Tips on Avoiding Plagiarism
- If you use direct quotations from books, journal articles, or internet sources, always use a quotation mark, followed by the in-text reference, including the page number. If you use a website as a source, include the paragraph number instead of the page number.
- Reference all the sources you used. If the idea was mentioned and presented by more than one author and sources, you need to list them all, if you consulted with the papers. If you are referring to multiple sources highlighting an issue or explaining a phenomenon, give details of all of them.
- If you conduct interviews or ask for advice from experts, discuss your topic with other people, you have to reference their input. Find out how to reference interviews and personal correspondence to avoid plagiarism by checking out our APA referencing guide.
- Paraphrase. Instead of quoting everything word-for-word, you can integrate the literature you consulted with in a few sentences and provide a reference for each source. You do not have to be exact, and you will need to show your understanding of the idea by putting it into your own words.
- Check and double check your reference list. One of the most common mistakes students make is that they quote certain sources, but they forget to list them in their bibliography or works cited page. After you finish writing your essay or research paper, go through the content and check that all sources are included in the reference list. This is a habit that will help you avoid plagiarism.
- Provide a full reference for all internet sources. While you might be tempted to simply mention the name of the website you retrieved the information from, this is not acceptable in academic writing. You need to find out who the author of the blog post or article is, and include their name in your references along with the date of publication. If you do not know the name of the author, you can simply use “Anon”, but never omit this information.
- Check Creative Commons agreements. You might want to use an image of a company’s logo or store as an illustration for your dissertation and essay, however, you need to check the usage rights before you do. Always search images and graphics through the Creative Commons website, and only use sources you are allowed to.
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