Ideas on how to craft
It can be difficult to write something in your own words that you’ve just read in someone else’s words. No other words seem to fit just right or sound as good as the original. You will end up reading quite a bit of material. The best way to avoid plagiarizing is don’t even start writing until after you’ve read everything. You could take a few notes here and there, but try to get all the information in your brain and then take a day to think about it. Plagiarism is using someone else’s information without acknowledging where it came from. Even if you don’t quote it word for word, don’t pass off someone else’s ideas as your own or it can be called plagiarism.
Here’s an example of what circumstances you would want to give credit for sources:
1. Any graphs, statistics, facts or other pieces of information that aren’t considered to be in the body of common knowledge. For example, someone’s research findings.
2. Someone else’s theory, opinion or idea about something
3. Paraphrasing someone else’s written words or spoken words
4. Exact quotes of someone else’s actual written or spoken words.
Remember that it’s not only acceptable to give credit to another person for their work, it is essential!
Giving credit when paraphrasing
Even when you are using your own words to describe another person’s work, the source of information must be cited correctly. A paraphrase is when you make a restatement of another author’s information or ideas. To give proper reference to the source, the citation must include the author’s name and the date the material was published.
Giving credit when quoting
Some students wonder when and how often they should quote. They love the original author’s words so much they are reluctant to paraphrase. Yet an essay that’s full of quotes is not interesting to read and can look too cluttered. Quotes are only effective when they are used sparingly. And then they really have power. Quotes should never be longer than one or two paragraphs. In a short essay, quotes should only be one or two sentences. Quotes should fit seamlessly into your essay. They should fit into the discussion where you have placed them. Use them very carefully and they can strengthen meaning and provide intense effect.
Giving credit when summarizing another’s work
Most research papers require a literature review. If your essay does not require a specific section for a literature review, you can still make use of other people’s work by summarizing in a few sentences what another researcher has done and how his or her findings relate to your essay topic. You can reference the source in your summary sentence as well as listing the original sources in the reference section.
Avoiding plagiarism using correct citations
When you are in doubt as to whether or not you need to cite a source, it’s better to do so than to neglect it and possibly run the risk if plagiarism. When words or ideas or research findings are not your own, you avoid plagiarizing by crediting the original author. Some examples of sources where you might get some of this information are: books, academic journals, an interviews, a web site, a recorded speech etc.
Common knowledge does not require to be referenced. The body of common knowledge are ideas or facts that are accepted as belonging to everyone and not the intellectual property of any one individual. On the other hand, an article in a scholarly journal would present material that belongs to the author, and would warrant citation.
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