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.

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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

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.

Writing a literature review involves finding relevant publications (such as books and journal articles), critically analyzing them, and explaining what you found. There are five key steps:

  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.

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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.

    Dissertation

    A dissertation or thesis is a long piece of academic writing based on original research, submitted as part of a doctoral, master’s, or 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

    Essay

    An essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an argument or narrative based on 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 academic essays share the same goal: They aim to persuade readers of a position or perspective through informed arguments.

    To write an essay, there are 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

    Plagiarism is a common problem, primarily among students. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines plagiarism as follows:

    Definition
    “To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: to use (another’s production) without crediting the source

    The two highlighted snippets require further explanation:

    1. Many people think plagiarism is stealing someone else’s words, but it also means stealing someone else’s ideas. In other words, even if you paraphrase a text, the idea still needs to be cited.
    2. The phrase “without crediting the source” means that it’s okay to use the words and ideas of others, but you have to cite the source to avoid committing plagiarism.