How to Avoid Plagiarism | Tips on Citing Sources

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

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

Plagiarism can become an issue at various stages of the writing process. You can avoid plagiarism by:

  • Keeping track of the sources you consult in your research
  • Paraphrasing or quoting from your sources (and adding your own ideas)
  • Crediting the original author in an in-text citation and in your reference list
  • Using a plagiarism checker before you submit

Even accidental plagiarism can have serious consequences, so take care with how you integrate sources into your writing.

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APA 7th edition: The most notable changes

APA Manual 7th edition coverIn October 2019, the American Psychological Association (APA) introduced the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual, which replaces the 6th edition published in 2009.

In that time a lot of things have changed. Citing online material has become more common, the use of inclusive and bias-free language is increasingly important, and the technology used by researchers and students has changed.

The 7th edition addresses these changes by providing better and more extensive guidelines. This article outlines the biggest changes that you should know about.

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How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research.

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  1. Search for relevant literature
  2. Evaluate sources
  3. Identify themes, debates, and gaps
  4. Outline the structure
  5. Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes, and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

    We’ve also compiled a few examples, templates, and sample outlines for you below.

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    Research paper

    A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth independent research.

    Research papers are similar to academic essays, but they are usually longer and more detailed assignments, designed to assess not only your writing skills but also your skills in scholarly research. Writing a research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong knowledge of your topic, engage with a variety of sources, and make an original contribution to the debate.

    This step-by-step guide takes you through the entire writing process, from understanding your assignment to proofreading your final draft.


    A dissertation or thesis is a long piece of academic writing based on original research. It is usually submitted as part of a PhD or master’s, and sometimes as part of a bachelor’s degree.

    Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you’ve ever done, and it can be intimidating to know where to start. This article helps you work out exactly what you should include and where to include it.

    You can also download our full dissertation template in .docx or Google Docs format. The template includes a ready-made table of contents with notes on what to include in each chapter. You can adapt it to your own requirements.

    Download Word template Download Google Docs template


    An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

    There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative: they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.

    The essay writing process consists of three main stages:

    1. Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
    2. Writing: Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
    3. Revision: Check the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.

    In this guide, we walk you through what to include in the introduction, body and conclusion of an academic essay, using paragraphs from our interactive essay example.


    Plagiarism means using someone else’s work without giving them proper credit. In academic writing, plagiarizing involves using words, ideas, or information from a source without citing it correctly.

    Universities detect plagiarism using specialized software that automatically compares submissions to a database of other texts.

    If you’re worried about accidental plagiarism, you can try the Scribbr Plagiarism Checker. It’s powered by Turnitin, the same software used by many universities.