Writing a plagiarism-free essay is the goal of every student. Plagiarism is one of the leading issues in essay writing. So, we can use paraphrase tools or paraphrase generator tools to avoid plagiarism.
According to a study by Academic Integrity in College and Graduate school, around 40% of students admitted that they plagiarized their essays.
So, how should a student go about avoiding plagiarism? And what are some of the necessary steps that they can take?
Let’s dive in and find out.
Defining A Plagiarism-Free Essay
Plagiarism is the act of copying and presenting someone else’s work or ideas as one’s own. It happens when a person copies someone else’s work and tries to pass it off as their own. Plagiarism is not just an academic issue but also a moral and ethical one.
The person who plagiarizes assumes credit for the original author’s words, ideas, or thoughts without giving credit to the original author. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to take help from a paraphrase generator.
Paraphrase generators are the simplest and most efficient tools to ensure original writing. However, there are many other ways to ensure originality. Some of these methods are described below.
5 Ways To Write A Plagiarism-Free Essay
There are many ways to write plagiarism-free essays. Aiming to write original content from scratch is one sure-fire method, or picking a paraphrase tool to rephrase something without plagiarizing.
Undoubtedly, most people will prefer the easiest possible method, which is using a paraphrase tool; however, it is still important to know about every paraphrasing technique available.
In this section, we’ll describe five key practices used by writers. So, let’s begin.
- Researching Thoroughly
One of the main reasons behind plagiarism is a lack of understanding of the topic and subject matter. This is what leads many writers to plagiarize as they simply do not understand the topic or subject at hand. So, instead of learning to do better, plagiarism seems like an easy way out.
Plagiarism causes a lot more issues. That’s why the first advice you need regarding how to avoid plagiarism is to conduct thorough research. Now, the type of research for your essay depends on a few things, such as:
- Essay topic or subject;
- Essay category and type;
- Essay deadline or time frame.
So, how do you tend to each of these important things in your essay research?
- First, let’s talk about the topic or subject. There are many ways you can search for information on any particular subject. Some of the most commonly used options online include Google, Google Scholar, YouTube, or ask an expert. Granted, the last one isn’t always feasible, but it’s possible.
- Second, there are many types of essays, such as personal essays, journeys, research essays, etc. So, you need to determine the type of research you’ll need. If you’re going to write something about a personal journey, then your research will be based on your experience.
- Third, you need to understand how much time you have at hand. For example, if you have three days before the submission is due, then you cannot spend more than a day on researching. Instead, you have to divide each day according to importance.
Thus, it is important to divide the research into sections, such as researching, drafting, and writing. This way, you’ll have ample space to fix issues and remove errors or mistakes before submitting your essay.
2. The Importance Of Taking Notes
The next step you’re going to take is taking notes. Now, jotting down notes is much akin to summarizing something in your own words. However, you cannot write notes worth hundreds of words. Instead, your note-taking should be about important information.
Moreover, it should be about helping you create an outline. One of the main reasons behind plagiarism is a lack of structure and access to necessary information when needed. That’s why note-taking allows you to tackle these issues firmly.
So, how do you take notes to avoid plagiarism? Here are a few tips:
- Take notes in your own words, even if something seems appealing in another writer’s words;
- Briefly summarize something in-depth or detailed so that you can describe it in your own words later;
- Take something important and mark it down with a bracket to put emphasis on it in your essay;
- Create a reference each time you take a note from another source;
- Be concise and clear in note-taking—mention the worth of information, if possible.
Remember, note-taking isn’t about discussion or argument. Instead, it should be about pointing you in the right direction when you need information during writing. Therefore, notes should be brief yet descriptive.
Let’s say you’re writing a 3000-word essay. In that case, the notes cannot afford to be more than 300-400 words. This way, you’ll have enough content to formulate an outline for your essay, which is essential to avoiding plagiarism.
3. Understanding & Writing In Your Own Words
This is where you start writing your content and take the first step to avoid plagiarism. So, what’s the most common cause of plagiarism? A lack of citations? A lack of research? Perhaps it’s a bit of both?
Many experts believe the main cause of plagiarism to be a writer’s fault in never explaining something in their own words. Granted, there are universal concepts that you just cannot take credit for, but that doesn’t mean you cannot describe something in your own words.
Remember, this isn’t about paraphrasing what another author has said; instead, it’s about giving your reader your perspective on an idea. So, how do you describe something in your own words?
Use the synonyms or phrases that you commonly would;
- Avoid using the same words or synonyms as the original author;
- Ensure that you understand the idea by reading and reading again;
- Understand the passage or content, then let your mind speak to you;
- Follow the voice in your brain;
- Write down the first thing that comes to your mind, then polish it;
- Ensure that you provide your own understanding in between;
- If something is complex, try to simplify it in layman’s terms;
- Avoid using jargon or techy language.
These are some of the key ways that many writers describe something in their own words. It’s otherwise known as a tone or voice that a writer might use to write their content. In your essay, you need to develop your own voice or tone.
Now, it shouldn’t be confused with formal or informal content tone. Instead, it should give the reader the image of you speaking once they read your content. Hence, it’s important that you generate a voice and provide emphasis on certain arguments and debates in your own words in your essay.
4. Paraphrasing: The Art Of Rephrasing
Paraphrasing is one of the easiest ways to avoid plagiarism. Even from an early age, we’re taught in school that paraphrasing has many benefits, such as retaining information or understanding something better. Those all work, but paraphrasing has an added benefit in essay writing.
It avoids plagiarism. To help you get there, you can use a paraphrase generator, but there are other manual ways to paraphrase as well. First off, let’s understand the basics of paraphrasing. What exactly does it entail?
Paraphrasing is about expressing something in different words, using the same idea or context. Now, let’s take this short passage for example:
“Johnny drove his car to work every day. One day he forgot to repair his car, so it broke down. Then, he couldn’t make it to work on time.”
If you were to paraphrase it, you’d have to break it down. In the above example, the subject is Johnny, and the topic is his car facing issues because of Johnny’s neglect. So, how do you paraphrase it? Here’s how:
“Even though Johnny kept his car preserved to make it to work, he forgot to do basic maintenance work one day. So, the car broke down, and Johnny faced the consequences; namely, that he was not able to get to work on time.”
As you can see, the paraphrased section puts a lot more emphasis on Johnny’s neglect and how his car broke down. So, how do you formulate a paraphrasing process? Here are a few tactics you can use each time:
• Read the original text repeatedly;
• Understand the subject and main topic;
• Cover the idea in your own words;
• Or, use alternative or better words to describe the same thing;
• Cite the source to avoid plagiarism.
Now, you can try a paraphrase tool to the same effect, but you need to ensure that you cite the source of the original content. This way, you don’t only avoid plagiarism effectively; you ensure that you’re writing something in your own words.
Hence, it’s important to learn how to paraphrase properly, whether with the help of a tool or by yourself.
5. Citations: Which Style To Choose?
Citation styles come in many shapes and forms, and it’s important to pick the one that suits you the most. This comes down to the category for which you’re writing your essay. So, let’s say you have three citation styles, such as:
Which one do you use and when? As mentioned before, it comes down to your essay’s category, but here’s when each citation is more suitable:
- MLA, or Modern Language Association, is suited for English literature, communication, religious studies, foreign language studies, or literature in general.
- APA is ideal for psychology, educational essays, business-related topics, economics, or linguistic studies.
- Chicago is ideal for art, history, philosophy, etc.
These three citation styles can help you avoid plagiarism, but you should opt for the one that suits your essay’s category the most. Therefore, you need to go back to the process mentioned earlier. Here’s how:
- Rewrite using your own words;
- Use note-taking and research;
- Paraphrase properly;
- Use one of these citation styles to avoid plagiarism.
This way, you will effectively steer clear of plagiarism. As a result, you’d have an original essay with proper citation and structure, as well as a thorough and deep understanding of the topic.
These are some of the best practices to help you avoid plagiarism in your essays. Remember, you need to intend to avoid plagiarism from the time you start writing. Therefore, you’ll have to make sure you’re researching, structuring, taking notes, and writing original content to avoid plagiarism.
About the Author:
Eiswan Ali Kazmi is a passionate content writer and blogger. Being devoted to making a difference through his publications, he chose to blog as a career during his academic years. Compiling his knowledge of Information Technology, he is pursuing to present technological solutions through his writings.