Writing a solid academic research paper: dealing with plagiarism issues

Defining plagiarism is not as easy as saying that plagiarism is just about copying another persons work.

Intentional plagiarism

  • Intentional plagiarism is copying from someone else - such as one of your peers, copying something word for word out of a book or document, copying someone else’s ideas or lyrics and passing them off as your own.
  • Using someone’s else work and passing it off as your own infringes copyright laws and in the case of academic work, you are using some one else’s intellectual property. Be careful using work downloaded from the internet.
  • Did you know that you can also be accused of plagiarism if you copy part of your own work without citing that you copied it from ‘my last paper’? So the rules are quite strict, do not copy from someone else’s work and call it your own, and do not copy from yourself without citing where the work it came from.

Avoid Plagiarism

  • It is not just enough to know what the rules are you need to know how to avoid it.
  • When writing an academic paper one of the most important tools that you can use to help avoid plagiarism is a project diary or notebook. In this diary/book, write down everything that you read that is linked to your project.
  • Even if the what you read will not be used, make a note of it.
  • Make a plan to help keep you focused. Keep track of your ideas, write down, print out work. Keep a note of web sites
  • Make a note of everything so that later when you remember ideas and quotes you will instantly be able to find where you read them and it will build your Bibliography (which will save you time later).
  • Remember to quote in the same context, in which the work your are citing was written. Don’t quote someone else’s work out of context.
  • Don’t cut and paste, in the vague thought that when you write your draft, you will lose all of the text that you cut and paste.
  • Stay focused and when you come to writing up , you will have all your quotes (cite as you write), and ideas pinned to the correct author/researcher. You will not misquote, you will not pass on ideas that are not your, you will be able to give credit to the author.
  • When you write your draft keep your notes separate, so if you need to go back to your notes, you will be able to acknowledge their source.

Remember when your tutor or professor is reading through your work they will notices and changes in writing style.

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