What is Plagiarism – Strategies to Avoid It!

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What is Plagiarism – Strategies to Avoid It!

How to Avoid Plagiarism

One of the main concerns of students and researchers working on academic research papers is how to best create papers such as thesis, dissertations and essays with original content and no plagiarism. With the plethora of information and data available on the internet and from other various sources, it is almost too easy for students to be bitten by the plagiarism bug. Academic Institutes have stressed the importance of creating original research papers and use of proper citation to avoid plagiarism as it can lead to serious implications in your academic career. This article aims to help you understand what plagiarism is in academic papers and the most effective ways/strategies to avoid it.

Ways to Avoid Plagiarism?

The first thing for you to understand when creating research papers or academic articles is the answer to the query – What is Plagiarism? According to Hermann (2007) and WriteCheck (2016), plagiarism is the act of duplicating information directly taken from another source and publishing it as your own. It can easily be interpreted as stealing or copying somebody else’s ideas and concepts in a paper and presenting them as your own without acknowledging the other person’s work. Students usually tend to copy the information available from online sources such as blogs, journals and articles without citing the proper source and publishing the material as their own.What is Plagiarism and How to Avoid Plagiarism

There are several reasons for students becoming a victim of plagiarism trap which includes aspects like inability of the student to properly comprehend the academic paper requirements, ineffective time management, failure to realize the penalties associated with plagiarism, lack of awareness amongst students regarding what is plagiarism, correct forms of citation and ways to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is taken as a serious offence by all academic institutions and is regarded as dishonesty and breach of academic ethics and rules. It is important that as a student or researcher, you understand “what is plagiarism” and what are the best ways to avoid plagiarism as it can lead to implications such as academic censure and even rustication or expulsion (Davison, 2003).

Ways to Avoid Plagiarism in Academic Research Papers

Since Universities use plagiarism detection software and dissertation checkers to identify plagiarism in academic papers, it is necessary that you ensure your essay, thesis or dissertation is clear of any plagiarism. Here are a few pointers or ways to avoid plagiarism in your papers that you can easily use to produce academic papers with original content.

Citation –

This is the most important strategy and the effective way to avoid plagiarism in dissertation, essays and assignments. You need to properly cite the information obtained from external sources in your work by acknowledging the original author’s contribution. Citing formats such as Harvard, MLA, APA, Chicago, etc as per your educational institution’s requirements need to be used to avoid plagiarism. The citation methods normally include mentioning the author’s name along with the date of publication and the source. There are various online tools available to generate the correct citation format for the information you are including in your paper. Hence proper citation is one of the best ways of avoiding plagiarism in your work.


This important strategy or way to avoid plagiarism enables you to create conspicuous content for your dissertation or thesis by explaining the original author’s idea in your own words. Once you have the information that you want to include in your academic paper, read through the material and write it using your own words. You may use important words and phrases in your version of the paraphrasing but be careful not to copy entire phrases or more than two words from the copied information. Paraphrase to create an original version of the concept similar to the original author’s work (Roger, 2006).

Direct Quoting-

If you are going to include some information from the material available on the internet or from any external source as it is without paraphrasing then be sure to include direct quotes as this would not only provide depth to your academic paper but also help you overcome plagiarism concerns. Direct quotes should be properly included in your paper clearly mentioning the author and the source. There are specific requirements for proper quotes and citing them in your paper which include citing a direct quote of no more than forty words for a block quote and using a maximum of 10% of direct quotes in your entire academic paper (WriteCheck, 2016).

Use of Proper In-text Citation-

For paraphrased material that is a part of your academic work it is important to use correct citation using in-text citation format that your academic institute has requested for. Direct Quotes and paraphrased material need to be cited properly with author name, dates of publication and source including page numbers clearly mentioned. In-text citation will largely help you to avoid plagiarism in dissertation and essays.

Reference List-

A pivotal part of the strategy to overcome plagiarism allegations is to include a reference list at the end of your essay, dissertation or any academic research paper including a complete list of information collected and used in the paper with proper citation mentioning the author, source and publication date. This is different from in-text citation and is a more detailed version of citation that provides a clear description of material used in your paper from external source. All in-text citations must be included in the Reference List according to the citation format applicable to your academic institution.

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One of many other effective ways to avoid plagiarism in dissertation and essays is the proper management of your time so that you do not need to revert to copied content for your paper in order to meet the deadline. Effective time management will further allow you enough time to properly read through the material collected from external sources so that you can paraphrase it correctly, understand it and cite it. Another important pointer is the use of your own work that you include in the academic paper that was done by you previously or for some other paper. If you are including your own work in your academic paper then do cite that properly considering it as another author’s work that should be cited or acknowledged. In short, you must be very clear on “what is plagiarism” and what are the ways to avoid it in your papers (Hermann, 2007).

Tools to Detect Plagiarism in Dissertations and Essays

plagiarism-checker-Once you have followed the above strategies or ways to avoid plagiarism in your paper, do make an effort to read through your dissertation or essay to ensure that you have included all required citations and that the reference list is complete. Next, make use of a dissertation checker or plagiarism detection software to make sure there is no plagiarized material in the paper. These days there are various free online software based tools to detect plagiarism available to students, researchers, teachers and institutions to identify any areas in the paper that may reflect plagiarism. Examples of free plagiarism detection tools or software include Citeplag, Copytracker, Plagscan, Plagtracker, Copyscape and Plagiarism Detect.

Best free Plagiarism Checker

One of the best free plagiarism checker available for you to ensure originality in your dissertation or essay is the Plagtracker software that provides a browser based online plagiarism checker service that enables you to run plagiarism checks on papers with various file formats like MS Word and PDF. All you need to do is register on the website, upload your paper, hit the scan button and wait for your plagiarism detection report. Using such free software and plagiarism tools can help you to identify plagiarism instances in quick time enabling you to create original content for your academic papers whilst allowing you to assess your anti plagiarism prowess and paraphrasing abilities in parallel (WriteCheck, 2016).

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  • Clarke, Roger. (2006). “Plagiarism by academics: More complex than it seems”. Journal of the Association for Information Systems. 7 (1): 91–121. ISSN 1536-9323.
  • Kock, N., Davison, R. (2003). “Dealing with plagiarism in the information systems research community: a look at factors that drive plagiarism and ways to address them”. MIS Quarterly, 27 (4): 511–32.
  • Maurer, Hermann., Zaka, Bilal. (2007), “Plagiarism – A Problem And How To Fight It”, Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2007, AACE, pp. 4451–4458.
  • WriteCheck. (2016). 6 Ways to Avoid Plagiarism in Research Papers. WriteCheck Beta, 2016. Available at:<http://en.writecheck.com/ways-to-avoid-plagiarism/>. Accessed [30 October 2016].

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