Avoid Plagiarism Like the Plague When You Write Your Research Paper

We all know the tired phrase, “It will go on your permanent record”. Well, has anyone actually ever seen his or her permanent record? I haven’t, but nonetheless, nobody wants the mark of plagiarism following him or her around, on his or her permanent record. To avoid this fate, follow these steps while writing your next research paper in order to avoid plagiarism like the plague.


Before settling on a thesis statement and developing an outline for your research paper, you will want to make sure you are prepared. Having a sound understanding of your topic, prior to the paper planning process, will make for a much smoother (plagiarism free) writing experience. If you have a general understanding of your topic, you will feel more comfortable researching academic databases and prepping for your paper.


Once you feel that you have a good grasp on your subject and have gathered the necessary research, you will dive into the writing process. A lot of the research-based information you will share will be drawn from scholarly sources you have found. In order to avoid plagiarism when using these sources, you will want to make sure to paraphrase OR rephrase/reword the ideas of the author, into your own words. You will be sharing their information, but in your own voice. Once you have paraphrased another’s ideas, you will need to cite them as well.


Citing the information you use in a research paper is essential to separate your work from plagiarism to original. You are using the ideas of another writer or researcher to support the point you are making about the given topic, but providing citation gives credit to the original creator. The citations can be in MLA or APA format, whichever your professor specifies. Often MLA is used for humanities based subjects, and APA is used for more scientific based papers.


Another way to present information from another author, researcher or creator is to use quotes. A well-placed quote in a research paper can really drive home a point you are trying to make on the subject. Quotes should be used sparingly and not arbitrarily. Also, to avoid plagiarism, a quote should be prefaced with an introduction to the speaker and source, and concluded with a citation.

When writing your research paper, never copy and paste! You run the risk of blemishing your permanent record, when plagiarism could have been easily avoided with small simple changes. Prepare yourself on your topic so you feel comfortable putting ideas into your own words—with citations and a few quotes you will be on your way to an original A.

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