want your entire paper to be filled with quotation marks and citations, so you can paraphrase and still get your point across.
When paraphrasing, you need to rewrite the entire point using your own words, rather than just replacing each word with a synonym. You may still need to credit your source when paraphrasing, but it is not always necessary.
Add your own voice
You need to remember that this is your research paper. You need to add your own voice in between all the sources and citations you use.
Adding your own insights will make your point clearer and also show that you understand what your research is telling the reader. It also makes your argument more convincing, since the reader will be able to see that you believe what you have written.
Use online checkers
There are a large number of online plagiarism checkers available. Some are free, but don’t do a thorough enough job. Others require a small payment to work, but you can be sure that your paper will be checked against every available source.
If you are interested in a good plagiarism check tool, Edubirdie’s plagiarism checker is an easy-to-use tool for students to ensure their paper meets plagiarism requirements. The tool is also very useful for web content.
Include a reference page
As you write your paper, make a list of all your sources. You need to do this as you write to avoid missing a source. You can add this list to the end of your paper when you’re ready to submit it. By doing this, you can be sure you’re including every single source and that they are all cited to avoid plagiarism accusations.
If you’re unsure of your paper meeting requirements, get help. Ask your teacher to clarify on the requirements. Do you need in-text citation or a reference page? What other requirements are to be met?
By asking for help, you can save a lot of time and effort and be sure you are meeting the teacher’s requirements. Often teachers will also appreciate students more if they ask for assistance.
Everything is a source
Just because you found that bit of information on a blog that appears on the search engine’s tenth page doesn’t mean you don’t need to cite the source.
Everything that is not your original thought is a source, and you need to credit the original author, regardless of how insignificant it might seem. No information is free to use and you should credit all sources to avoid plagiarism accusations.
Plagiarism can lead to many problems for you as a writer. From penalties on your score to being excluded from the course, the consequences can vary depending on the offense. Besides, a plagiarism offense can lead to a loss in employment opportunities after school.
Employing the above tips can ensure you avoid plagiarism as much as possible. Citing your sources, writing quotes, and paraphrasing are easy ways to avoid plagiarism, and are a great practice for good writing throughout your life.
Jeremy Reynolds is a prolific blogger in the field of science and technology and his work mainly revolves around gadget and software reviews. He also works as an academic writer for an essay writing service that provides thesis and dissertation help to research students. In his free time, he reads autobiographies, learns kickboxing and tries hand in woodworking. You can find him on Twitter.