Literary Research Papers - Avoiding Plagiarism

In the world of writing, plagiarism is one of the most heinous crimes that you could ever commit. It is also, however, one of the easiest to commit, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Plagiarism is the term used to describe the direct copy of someone else’s work, and claiming it as your own. This can be something as basic as copying and pasting work into a word document and claiming it is yours, or taking an idea intentionally and claiming it as your own. Below is a list of ways to help you avoid plagiarism and keep yourself from committing this serious crime, as well as jeopardizing your paper and grade.

  1. Be Careful with Your Research – Be careful how you record your research. Copying and pasting research into a word document, word-for-word, may cause you to unintentionally plagiarize, even if you don’t mean to. Jotting down or summarizing your own notes can help you avoid plagiarism, as it ensures you put things down in your own words whether than using theirs.
  2. Cite Your Sources – If you do want to include passages from books or articles, it is vital to cite your sources! This allows you to include them in your paper without claiming the material as your own, therefore avoiding plagiarism. Always make sure to cite your sources whenever including the work of another, no matter how small.
  3. Don’t Copy From Your Friends – Copying from your friends’ work, even with their permission, also counts as plagiarism, because it is still claiming another’s work as your own. Do not think that having their permission excludes you from the consequences of plagiarism; you will still be treated the same as if you had blatantly copied from a textbook.
  4. Be Cautious – When in doubt, cite that source, and add those quotation marks. It is much better to overcompensate than be accused of plagiarism. No matter how unintentional it was, you will still have to face the consequences of those who did it intentionally with the hopes of not being caught. Always be cautious, and don’t take those chances with your paper or grade!

By following the tips I have listed above, you will be able to avoid accidental plagiarism while writing your papers. Always remember to keep careful records of any ideas or research you come across, and to always cite your sources, even if it seems too extreme.