How to avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism means using someone else’s words or ideas without properly crediting the original author. Sometimes plagiarism involves deliberately stealing someone’s work, but often it happens accidentally, through carelessness or forgetfulness.

When you write an academic paper, you build upon the work of others and use various sources for information and evidence. To avoid plagiarism, you need to correctly incorporate these sources into your text.

Follow these four steps to ensure your paper is free from plagiarism:

  1. Keep track of the sources you consult in your research.
  2. Paraphrase or quote from your sources (and add your own ideas).
  3. Credit the original author in an in-text citation and reference list.
  4. Use a plagiarism checker before you submit.

Plagiarism can have serious consequences, so make sure to follow these steps for every paper you write.

Continue reading: How to avoid plagiarism

A guide to self-plagiarism for students and academics

Plagiarism often involves using someone else’s words or ideas without proper citation, but you can also plagiarize yourself.

Self-plagiarism means reusing work that you have already published or submitted for a class. It can involve re-submitting an entire paper, copying or paraphrasing passages or excerpts, or recycling previously-collected data.

Self-plagiarism misleads your readers by presenting previous work as completely new and original. If you want to include any text, ideas, or data that you already submitted in a previous assignment, be sure to inform your reader by citing yourself.

To ensure your text doesn’t contain unintentional self-plagiarism, get your document checked before submission by specialized self-plagiarism software, such as our Own Sources Checker.

Continue reading: A guide to self-plagiarism for students and academics

Evaluating sources with the CRAAP test

The CRAAP test is a method to evaluate the credibility of a source you are using.

When conducting research, it’s important to use credible sources. They ensure the trustworthiness of your argument and strengthen your conclusions.

There are a lot of sources out there, and it can be hard to determine if they are sufficiently credible. To help, librarians at California State University developed the CRAAP test in 2004.

The CRAAP test has 5 main components:
  • Currency: Is the source up-to-date?
  • Relevance: Is the source relevant to your research?
  • Authority: Where is the source published? Who is the author? Are they considered reputable and trustworthy in their field?
  • Accuracy: Is the source supported by evidence? Are the claims cited correctly?
  • Purpose: What was the motive behind publishing this source?

Asking yourself these questions should give you a good idea of whether your source is credible or not.

Here are some examples using different sources. 

Continue reading: Evaluating sources with the CRAAP test

Credible sources and how to spot them

A credible source is free from bias and backed up with evidence. It is written by a trustworthy author or organization.

There are a lot of sources out there, and it can be hard to tell what’s credible and what isn’t at first glance.

Evaluating source credibility is important for your research. It ensures that you collect accurate information to back up the arguments you make and the conclusions you draw.

Continue reading: Credible sources and how to spot them

What is academic dishonesty?

Academic dishonesty refers to deceitful or misleading behavior in an academic setting. Academic dishonesty can occur intentionally or unintentionally, and varies in severity.

It can encompass paying for a pre-written essay, cheating on an exam, or committing plagiarism. It can also include helping others cheat, copying a friend’s homework answers, or even pretending to be sick to miss an exam.

Academic dishonesty doesn’t just occur in a classroom setting, but also in research and other academic-adjacent fields.

Continue reading: What is academic dishonesty?

An introduction to mixed methods research

Mixed methods research combines elements of quantitative research and qualitative research in order to answer your research question. Mixed methods can help you gain a more complete picture than a standalone quantitative or qualitative study, as it integrates benefits of both methods.

Mixed methods research is often used in the behavioral, health, and social sciences, especially in multidisciplinary settings and complex situational or societal research.

Mixed methods research question examples
  • To what extent does the frequency of traffic accidents (quantitative) reflect cyclist perceptions of road safety (qualitative) in Amsterdam?
  • How do student perceptions of their school environment (qualitative) relate to differences in test scores (quantitative)?
  • How do interviews about job satisfaction at Company X (qualitative) help explain year-over-year sales performance and other KPIs (quantitative)?
  • How can voter and non-voter beliefs about democracy (qualitative) help explain election turnout patterns (quantitative) in Town X?
  • How do average hospital salary measurements over time (quantitative) help to explain nurse testimonials about job satisfaction (qualitative)?

Continue reading: An introduction to mixed methods research