How to Avoid Accidental Plagiarism

June 19, 2012 by TedLeave a Comment

How to Avoid Accidental Plagiarism

Plagiarism, or the practice of passing off someone else’s words as your own, is considered the height of academic dishonesty. If you get caught plagiarizing, you can expect an automatic failing grade. Worse yet, at some universities, plagiarism can lead to an expulsion from school. A Economics professor Dan Ariely of Duke University was so concerned about the phenomenon of essay mills that he bought a few papers himself from some of these sites, and wrote about it in his blog. What he discovered was that the papers he got back from these sites were not only atrocious in quality, but a few of them were nearly 40 percent copied from other works, in other words, even the writers who were supposed to be providing students with original content had plagiarized.

However, there are also more American Psychological Association (APA) , which provides one of the two most commonly used standards for academic citation, some professors will accuse a student of plagiarism if they notice even three words have been copied from source material without proper citation. To be on the safe side, don’t copy any words at all from your source material unless you put them in quotes and cite them properly within your text and bibliography.

2. Don’t try to hide your source material by changing minor words here and there.

Sometimes, rather than properly citing source material, students attempt to “cover up” the fact that they’re relying heavily upon another author by changing minor words here and there. An example of this type of plagiarism is presented on make sure you understand what you’re saying , otherwise you’ll be tempted to use the same wording as your source material.

5. Write something original.

A writing strategy that often leads to accidental plagiarism is the attempt to summarize or regurgitate existing arguments surrounding a topic, without any attempt to synthesize those existing arguments into something new. To avoid the problem of simply restating the ideas of others, the

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