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How to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a very serious academic offense. You can fail a class because of it. At worst, you can get expelled for it. As such, it is vital to know how to avoid plagiarism.


In most instances, you will have to use sources when you write your paper. Having the proper citations in your paper is a way to avoid plagiarism. It is how you give credit to the authors of the works you are using in your paper.

When you copy something directly from a source, without changing any of the wording, you need to put quotation marks around it. The quotation must be exactly as it appears. If you change it in any way, even if a word is misspelled, you are misquoting the author. You also need an in-text citation and a citation in the Works Cited section.

For example, a student writes a literary analysis in MLA format on Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. They need to quote passages directly from the book. Here is how one of those passages would be cited in-text:

“Miss Crawford was not slow to admire; she pretty well guessed Miss Bertram’s feelings, and made it a point of honour to promote her enjoyment to the utmost.” (Austen 67).

The author’s name and page number is in parentheses. The author’s name can also be included in the text that comes before the direct quotation. In that case, only the page number needs to be in parentheses.

Now, here is how the book would be citied on the Words Cited page:

Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. New York: Bantam Books, 1983. Print.

First, you see the author and book title. That is obvious. New York is where that particular edition of the book was published. Bantam Books is the publisher. 1983 is the year this edition of the book was published. The medium of publication is Print.

Now, if the student wants to quote a longer passage from the book in his paper, he can omit the quotation marks and use a block quote format. The citation format would still be the same.

In MLA format, as well as other styles like APA and Chicago, the way citations are formatted depends on the type of source used and their method of publication. It is important to refer to the style guide for the format your professor wants you to use so that you can provide the proper citations.

When you paraphrase something from a text in your paper, you need to attribute that with a proper citation as well. You are still stating ideas that are not your own, even if you are putting them in your own words. When you summarize the main ideas about a topic found in a source, that needs to be cited as well. To attribute the paraphrase or summary to the original source, you just have mention the source in the summary or paraphrase.

You do not need to cite common knowledge about a subject. When something is commonly known about a subject, that fact occurs in many sources about that subject. For example, it is a commonly known fact that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. That fact is in most books and articles about World War II.

Other Methods to Avoid Plagiarism

  1. One method to avoid plagiarism is to be careful when taking notes during your research. When you are doing research for a paper, you need to indicate in your notes anything that was taken from a source that you are reading. Put the name of the source and the author next to that note so you know where that particular note came from when you are creating the outline and writing the paper at a later time.

  2. Creating a detailed outline for your paper is another effective way to avoid plagiarism. In your outline, indicate which ideas are your own, and which ideas come from other sources. Doing this will save you time when you are writing the paper later because you won’t have to stop and look through your sources.

  3. You also need to analyze your sources. To do this you need to look at the author and find out what their authority is regarding the subject of the book. You need to make sure the information in the book is current and not out of date. You also need to look at the sources that the author used. If there’s only a few sources, or none at all, then the information the author is presenting in the book or article could be plagiarized. If you use your university library for research, you can avoid this issue, as university libraries only keep reliable sources in their collection.

After you analyze your sources, you need to only use sources that are reputable and reliable. To that end, you need to be wary about using anything on the Internet for your paper. Analyze those sources the same way.

  1. After you write your paper, leave it for a day or two. Then, take a look at it, and compare it with your notes to make sure you didn’t plagiarize anything.

  2. There are various plagiarism checkers on the internet that you can use to check your paper for plagiarism as well. One of the best ones is WriteCheck, which is a service of turnitin.com (www.writecheck.com). This will check your paper against the Internet, electronic and print sources. Performing a plagiarism check on your paper helps you see if you forgot a citation. It can prevent accidental plagiarism.

When You Buy a Paper

Students often buy papers from the internet instead of writing the papers on their own. If the student chooses to turn in said paper under their own name, that is plagiarism. To avoid plagiarism, it is best to just not buy papers, or buy a custom paper, but use it as a resource for writing your own paper, or as a study guide. Therefore, if you’re truly stuck on what to write for your paper, you can always order a custom paper from a reliable custom writing service like Prescott Papers. We will provide a custom paper that is written according to your exact guidelines. Custom papers from Prescott Papers are not plagiarism when they are used in accordance with the terms of service on the website (www.prescottpapers.com).

The most important thing about Prescott Papers is their promise of 100% confidentiality. We will never give anyone information about your orders and communications, unless required by law to do so. Also, your payment information is not kept on file.

The writers used by Prescott Papers come from various academic and professional backgrounds. When you order a custom essay from us, we’ll assign a writer who is very knowledgeable in the subject your paper is about.

Our writers also know how to properly cite a source, and when they should cite something. They know how to present their own ideas on a topic. Therefore, the paper you get from Prescott Papers will be original. There will not be any plagiarism in the paper. But if you do see a missing citation or another mistake in the paper you receive back from us, unlimited edits and revisions are included for free with each custom paper order.

Prescott Papers also has a separate editing service for students who’ve already written their paper. Our editors can look over your paper to make sure no citations are missing. Of course, they will also look for spelling, grammar, and other errors in your writing that you might have missed.

In conclusion, avoiding plagiarism is easy to do when you use proper methods of citing your sources. Plus, you can write your own paper, or use a company like Prescott Papers to help you write it.

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