How To Avoid Plagiarism In Academic Writing

Plagiarism is a common problem faced by students in all levels of learning institutions. Writing academic papers requires extensive research and taking notes on important points. While these steps are necessary to write evidence-based papers, most students end up with plagiarism issues. Furthermore, it is even more challenging to identify the problem due to various types of plagiarism. To understand how to avoid plagiarism, you should first know the plagiarism definition and its many different forms.

What Is Plagiarism?

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, plagiarism means to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own; use (another’s production) without crediting the source. It can be articles, art, film, or music. While others may accidentally copy others’ ideas, some do it intentionally which describes the stealing part in the definition. Besides, the Internet has made it easy to access people’s work thus increasing the chances of plagiarism.

Plagiarism is a serious crime in schools because it violates academic integrity. Such a violation has varying degrees of consequences in both professional and educational environments. In an academic setting, plagiarism may result in failing a course or even expulsion from the university.

Plagiarism includes various offenses like:

  •         Presenting others’ work as yours.
  •         Submitting your own text in different classes.
  •         Duplicating, restating, or summarizing others’ ideas without referencing the source.

Types of Plagiarism

As said before, plagiarism means passing off another person’s work as your original content. It is the main cause of stress among students. At times, writers are not even aware of it due to its many forms. Therefore, it is essential to understand the various types of plagiarism and how they occur in order to avoid them. Also, you can use plagiarism software to check plagiarism free.

Complete plagiarism

This is the worst sort of plagiarism that is more frequent in learning institutions than content marketing. It refers to taking someone’s entire project and writing your name as the author. Complete plagiarism is basically stealing.

Direct or Verbatim plagiarism

Also known as copy and paste, direct plagiarism is intentional copying another person’s text word for word without proper citation or use of quotation marks. It is different from complete plagiarism since it only involves copying sections of a text rather than the whole paper.  verbatim results in serious disciplinary actions because it is regarded as dishonesty and violation of academic rules.

Paraphrasing plagiarism

This type of plagiarism occurs when you rewrite someone else’s writing using your own words but without acknowledging the source. Although the wording is different, the original idea remains the same.

Mosaic plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism also referred to as patchwork is quite difficult to detect. This is because it involves substituting someone’s work with synonyms and removing or adding phrases. Besides, different sources may also be included and intertwined with the writer’s own ideas. In a way, paraphrasing and mosaic plagiarism are similar in terms of withholding credit to the original author.


With self-plagiarism, a writer falls into the trap by repurposing their own previous work or part of their text rather than writing from scratch. Submitting the same paper for a different class without first consulting both professors can cause dire outcomes.

Although sometimes self-plagiarism may seem harmless since you are not stealing from anyone, the consequences are still damaging. For website owners, plagiarism detection from Google could get your site penalized.

Accidental plagiarism

People don’t always plan to plagiarize work. Wrong citation or omission of quotation mark(s) is still considered as plagiarism. You may even find that you have used the same words or sentence structure without knowing. Therefore, you should always double-check everything to ensure that you correctly cite all your sources. Keep in mind that not knowing cannot be used as an excuse to pardon the violation.

Source-based plagiarism/misattribution

This offense happens when you wrongfully attribute a written text to a source. Let’s say a journal is written by A but you attribute it to C. Whether it is deliberate or not, you are still guilty of the crime.

It also involves making up non-existing information and fabricating sources. Not only is source-based plagiarism disrespectful to fellow writers but also misleading in some settings like the medical field.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a complicated subject but avoiding it is necessary to preserve your reputation. You don’t have to cite your own ideas or general information known to the public. However, you should properly attribute findings, ideas, and concepts borrowed from other sources. Now that you know how plagiarism occurs, how do you avoid them?

Here are a few tips on how to avoid plagiarism:

  • Know what constitutes plagiarism
  • Understand the difference between quoting and paraphrasing
  • Properly paraphrase and quote your content
  • Learn how to cite sources correctly
  • Research extensively and understand the information
  • Keep account of the sources you use. You could use reference manager or EndNote for this purpose.
  • Include a reference page
  • Add value by including your ideas with a unique perspective
  • Plan ahead to ensure you get enough time to proofread your work and scan for plagiarism
  • Use an online plagiarism checker

The Best Free Plagiarism Checker

When writing articles there is always a risk of committing plagiarism. You can always use plagiarism checker tools as well as plagiarism remover to avoid unnecessary problems. This software searches if any part of your text matches any other written work on the internet.

Some of the best online plagiarism detectors include:

  • Turnitin plagiarism checker
  • Scribbr plagiarism checker
  • Grammarly plagiarism checker


Avoiding plagiarism is a must when it comes to maintaining academic integrity. As intimidating as it may seem, it begins with understanding plagiarism’s meaning and its various types.

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