At Turnitin, we get a lot of questions about the best way for students to avoid plagiarism.
In a series of four blog posts, I will share four simple practices to avoid unintentional plagiarism, one kind of plagiarism that we see at Turnitin.
Like any endeavor, writing is a practice where preparation and organization can go a long way to ensuring success. The first way to avoid plagiarism in your paper is to make a source list of all the sources you have used while researching your topic.
The first and most important step to prevent plagiarism in your paper is to take detailed notes about what sources you used in your research. While researching and taking notes about the paper’s topic make sure that you write down the sources citation information. Since most research is now done online, it’s easy to get sucked into copy and paste note taking. Without diligent capturing of source information a student could be left in a tough spot near the assignment deadline as they scramble to cite all the sources in their paper.
I speak from personal experience. When writing my senior thesis, I stayed up late into the night properly citing all my sources because I did not make an adequate source list. Let me tell you that the weeklong eye twitch due to my high caffeine intake that long night could have been avoided if I had been better organized during the research process.
Creating a clear paper trail during the writing process is one simple way to avoid plagiarism. In the next post, I will share another lesson learned in avoiding unintentional plagiarism.