This is a sponsored guest post.
At a glance, avoiding plagiarism in your writing seems to be an easy task. Just do not copy/paste bits and pieces of texts written by someone else, and you are good. However, plagiarism is a complicated issue, and sometimes you can run into trouble without intending to steal someone else’s work. After all, plagiarism is a very serious offense in academic circles, and even being suspected of it can ruin one’s career (in some cases one can even be expelled from college). So, if you want to feel safe, read on – we will tell you what you can do to protect yourself.
Understand What Plagiarism Is
First and foremost, you should know and understand the exact definition of what you deal with. According to the Cambridge dictionary, plagiarism is the use of another person’s work or ideas while pretending that they are your own. However, it can take many different forms and is not limited to simply copy/pasting fragments of text (or the entire text wholesale). If you reword and rephrase the original while still passing the ideas as your own, it is still plagiarism. If you use parts of your own earlier essay in another paper to finish it fast, it is still plagiarism. If you cite a course that does not exist or ascribe something you made up to the existing source, it is, surprisingly, still plagiarism.
Make Sure You Properly Quote and Paraphrase Your Sources
Depending on the citation style you use, the rules you should use when you write your paper will differ, sometimes dramatically. Use online style guides in order to better understand the intricacies of each style, or ask somebody who is well-informed on the subject for help. Colleges in the UK and the USA may use different variations of the rules, so be careful. Reread your paper once you finish it to make sure you did not forget any quotation marks. Now, you may think that it is a pure formality, but it is really important – you can be accused of plagiarism even if you simply forgot to mark your citation graphically.
Check Your Reference List
All the sources you use in your essay should be listed in its bibliography, so make sure you did not forget a single one. It is especially important if you hire a writing service and say, “Write my essay online, please,” because one can never be completely sure about the work of somebody whose personality you do not know. If you tend to buy your custom writing from cheap agencies and ask them to complete the job the same day, the likelihood of the writer’s missing something is even higher.
Use Plagiarism Checkers
You can find plenty of online services offering you to run a plagiarism check for your text these days. You do not even have to pay anything to use some of them. Even if you have completed your essay today and have to check it without delays, it is usually possible to do so. You may think that after performing all the steps we listed before, you are safe, but in reality, there is a such thing as accidental plagiarism – your writing may resemble some other text without your intention. You may have read it before and subconsciously imitate its wording, or it may even be a complete coincidence.
Hire a Proofreader
Checking your text by yourself is good, but it is always better to have somebody not acquainted with it to do this job. Contact a professional proofreader, say, “Please proofread my essay for me and pay special attention to plagiarism.”
Follow these steps, and you will be well-protected from all kinds of plagiarism.