11 Simple, But Profound Hacks Reveal How to Avoid Plagiarism as A Student Even If You’re Doing the Writing Yourself

How to Avoid Plagiarism As A Student
How to Avoid Plagiarism As A Student

Being a college student means you will be researching, analyzing and writing a lot of assignments. To ensure those assignments originated from you, rather than somewhere else, universities encourage students to desist from acts of plagiarism. However, when it comes to academic assignment writing, one of the areas most students struggle with is plagiarism. Therefore, how to avoid plagiarism as a student is crucial to the success of your academic endeavours.

Of what use is spending six months or even a year to research, analyze and present your final year thesis/dissertation to your lecturer and then be marked zero because the entire work has been highly plagiarized and you have to resist or even worse be cancelled from the course? If you want to do well as a college student, you need to take this article and the hacks that will be presented here seriously as though your life depends on it, or else, your academic pursuits will be in danger of the perils of plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

First and foremost, what is plagiarism? It is simply presenting someone’s ideas, thoughts and information, intentionally or unintentionally—as your own—without acknowledging or crediting them for their input. If you look at it from one angle, it’s almost like stealing someone’s intellectual property and presenting that as yours and passing off it.

Plagiarism, in most universities, is a serious offence, because it means you haven’t done the work, you don’t understand the project, but you simply copied, paraphrased or took a published or unpublished work that answers that question and gets the right marks. Universities there categorize plagiarism as academic misconduct and then attract a penalty when caught.

The Dangers of Plagiarism as A Student

As a college student, one of the last things you want to hear about yourself is being known as a student who often passes off other people’s work by plagiarism. The dangers of plagiarism vary per school, but there are often some punishments that universities dish out to students to serve as a deterrent to others to desist from acts of plagiarism.

Below are some of them:

  • Cancelling your work entirely
  • Giving you a zero mark for the entire work you have done
  • Resisting you for the course again
  • Terminating your course

Did you read the last penalty well—absolutely, terminating your course with the university. In most universities, the last offence is applied if a student continuously plagiarizes or commits a grievous offence in the act of plagiarism. As a result of these penalties, you want to completely, entirely and ultimately avoid plagiarism as a student in all your academic research, analysis, assessment and writing.

11 Hacks to Avoid Plagiarism as A Student

So, how do you avoid plagiarism as a student? Well, below are reliable and credible tips that will enable you to write plagiarism-free academic assignments that your lecturers will love, give you a high pass mark and most importantly enable you to do well in your academic pursuits:

1.     Put the author’s ideas and definitions in direct quotation marks

When you are doing research writing, there are a lot of terms that need to be defined. In most cases, those terms have already been defined by the industry and expert authors through published books, journals, website articles, news articles and more. The best thing to do as a student is to always put any definition you have inserted into your work in a direct quotation mark. In this way, the lecturer will realize that the definition is not yours but rather the author you’re referencing.

Quoting Properly: How to Quote | Citing Quotes in APA, MLA & Chicago (Image Source: Scribbr)
Quoting Properly: How to Quote | Citing Quotes in APA, MLA & Chicago (Image Source: Scribbr)

2.     Keep a note of your research sources as you write to avoid forgetting where an idea came from

One of the common mistakes that most academic writers and students make is forgetting where an idea that they have used in their writing came from and claiming it as theirs. That is tantamount to unintentional plagiarism. You have not deliberately plagiarized the content, but you have still committed the act by not properly referencing the originator of that idea. So, how do you go about that? Well, the best thing to do is to keep a note of your research sources as you write.

 

3.     Credit the originator of the idea as you write through in-text citations and reference lists as you write

It’s not enough to keep track or take note of your research sources as you write or consult. You also need to immediately cite the authors in the article, paper or thesis as you write. The keyword here is—immediately. If you think you can cite them when you finish a paragraph or chapter, you’re just signing your recipe for plagiarism disaster in your assignment.

Direct Quoting – Image Source: Intercultural Business Communication (How to Avoid Plagiarism As A Student)
Direct Quoting – Image Source: Intercultural Business Communication (How to Avoid Plagiarism As A Student)

The best thing to do here is to cite them in the text as you write as opposed to completing the assignment and then referencing the authors in the writing. This mistake of not keeping track of your research sources, and citing them as you write can contribute to a high-portion of plagiarism in your work.

4.     Write in your own words rather than using the author’s words and cite correctly afterwards

Another main area of plagiarism is paraphrasing. If you look at that word closely, you’ll realize that it’s two words combined, “PARA” and “PHRASING”. You see, sometimes, as you research, you’ll realize an idea is so good and relevant to your work so much that you need to pick it up. But here is the problem—you don’t want to copy and paste the work into your academic writing assignment.

Original text Paraphrasing Commentary
“Japan today enjoys one of the highest standards of living of any nation” (Flath, 2022, p.2)  Professor of North Carolina State University David Flath believes that Japan nowadays is one of the best countries considering the quality of life (2022).  The paraphrased sentence has a different structure, slightly differs in the main idea, and uses different phrasing.

Source: Custom Writings 

So, you kind of paraphrase it. Now, if you don’t paraphrase the idea well, it will lead to plagiarism. Franci, how does that happen? Well, it happens when you rewrite the paragraph by mimicking or using words, phrases and sentences similar to what the original author had used. If you do that, your content will be regarded as plagiarized.

Well, so how do you paraphrase without plagiarizing? You read the paragraph, read more around the text and understand what the author or group of authors are trying to communicate. Better put you do your best to research the topic or concept so you can understand it so well that you can finally write the idea in your own words without using the author’s words. But please, you must remember to reference appropriately, based on the referencing style you are using.

5.     Use direct quotation marks around words you have copied directly

Okay, let’s assume that you copied some words or a few sentences which were not a definition of a particular terminology. The best thing you need to do here is to put a direct quotation mark around those words and reference them appropriately. If you refuse or forget to quote those words then, you’re unintentionally committing an act of academic misconduct known as plagiarism.

APA Quotes - Image Source: Bachelor Print
APA Quotes – Image Source: Bachelor Print

6.     Avoid copying and pasting other author’s ideas

Copy and pasting is very common if a student is finding it difficult to do an assignment that has already been done by someone else. What’s the shortcut? You copy and paste that work and just kind of slice or rewrite it a bit to show the whole idea belongs to you.

Avoid Copy & Paste of Other Author's Work in Your Academic Essay: How to Avoid Plagiarism As A Student
Avoid Copy & Paste of Other Author’s Work in Your Academic Essay: How to Avoid Plagiarism As A Student

Well, if you do that, you’re simply fooling yourself and the plagiarism software/checker your university uses will expose you and your work will be marked zero. What you need to do is to read, research broadly, understand the concept and then write in your own words in your style to avoid plagiarism as a student.

7.     Present your case with multiple sources instead of just one

Sometimes, one of the best ways to make your academic assignment bulletproof from plagiarism is to use multiple books, sources and authors for a single idea or concept. By leveraging multiple authors and referencing them correctly, it helps to ensure that your work is plagiarism-free.

You can use one single source, but as they say, “Two are better than one”. Using two references to prove a point is often stronger and better than one, especially if those references are relevant to the concept or idea you’re presenting. You can use two or even three references.

It makes your work clean and good. But in some cases, you can just use a single reference, that case—ensures the source is correct, reliable and credible and reference it appropriately based on the assignment instructions.

8.     Review your work and put identical, paraphrased words or phrases in quotes

When you are done with your academic writing, you should not be in a hurry to present. You always have to proofread, format the writing correctly and most importantly, put identical, paraphrased words/phrases in a quote and cite them appropriately. You don’t want to make the mistake of rushing and submitting your when you have not properly reviewed your work and corrected or removed any form of plagiarized content in your academic work.

 

9.     Understand how plagiarism checkers like Turnitin work

If part or the entire academic writing you are about to submit has been plagiarized, you’re likely going to get caught by the plagiarism or similarity software/checker your university uses. For most schools, the academic work will be checked via top-notch software like Turnitin before submissions are made and even before marking. Therefore, you need to understand how this plagiarism software works.

High Turnitin Score: High Level of Plagiarsm in This Content
High Turnitin Score: High Level of Plagiarism in This Content (Image Source: Teche MQ)

Well, how do they work? They simply scan your academic writing, and compare them with a database of journals, published books, webpages, blog articles and more to check the originality of the content. When sections of your work look similar to what is on the already created database of information, those areas will be highlighted and the percentage will be stroked out giving a percentage of the plagiarism/similarity of the academic writing submitted on the plagiarism software.

10. Check the plagiarism level of your work before you submit

If you want to double-check your work and be sure you have zero or low plagiarism, you need to use the software that your school prescribes or anything better. Usually, these plagiarism checkers will highlight sections of your content with similarities to other published content. How do they figure out that?

  • Content you have paraphrased without citing them.
  • The content you have used is paraphrased without properly quoting them.
  • Content you have copied and pasted, forgetting to cite them correctly and put in quotation marks.
  • Missing quotation marks around words, tenses, phrases or paragraphs you have used.
  • Similar writing in your academic writing that very closely resembles the original copy.
Turnitin: Low Similarity/Plagiarism Score (Image Source: niversity of Reading)
Turnitin: Low Similarity/Plagiarism Score (Image Source: University of Reading)

 

The accuracy rate in these plagiarism checkers varies. But mostly, your school will select one that or some that they trust is much more credible and reliable in its report. That is the reason they give a fair range or at least a 30% plagiarism score as safe for students. Some schools might even require lesser scores like 25%, 20% or even 15%.

11. Think twice before using AI tools for your academic writing assignments

It’s a very common practice for students to use AI to assist them in their academic research and writing. But you need to be very responsible if you are using AI tools like CHAT GPT to do your academic work. Usually, this and other software may produce answers by indexing a copy of an existing published text.

Be Responsible In Using AI for Your Academic Writing Assignments (Image Source: Gmast3r): Writemyresearchpaperforme.com
Be Responsible In Using AI for Your Academic Writing Assignments (Image Source: Gmast3r)

Therefore, if you copy and paste that information into your work, you risk damaging your reputation as a student and increasing the percentage of plagiarism in your work. Again, similarity and originality are what you need to consider here when using AI for academic assignments. The best you can do is to avoid using AI-generated content in your academic assignment—it will create problems for you and raise the plagiarism score, risking the cancellation of your final work.

Conclusion

As a general rule, the higher the originality of the content, the lower the plagiarism (Turnitin) score. The lower the originality of the content, the higher the score. Once you understand this, you know your goal is to create 100% original content with absolutely ZERO plagiarism, and then you won’t have to worry about plagiarism check scores like TURNITIN at all. When the content and the context are original, don’t worry at all, the plagiarism score will be low or even zero. The same applies to IA tests—it will also be low or zero.

That’s our goal at WriteMyResearchPaperForMe.Com. Our goal has always been to create 100% original, rich and high-quality content for all student assignments. Then, we don’t have to worry about AI & Turnitin/other plagiarism check scores. Therefore, the solution to a low Turnitin score or plagiarism score for all student assignments is to strive to create 100% original content… while using references and sources from different places. The more an assignment and its context mimic another, the higher the probability of a higher Turnitin score.

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Francis Sabutey
Fulfillment Manager at WriteMyResearchPaPerForMe.Com | + posts

Francis Sabutey is a highly skilled writer with over 6,000 articles, hundreds of academic essays and theses under his belt, and a proven ability to craft compelling content and academic works for clients across Ghana, the USA, the UK, and internationally. Leveraging expertise in business plan development, he also assists entrepreneurs in securing funding through strategic proposals/grants/contracts. His 8+ years of experience encompass work with clients in multiple industries, in over 9 countries. He’s a proud product of Ivy Business School (Canada) and the University College of Entrepreneurship (Affiliated to the University of Cape Coast).

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