Plagiarism is one of the biggest issues for many students, and it has severe consequences in the academic world. With online learning, it’s easier than ever to plagiarize accidentally or intentionally. Students can quickly open a search engine to look up answers for online tests or copy an essay off the internet and pass it as their own. If you have ever been tempted to plagiarize others’ ideas, we recommend you don’t do it. If plagiarism is caught, it could lead to disastrous consequences. Here are a few strategies to stay away from plagiarism in your virtual learning journey.
1. Use Tools to Self-Check Your Assignments for PlagiarismSometimes plagiarism is unintentional and can be a matter of a missing citation or poor notetaking. Before you turn in your assignments, make sure to run them through online plagiarism detecting tools to check if you have accidentally plagiarized anything. Some tools that can help you include:
- WhiteSmoke (besides checking for plagiarism, it also checks for grammar and punctuation errors)
- Grammarly (Grammarly has a premium version that checks for plagiarism)
2. Give Yourself Adequate Time to Write a PaperWhen you procrastinate on assignments, you are more likely to give in to the temptation to copy an essay from the internet and pass it as your own. The best strategy to avoid plagiarism is to give yourself enough time to study the subject and prepare the paper. Starting early also gives you time to revise, edit, and proofread your essay. You won’t feel the pressure of an upcoming deadline and can take the time to do the assignment well.
3. Don’t Just ParaphraseParaphrasing is one of the biggest reasons for accidental plagiarism. It’s okay to get ideas from essays and articles when you do research. But when drafting a paper, present your thoughts as well. You want your writing to value the topic, making connections with the research you gathered or texts you are studying. Include your insights on the subject.
4. Give References
Before you turn in the paper, make sure that you have cited all your sources correctly. Even if you refer to online blogs, it’s still someone’s original work, and you need to give them proper credit. Following the citation guidelines that your professor requires to avoid issues with plagiarism.