Plagiarism free writing is most research professionals’ biggest enemy. This blog offers extensive insight into plagiarism in research and strategies to combat it (as well as some crucial tips at the very end).
What Is Plagiarism In Research? & What Does It Typically Look Like?
Stealing another’s expression of idea or work without permission and/or permission attribution is considered plagiarism. This specifically includes copying large parts or the entirety of someone else’s work while pretending it is their work, copying small portions of someone else’s work under fair use without proper attribution (i.e., missing quotation marks and missing, misleading, or erroneous citation), crudely copying ideas or retelling of another work without attribution of the origin of ideas or story, reuse of images or photos without permission, etc.
Plagiarism has real legal implications. Although the ideas themselves are not protected by copyright, the artistic expression of an idea (the “work”) is automatically copyrightable when it is established. Within fair use, small parts may be copied without the copyright holder’s permission. Nevertheless, even under fair use, research authors must attribute the source. What’s considered fair use is somewhat subjective and may vary from country to country.
Plagiarism can be of any of the following types –
Copying all or part of a text written by someone else without declaring its source and claiming that it is your work is categorized as the most serious form of plagiarism. Plagiarism also takes place when the text is referenced, but it’s unclear what is and isn’t your idea. If you copy several paragraphs, put them in our text without quotes, and add a reference to the conclusion of the copied section, the extent to which what you have reproduced is original is not clear. Mark all citations with quotation marks, use italics or differentiate them in another typographic style. If you use a source in more than one place, the reference must be included in all the places where you use the text.
This results from compiling several short text segments from different sources without indicating a reference for each segment reproduced. As a research author, you should always be careful to list all your sources, even if you are only one quote part of a sentence. It is not enough to list all the sources in the bibliography. You must also refer to each source in the text.
Paraphrasing/Translation Without The Source
It’s acknowledging one’s original idea that counts. Even if you describe it in your own words, i.e., paraphrasing or translating it from another language, it is not your idea. Accordingly, you must refer to it. The fact that your work and the original work are not textually similar will likely mean that current anti-plagiarism software will not detect the transgression. This, however, doesn’t change the fact that you used an idea from another work and, as such, you must refer to it.
When you reuse your work that has already been published or that you have already submitted to a different journal, and you do not refer to it, this constitutes self-plagiarism. It’s because you are repeatedly taking advantage of the same work or part thereof. A conference paper or part of a published research article that you have already submitted in a course cannot be resubmitted as new in another journal. Of course, you are allowed to use your work, but you must declare that the work has already been published or submitted elsewhere and then reference it. It is recommended that you discuss this with your supervisor ahead of time.
Incorrect Source Citations & References
You can also commit plagiarism unintentionally. It could happen, for example, when you forget to refer to a source or when you omit quotation marks, and it is unclear which ideas are unique to the author and which are copied. Even a mistakenly deleted reference can match the definition of plagiarism. This will generally not lead to a disciplinary sanction procedure, unlike cases of intentional copying, unreferenced passages, or references to non-existent sources. But of course, check all your references and your bibliography section before submitting and formatting them according to the required style.
Collective work and co-writing are standard in academic circles, and there is nothing wrong with that when it is permitted. It is important to say if you haven’t worked on a task alone. You also have clearly distinguished which part is the result of teamwork, which part has been contributed by other authors, and which is entirely your work. Group Projects should be handled the same way as all journal contributions.
They always indicate –
- Who contributed and how, as well as who brought the main idea?
- Who carried out the literature review?
- Who processed the data?
- Who wrote the body of the article?
In this way, the journal editors can have a clear idea of the contribution of each author.
What Isn’t Categorised As Plagiarism?
Some ideas have their authors. For others, however, you cannot determine the work from which they come. These ideas are said to be common knowledge, and you can state them without referencing a source. They should be limited in your work because they don’t bring in new ideas. Moreover, the vast majority of the intended readers of your work are most probably already familiar with such ideas. Common knowledge is beneficial in the introduction, discussion, or concluding sections as a prelude to other ideas, whether your own or reproduced.
Proofreading, Revision, Translations
As long as the external contribution does not affect the ideas of the work, it is not considered plagiarism. This includes reviewing or typographical adjustments. Translated works must mention the translator, but the author remains the same. Mentions should be made of those who helped you in your work, for example, in the Acknowledgements section.
Techniques For Avoiding Plagiarism In Academic Writing
As far as the answer to the question “how to avoid plagiarism in a research paper” goes, there are three key solutions –
- Distinguish someone else’s ideas from your own
- Always refer to the source
- Reference the source in such a manner that it can be traced
There are several ways to refer to the source. These are called referencing styles. Formatting styles are sets of rules that tell you what information to include, in what order, how to format it, and how to use punctuation. It is important to select an appropriate style and use it systematically throughout your work. Each journal and each discipline has its own referencing rules. You should take time to check them out before you start writing. Your research supervisor might even tell you their preferred citation style. Otherwise, it’s up to you.
Citation and Bibliography
References have two components – a citation and a bibliographic entry. The citation offers information in the text that refers to the bibliographic entry. You should include the bibliographic record in the bibliographic index, usually at the end of the work. It is therefore clear that each in-text citation must have its partner in the bibliography and vice versa.
Paraphrasing (which is one of the tricks to plagiarism-free article review writing), requires more than just the changing of a few words from the source material. To paraphrase correctly means completely reworking the passage by reordering and rearranging the information and rewriting it in your own words. Your objective should be to demonstrate that you have a concrete understanding of the concepts and ideas presented in the passage and that you’re capable of incorporating them into the discussion of your ideas and arguments. The key to a correct and precise paraphrase is to be able to manipulate the language and grammatical characteristics of the text so that you retain its meaning (and recognize the source of ideas) while appropriating the words. It requires a high level of academic writing skills that might be difficult for you at first; nevertheless, with experience and practice, your paraphrasing skills will improve.
Essential Tips For Effective Paraphrasing
1. Making Full Use Of Synonyms
Synonyms are those phrases or words that have similar meanings. The best resource for identifying synonyms is the thesaurus but remember to be careful when using words you don’t know because the words can often have various other meanings depending on the context in which they are made use. It is also important to bear in mind that the use of synonyms is not sufficient on its own. Changing a few words doesn’t entail paraphrasing; you are expected to alter sentence structures as well.
2. Playing Around With Word Forms
Changing the form of words, for instance, from an adjective to a noun or from a noun to a verb, is a beneficial technique for paraphrasing because changing the form of the word often requires changes in the structure and organization of sentences.
3. Working Around With Different Sentence Structures
Altering the structure of a sentence is a beneficial technique for paraphrasing. An easy way to do this is to change the active sentences into passive sentences or vice versa.
4. Expanding & Defining Words
You can expand certain terms and also define them when paraphrasing.
To summarise means to reduce the source text to its main points. Summarising the source material, you can avoid using too many direct quotes and paraphrasing large portions of the original text. This forces you to gain a thorough understanding of the meaning of what you’ve read and present the material using your own words. Of course, you must always recognize the source of the info, and you should also incorporate your comments to demonstrate your analysis and interpretation of the work.
Tips For Effective Summarising
- Scan the text to get an overall impression of the information.
- Identify the main points presented.
- Highlight or underline major points or cross out minor details.
- Write down the main points, taking care not to copy verbatim.
- With the help of your notes, write the summary in your own words, starting with the idea followed by other important points.
- Proofread your abstract, checking that your abstract makes sense and that you captured the important points.
- Don’t forget to include a reference.
Final Tips To Write A Plagiarism Free Research Paper
Few people decide to become plagiarists in the first place. But then they may realize that their subject is too complex or that they want to use as little of their time and effort as possible, so they change their minds. The most common reason for plagiarism is the lack of time. They find that the deadline is fast approaching and then secretly borrowing a few paragraphs or pages seems like the easiest solution at this point. Listed below are a few tricks to avoid being subject to time pressure in the first place –
Plan All Tasks & Prepare To Spend Double The Time
Producing high-quality academic text takes time. It’s not just about writing but also researching sources, reading them, and taking notes. Insufficient time before the deadline can harm your strong academic integrity. Estimate the time needed to write your article. Set milestones of what you want to have completed and when. Schedule free time in your plan – you can’t just work and write all the time.
Consult Your Colleagues & Seniors
Keep in touch with your supervisor regularly. This does not necessarily mean often. Nor is it necessary to hold personal consultations; some people prefer email, a phone call, or Skype. Consultation shouldn’t just be a formality – it should be beneficial for both parties. Do not hide it if you are late, and do not pretend that you understand if you are unsure of something.
Resort To Learning If You Find Your Knowledge Is Inadequate
Academic writing should be part of your curriculum. If not, or if you ignore it, don’t be ashamed to admit it and catch up on what you missed. Your classmates, instructors, or this blog will help you.
Inculcate A Habit Of Reading
It might sound trite, but you won’t get better advice than this. By reading scientific research and articles, you learn a lot more than you think. In addition to having an overview of different topics, theories, and figures, you will also discover the academic text, its rules, and its structure. You will then have a template on which to base your work.
Don’t Withhold Your Points Of Reference From Your Readers
Always cite ideas you have borrowed. Even your ideas, if they are from your previous work. If you’re not sure you need to reference something, reference it anyway. Even if you don’t feel like looking for the source, give it the extra couple of (well, sometimes even a few tens of) minutes, find the source, and then reference it. And if someone helps you, for example, with proofreading or translation, which is not prohibited, include this information. In an academic text, it is better to give more information than to hide something. The clear awareness that you provide that your work was truly written by you and you correctly referenced everything is invaluable.
Bear In Mind The Three Techniques To Avoid Plagiarism
If you’re struggling to find an answer to “how to reduce plagiarism percentage?“, you should remember to –
- Distinguish someone else’s ideas from your own
- Reference the source
- Identify the source so it can be traced
Because it is easier to prevent plagiarism in the first place than attempting to eliminate traces of it after you’ve written your manuscript.
Own Up To Accusations Of Plagiarism If They’re True
If your plagiarism is exposed, admit it. If you are already trying to cover an error, do not wait for it to be exposed but acknowledge it. You will still be punished; however, at the same time, you will have opened a way out for yourself. It will ease your conscience, and you will be counted among those who face up to their accusers.
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