Plagiarism and how to avoid it in academic writing

Definition of plagiarism

“Plagiarism is the act of using another person’s ideas, thoughts and words without properly acknowledging irrespective of where they are found like books, journals, internet etc. Plagiarism is also called intellectual theft” ( Failure to properly reference and cites another person’s information and words used in a document makes the person to fall fowl of plagiarism.

Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism can broadly be divided into two namely plagiarism with the source cited and plagiarism with the source not cited (

Plagiarism with source not cited

This includes the ‘self stealer’  in a situation where the writer uses excessive material from the work he or she has written before, not following the originality demands of academic institutions. The ‘photocopy’ refers to a situation where writer daubs a large part of a text without changing it. In the ‘Potluck’ paper, here the writer copies information from various sources to disguise plagiarism and retains the major content while joining them together ( The ‘ghost writer’ refers to a student who submits another’s works as his, verbatim. The ‘labor of laziness’ refers to a form of plagiarism where several paraphrases are used to form writing that are not original. Furthermore, the ‘Poor disguise’ is a plagiarism type where the writer alters important words and phrases of a source while the important content is retained (

Plagiarism with the source cited

The other type of plagiarism is the plagiarism with the source cited. This can happen when foot notes is not added. In oxford citation for instance, the name of author is referenced but the source location is not added .The ‘resourceful citer’ is  the writer that involves in plagiarism by  using citations, paraphrases and quotations all through the paper and no original work is included. This also plagiarism even though the source is cited (

Aftermaths and consequences of plagiarism

The subsequences are many ranging from suspension from the school to expulsion to failure in the course. This student depending on the institution may be awarded zero mark and may have to repeat the course .The student also loses his or her integrity and is labeled as being dishonest.

How to avoid Plagiarism

By giving credit and acknowledging all sources used in academic writing

Whenever another person’s materials such as , ideas, theories, information (aside common knowledge) graphical illustrations and drawings , opinion, quotations, spoken and written words are used, they must always be properly referenced.

By proper use of quotations and references

Whenever something is extracted directly from a text, it must be properly cited . If are not a professiona in this field try ordering custom writings. If the direct quote is more than 3 lines, a block quotation with hanging indents is used. The quoted passage is put in quotation marks .The source is also cited accurately according to appropriate referencing style.

Appropriate summary and paraphrasing

Paraphrasing and summarizing are not equivalent to just rearrangement or replacement of few words. In the contrary, appropriate paraphrasing involves first understanding the context and trying  to rehearse it in one’s words and then putting  it down in one’s words .The paraphrase should be examined for repetition of similar phrases or words and whether  the paraphrased text has not lost its meaning or not .Despite using one’s words in paraphrasing, citation is still needed. Paraphrasing in academic writing should only be done when translating technical material for a lay audience or if the tutor demands for this or while reporting a poem in simple form so as to clarify ambiguities (

Other materials that need to be cited include films, document, magazines, TV shows and adverts. Those that  may not be important for citing are observations and experiments or field trip report, personal reflections, thought and comments, conclusions, analytical writings, writing using general facts and common  knowledge. Summarizing and paraphrasing are alternatives to direct quaotations. Paraphrasing uses different words while it retains the meaning and summary condenses the vital ideas. They both reflect the writer’s understanding of the sources used. More can be found on a web site that provides homework live help. APA uses the author and  date of publication while  the Harvard  style uses the author date in the in-text but has a separate bibliography page . The oxford  style of referencing makes use of  footnotes and bibliography while the MLA  style uses the author and page number in the in-text. These are the common referencing styles.

Understand what plagiarism is all about

The meaning and scope of plagiarism has been explained above and it is the first important step in avoiding plagiarism. It  has  been defined as any illegal use of others’ ideas, thoughts and  words .Plagiarism without intention in academic writing often occurs when students don’t properly understand what plagiarism is all about .Whether intentional or not, plagiarism is  however plagiarism.

Planning the project ahead of time

All the projects and assignments, term papers and research papers must be started as early as possible at least with the first drafts in place. Most academic plagiarisms among students stem from late preparation of assignment. Planning early gives enough time to revise, edit, and digest. Copying and pasting of materials are usually inevitable when students rush to do academic works in order to meet deadlines. Thus, when working on the essay that you need, do not forget to quote.

Differentiating general knowledge from facts that are not generally known

Take for instance, to say that President Clinton was the successor of President W. Bush is a general knowledge likely to be known by a large number of people and therefore need no citation. However, facts and ideas that give interpretation of facts must be documented .For example, to say that “Bush’s relationship with the Congress has prevented family leave is not just a fact but interpretation of fact and therefore need to be cited”.

Proper citation and referencing of sources

This is important in any academic writing. The source must be properly quoted and put in quotation marks if the writer is not the original author of the information or idea. The idea has to be cited.

Effective system of note taking from sources

Taking notes verbatim from sources usually makes students to fall fowl of plagiarism. Care is important in taking notes from a source and effective note taking involves using the split page approach, prior recording of bibliographic page information of the used source before the note taking and also trying to use one’s words as much as possible. First, split page approach to note taking involves dividing the page into 3 different columns and on the first column is written the notes taking from the source, the second column contains the page numbers and the third column contains questions, comments and thoughts on the information from the source . You can order custom essay that will get you 0% plagiarism and save you time if you are too busy with anything else. This method helps to separate one’s idea from that of the author in academic writing.

The other element of effective note taking is early  bibliography  recording .This is  best done before  commencing academic  writing as it becomes difficult to trace sources on the internet or rushing back to the  library to search for material  used after  the  writing .If  the bibliography is not documented at the start of the writing, getting it done later is usually difficult. The next step in note taking involves writing in one’s own words .The student here trusts his or her memory while he peruses the source. He then summarizes or paraphrases, crosschecks it with the original version for presence of either reproduction or accuracy of information.

 In conclusion, plagiarism is a terrible offence that is punishable and efforts should be made to avoid it in academic writing .Whether it is plagiarism with source cited or not; intentional or  unintentional, all is called plagiarism and there is a need to be creative and stop  and avoid personalizing others’ idea and hardwork.

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