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Best Practices for Avoiding Plagiarism
are many ways to avoid plagiarism, including developing good research
habits, good time management, and taking responsibility for your own
learning. Here are some specific tips:
Don't procrastinate with your research and assignments. Good
research takes time. Procrastinating makes it likely you'll run out of
time or be unduly pressured to finish. This sort of pressure can often
lead to sloppy research habits and bad decisions. Plan your research
well in advance, and seek help when needed from your professor, from
librarians and other campus support staff.
Commit to doing your own work. If
you don't understand an assignment, talk with your professor. Don't
take the "easy way" out by asking your roommate or friends for copies of
old assignments. A different aspect of this is group work. Group
projects are very popular in some classes on campus, but not all. Make
sure you clearly understand when your professor says it's okay to work
with others on assignments and submit group work on assignments, versus
when assignments and papers need to represent your own work.
Be 100% scrupulousin your note taking. As
you prepare your paper or research, and as you begin drafting your
paper. One good practice is to clearly label in your notes your own
ideas (write "ME" in parentheses) and ideas and words from others (write
"SMITH, 2005" or something to indicate author, source, source date).
Keep good records of the sources you consult, and the ideas you take
from them. If you're writing a paper, you'll need this information for
your bibliographies or references cited list anyway, so you'll benefit
from good organization from the beginning.
Cite your sources scrupulously. Always
cite other people's work, words, ideas and phrases that you use
directly or indirectly in your paper. Regardless of whether you found
the information in a book, article, or website, and whether it's text, a
graphic, an illustration, chart or table, you need to cite it. When you
use words or phrases from other sources, these need to be in quotes.
Understand good paraphrasing. Simply
using synonyms or scrambling an author's words and phrases and then
using these "rewrites" uncredited in your work is plagiarism, plain and
simple. Good paraphrasing requires that you genuinely understand the
original source, that you are genuinely using your own words to
summarize a point or concept, and that you insert in quotes any unique
words or phrases you use from the original source. Good paraphrasing also requires that you cite the original source. Anything less and you veer into the dangerous territory of plagiarism.