Plagiarism can be a real issue in content writing. While it is committed intentionally in a lot of cases, it also occurs accidentally. Accidental plagiarism occurs when someone writes a sentence or a passage in the same exact way as it is written on an existing online source.
Since there is so much content available on the Internet nowadays, the chances of accidental plagiarism occurring are menacingly high. You have to make an active effort to avoid this type of plagiarism in your writing. You have to take different steps before the writing process, during the writing process, and after it to make sure that you don’t commit plagiarism of any form whatsoever.
In this post, we’re going to be starting from the top and looking at what plagiarism actually is, which types it includes, and what sort of consequences it causes. The purpose of this discussion will simply be to highlight the importance of avoiding plagiarism – which we will guide you to do as well.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is essentially the act of taking content from a source and then deceptively utilizing it as your own without giving credit. Right from the notebook definition, it becomes clear that plagiarism is something unethical and illegal.
A lot of people confuse the concept of plagiarism with “permission.” There is no relationship between permission and plagiarism. Even if someone does not expressly ask for permission from a source but uses their content while citing them, it would not be called an occurrence of plagiarism. Yes, if the source tells or asks for the removal of their content, it would be a different thing.
There are different ways and forms in which plagiarism can occur – due to which it is categorized into various types. And sadly enough, all of those types of plagiarism can occur accidentally…albeit rarely.
What are the different types of plagiarism?
Here are some of the common types of plagiarism:
- Complete Plagiarism: Complete plagiarism, as the name indicates, is the complete and blatant copying of content from a source without giving credit. The word “complete” in this context refers to the absolute totality of the act in which neither a word is changed from the borrowed text nor is there any other addition made.
- Mosaic Plagiarism: Mosaic plagiarism refers to the type of plagiarism in which plagiarized text is interlaced with unique content. The purpose of this somewhat devious arrangement is to make the plagiarism harder to detect.
- Source-Based Plagiarism: Source-based plagiarism occurs when the source from which the text is taken is either insufficiently cited or cited incorrectly.
Avoiding Plagiarism: A Comprehensive Guide
After understanding what plagiarism is and what different types it is divided into, let’s move on to look at how you can avoid it in your content. Here are some of the main tips and steps that you can follow for it.
1. Take ideas from research sources, not content
If you want to avoid plagiarism in your content, the main and obvious step is to not take any text from an existing source from the internet. That is how direct plagiarism occurs.
When conducting your research, you should take information and ideas in their abstract form rather than copying the same words. And that, too, you should do from multiple sources.
If you take care to diversify your research and only take concepts, you will be able to avoid plagiarism to a large extent.
A good approach in this regard is to read the material that you are using for research, and then take down some notes about it in your own words. Then, when you want to elaborate on that research, you can use your notes—which eliminates the possibility of you accidentally copying something verbatim.
2. Cite all the information that you borrow from sources
Whenever you borrow information from a source—say, a certain statistic or research finding—you should give credit.
Plagiarism, as we have explained in the post above, occurs when one uses existing content without giving credit to the source where they have taken it from. When accreditation is done, then it does not remain plagiarism anymore.
You should give proper citations and references in your content using a correct citation format, such as APA or MLA.
Citations are the small pieces of bracketed text that are placed in between the content to point towards a bigger and more detailed reference at the end. You can see them quite a bit in academic documents in this form (Example, 2023).
References included detailed information about the source where the information is taken. They are affixed to the end of the document and they point towards the name of the source, the URL, and other similar elements, such as the DOI number, etc.
Here is what a reference can look like:
Example. (2023). Title of the Article or Webpage. Italicized Name of the Website, URL
3. Use quotation marks
Another way to avoid plagiarism when writing content is to use quotation marks. In other words, if there is a specific statement that you want to use verbatim from a source, you can put it into quotation marks.
Putting a sentence or a passage in quotes indicates that it is taken from somewhere and is not the author’s own content. This is a way to relinquish ownership of that specific piece of text.
This neutralizes plagiarism. You should still give a brief citation for the quoted parts, however. If you do this every time you need to borrow a statement or a paragraph from somewhere, you will be able to avoid plagiarism.
“Before we move on, here is what putting a sentence into quotes means.”
- Name of source
4. Using a plagiarism remover
There is a possibility that, despite taking the steps mentioned above, some plagiarism still coincidentally occurs in your content. Even in cases like this, however, you can take steps to avoid plagiarism coming into the last draft that you actually publish.
What you have to do is check your content for plagiarism using an online tool. If the results show that there is indeed a portion of the text that is plagiarized, you can run it through a plagiarism remover.
Plagiarism removers are online tools that work by changing the wording of the text that they are provided. By changing the wording and altering the arrangement of the sentences, any plagiarism that may coincidentally exist in the content is eliminated.
To give you an idea of what this looks like, here is a screenshot showing our own plagiarism remover in action:
We gave it some content from this same heading, and these are the changes that the tool made:
Even if you follow the steps above, there is still a chance that some accidental plagiarism may occur in your content. However, even in this case, you can take the necessary steps to prevent plagiarism in the final article you publish.
All you have to do is use online tools to check if your content is plagiarized. If the results show that some of the text has been plagiarized, you can use Plagiarism Remover to remove it.
Plagiarism Cleaner is an online tool that works by replacing words in the text. You can eliminate plagiarism in your content by changing the wording and order of sentences.
Avoiding plagiarism is not a hard process. There are some easy steps that you can follow before, while, and after writing your content to ensure that the end draft is unique and free from plagiarism.
These steps include researching properly and taking concepts instead of words from the sources, using citations, references, and quotes for accreditation, and utilizing plagiarism removers.