When one has a lot to read and write, chances of accidental plagiarism increase as it is quite possible that one copies something from somewhere and forgets to reference it right away. Here are some of the tips that can help students avoid plagiarism while writing their academic essays or theses.
1. Reflect: While researching for the topic of discussion, it is extremely important to stop and reflect on what you have read. This will not only ensure that the students understand what they are reading but will also give the students a chance to think for themselves and interpret in their own way, what they are reading.
2. Reading and Note Taking: Loads of reading would help students gain complete knowledge on their research topic and note taking will help them organise their thoughts. But it is also important that while reading and researching, students should not start writing their assignment as this will increase the chances of accidental plagiarism. Also, one should be careful while note taking and should note down the reference material details, to make it easy to go back to the same material while referencing.
3. Planning: Before writing, students should plan out their entire assignment – its tone, structure, style guide and every other detail based on their readings and notes. This will ensure that the writer knows the tone and the voice they want to use, and they can also avoid copy pasting the content while writing.
4. Summarising and paraphrasing: Once you are done reading it is important to practice the art of summarising and paraphrasing. The best way to do this by giving yourself some time. Once you are done reading and know what you want to write, give yourself a half a day before you start writing. This way, the writer is not under the influence of the written word and can write in their own words. But while doing this, do not go back to the readings before you are done writing.
5. Writing: Writing needs a lot of practice and more than often, the first draft would be full of errors and can lead to disastrous results. But as you continue reworking, you will develop your style and will find your voice.
6. Referencing: Do not leave referencing for the end, reference while you write. This way you can make sure no reference is missed out, based one which you can be charged for plagiarism.
7. Editing: It is extremely important to edit and re-edit your assignment to avoid plagiarism. Academic Editing would only ensure that nothing has missed your eye and the assignment is thorough.
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