Research is the cornerstone of human advancement. A select group of mankind is always dedicated to finding or improving our current methods and technologies. Be it agriculture, teaching, development of computer systems, security systems of all sorts, or any other field, research is always going on.
However, due to so much research and advancement, we have reached a point of saturation. It is now very difficult to make a completely new discovery. Most research nowadays just builds upon previous research by proving, disproving, or improving upon them.
This has built a very competitive environment where new researchers are under immense pressure to write a good paper. This can result in a lack of confidence which can motivate someone to commit plagiarism. Plagiarizing research is a grave offense and can lead the perpetrator to serious trouble.
So, for all those writers/researchers, here are some strategies to help you write a unique paper, with confidence.
Conduct Research from Varied Sources
A lack of confidence frequently arises due to insufficient knowledge. If a person feels that a task is above their limits, they will be prone to plagiarize the work of others.
This can be easily dealt with if they make up for what they feel they are lacking. Usually, it is knowledge. However, nowadays, with the power of the internet, getting new knowledge is much easier.
Do you have to write a paper about information security (or any other subject)? Do you feel that you do not know enough about the subject to write a paper? Then simply start learning about it. Read papers from other people, and read books if you can. Do you know someone who is knowledgeable about the subject? Reach out to them and ask for help.
With enough time, you will be able to gather enough data to create something of your own. That way you won’t have to resort to plagiarism at all.
Another advantage of doing research from varied sources is that it reduces the chances of unconscious plagiarism and bias.
Resort to Paraphrasing
There are multiple types of plagiarism. One type is the plagiarism of copying other people’s words verbatim. This type has two variations as well. The variations are different due to the type of information that is being conveyed. If the information is considered public knowledge i.e., widely known, then there is no need to cite it. On the other hand, if it is attributable to a source, then it needs to be cited.
Paraphrasing is quite handy when it comes to dealing with the former. You can take the plagiarized part and paraphrase it. You can do it manually or paraphrase online if you like.
If you rephrase online, then you will get some benefits. It is much faster than manual rephrasing, and it can utilize a diverse vocabulary. So, whenever you need to use information in your research paper that is not attributable, rephrase it to maintain uniqueness.
Another reason to utilize paraphrasing is to avoid quoting large passages. Quoting is a great way of crediting the original author, but it has its limitations. That’s where paraphrasing comes in. You can portray the ideas and thoughts of others in your own words, and as long as you cite the source, the content will be considered unique.
Track Your Sources
Another reason why plagiarism occurs in research papers is due to mistakes such as:
- Lost sources
- Incorrect citations
- Forgetting to cite a source
If you lose a source i.e., you cannot find out where you got a particular piece of information from, then that can give you trouble with citations.
Incorrect citations are just honest-to-goodness mistakes that usually occur due to things like typos, mixing up similar author or publication names, and using incorrect dates in the citation.
And finally, forgetfulness… which is quite understandable. All these mistakes count as plagiarism and that means that your content is not unique. To deal with this you need to track your sources.
Tracking sources lets you remember what kind of information you received from a paper/book or another type of source. This nullifies the chances of forgetting to cite, citing incorrectly, or getting multiple sources mixed up.
A simple way of tracking sources is to keep a table during your research phase and note down the names of each source. Then in front of them add all the data that is useful. You can consult this table when you are writing your research paper to avoid all issues with incorrect citations.
Cite Your Sources
You already know the importance of citations from the previous section. In this section, we will check out where and when you need to cite something.
As you know, using someone’s work without crediting them is called plagiarism. In research papers, crediting is done via citations.
So, where and when do we need to cite? Simple, anytime you use anything from another person’s publication, you need to cite it there and then.
Citations have different formats, a typical citation in APA and MLA will look like this:
APA: (Smith, 2020, p. 170).
MLA: (Smith, 170).
A citation is not complete without a reference. All in-text citations have a corresponding entry in the reference list/bibliography at the end of the paper. Without the reference list, the crediting is incomplete, and that means you have committed plagiarism.
Here is what an APA-style book reference looks like:
Smith, V. (2020). Sample book name. Sample City name: Publisher name
For MLA the format is like this:
Veronica, S. Chapter name. Book name. the volume of the book, year of publishing, page numbers.
For sources such as web articles, and journals the styles differ a little bit, so check out each style and use the correct ones when creating the reference list. This will help you avoid any sort of plagiarism.
Use Quotes If Necessary
Quotes are small snippets of text that are taken verbatim from a source and used in your work. Quotes are always written between double inverted commas and they are followed by a citation.
Quotes are very good to use when you want to use someone’s wording as is because it is just too good.
However, quoting long passages is very bad because it reflects poorly on your research paper. So, take care never to quote more than two sentences.
It is an easy way to avoid plagiarism and maintain the uniqueness of your research papers. Just be careful not to overuse it.
Plagiarism can be very harmful to the quality and integrity of a research paper. Whether it is done intentionally or unintentionally, the consequences are the same.
By following the tips given in this post, you will be able to keep your paper unique. This will further help to solidify its credibility and acceptance in academic circles.