Plagiarism : How to Avoid It in Essay Writing


Plagiarism is not only unethical but it is illegal. Claiming that someone else’s work is your own is the definition of plagiarism and is definitely a taboo in essay writing. The reason plagiarism is a challenge to the essay writer is that often the instructor will ask you to use professional opinions and other people’s research within your essay. The trick is to show that what you are writing is someone else’s ideas or work; while still adding something new and unique of your own to the work. Any text quoted verbatim must always have quotation marks, (“ “) and be cited as to the origin. If you are stating information, in your own words or paraphrased, from another source you must also cite the origin with an in text citation and bibliography. Many professors are using software like Turnitin and other anti-plagiarism programs and scan the student’s work to ensure that the work is original.

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            Plagiarism does include not citing works that come from different sources. For instance, if the ideas and the information you receive from another source is not cited, even if paraphrased, that is plagiarism. Every piece of research or informative facts that the writer finds, whether it is from primary sources, books or the Internet, those pieces of information must be correctly cited within the essay.

            There are two specific types of ways to cite an original source and those are in text citations and footnotes/endnotes. When citing original sources in an in text citing, the formats are usually that the writer encloses the author’s last name, year and page (s) of entry within parentheses. If the citations are in a format which calls for footnotes or endnotes, the writer should follow the guidelines of the format (usually these are Harvard or Chicago/Turabian).

            Plagiarism is a serious crime (although that may seem harsh, it is true). You may not have to be incarcerated, but you may lose your ability to attend college or given a failing grade. Most universities do have honor codes that must be respected and plagiarism is a major part of that honor code.