Plagiarism is a concept that we learn about as early as elementary school. We are taught to give credit to others when we use their work. Plagiarism is the failure to credit someone after using their words or ideas. As students, it may sometimes prove difficult to remember to credit the sources you use on projects and research papers. Some students may learn faster than others, because plagiarizing can lead to a failing grade. The consequences for plagiarism become greater as your education level ascends. Once you become a college student, any type of plagiarism could result in serious academic consequences. The following tips are capable of helping one avoid plagiarism and the often disastrous consequences that it can cause.

1. Quotation Marks

Use quotation marks around words taken verbatim from an outside source. Quotation marks show that you are repeating or stating a sentence that someone else originally said. When you are only using a certain part of a sentence or paragraph use ellipses (…) to take the place of words you are not putting in the paper. If you are going to add words to a sentence you are using from someone else, you put the additional words in brackets [for example].

2. Paraphrasing

When you want to say something similar to what someone else has already said, NEVER use their words. Avoid using the same technique they structured their sentences with. Be creative and put it all into your own words. The best way to paraphrase is to write your papers without the source material, that way you are forcing yourself to put your source’s ideas into your own words.

3. Cite Sources

Students are always instructed to cite outside sources used on essays and papers. This simply means to give credit to the person whose work you sampled or used in your work. Citations can be in the paper in parentheses after the quote is used. The Works Cited sheet contains a comprehensive list of all outside sources used in a given work.

4. Check Yourself for Plagiarism

There are many ways to check to see if you may have plagiarized. There are websites, such as TurnItIn.com or PaperRater.com, that scan the paper for unoriginal material automatically. Students can also self-check by re-reading a paper and making sure that every sentence is original. If there are sentences you did not create, be sure they are in quotations and their source is listed on your Works Cited page.

There are simple ways to prevent plagiarism, so practice them every time you write, use pictures or do research. It is very important to use your own work and words. The consequences for plagiarism on a college level can include a full dismissal from the university. UWA professors use a variety of resources to quickly catch and report any instances of plagiarism. So, it is very important that we all use the techniques above to ensure that sources are properly credited. Always credit others, and never plagiarize.

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