How to avoid plagiarism


If you are a university student, it is critical that you do not plagiarize in your work; otherwise, you risk failing your academic paper, being suspended from your academic institution, or even being expelled.

Read our how-to guide to learn more about plagiarism and how to avoid it by citing sources correctly.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism has important consequences, so make sure to follow these guidelines for any type of paper you write.

Step 1: Maintain a list of your sources

One of the reasons why students commit plagiarism is that they forget where an idea came from and present it as their own unintentionally. So…

Step 2: Use quotations

Suppose you intend to convey an idea or a piece of information from a source during your writing process. In that case, you must either paraphrase or quote the original text.


Quotation example

The ancient Greeks never felt the necessity to justify battles fought outside the city state’s boundaries.

In her book On Revolution, Hannah Arendt argues that “…we must turn to Roman antiquity to find the first justification of war, together with the first notion that there are just and unjust wars” (12).

However, the Roman view of a fair war differs significantly from current notions.

Step 3: Paraphrase

Presenting thoughts and facts in your own words while recognizing where they come from is known as paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing example

Original Text Paraphrased Version
“The cold ocean water around Antarctica flows north to mix with warmer water from the tropics, and its upwellings help to cool both the surface water and our atmosphere. Yet the fragility of this regulating system is now threatened by human activity.” From “Captain Cousteau,” Audubon (May 1990):17.
The cold ocean water surrounding Antarctica moves north to mingle with warmer water from the tropics. Its upwellings assist in cooling the surface water and our atmosphere. Human activity, however, has put this regulating system’s fragility in jeopardy.

The author’s primary idea has been rephrased and edited in the paraphrased example, as well as the sequence of material and sentence structure. When paraphrasing, be sure that your content isn’t too similar to the source to avoid plagiarism.

When to use quotation or paraphrasing

You should use quotation if…

You should paraphrase if…

Whichever you use, don’t forget to cite it!

Step 4: Cite your sources

You need to cite any words or ideas that are not your own and were taken from another source.

For example, “Berlin is the capital of Germany” is a well-known and undisputed fact. Therefore, you don’t need to provide a citation for it.

There are several citation styles, each with its own set of criteria for citing. APA, MLA, and Chicago Style are among the most popular. The most crucial aspect is to use the same style throughout the content.

Step 5: Use an online plagiarism checker

You can check how much of your work is plagiarized using a variety of plagiarism detection websites such as EasyBib or Grammarly.

These tips can help you prevent plagiarism in your essay or research paper. Learning how to avoid plagiarism, in addition to being more aware of what causes plagiarism, requires regular practice. So, keep working.

Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for reading. If you need further information, feel free to have a look at our essay samples or contact us at live chat.

Ibrahim Akturk
Ibrahim Akturk
Content editor at Tamara Research. Translation major, huge coffee and baking nerd. Addicted to good music and great articles.

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