While doing research and writing for a paper or project, it is imperative to adhere to good, academically honest practices in order to avoid plagiarism and submit a work that is truly unique and original. Just exactly how to avoid plagiarism can be confusing and complicated, but hopefully these few simple steps can make this process a little easier.
1. Don’t Procrastinate
It is easy to put off good, academically honest practices until you do your bibliography, but this is not correct. Throughout the process each step should involve some sort of check to make sure that good, academically honest practices are being adhered to. It is very easy to slip up in one little area, but this can quickly grow to be a big problem.
This seems to be the scholastic answer to every problem, and has been said a thousand times before, but it is VERY important. Throughout the process, while creating a topic, researching the topic, creating general ideas, and pretty much every other step, careful detailed notes should be taken. This will make it easier to keep sources straight, remember where each source and idea came from, and keeps your ideas separate from the ideas found in research. And it also makes creating the bibliography much easier.
Evaluating sources is extremely important to both the quality and academic integrity of a project.
4. Use Sources Properly
- There should be a distinction between the sources and the writer’s voice.
- Sources should only be used if they strengthen, deepen, or enhance one’s ideas
- Sources should be used succinctly
- Sources should ALWAYS be cited
4. Cite Everything
A common misconception is that only quotes need to be cited. This is entirely false; EVERYTHING that is not original and solely the writers should be cited. Quotes, paraphrases, and even summarizations should be carefully noted and cited. If everything is not cited it can mean that the paper could fall under the category of being academically dishonest. Use the library’s Citation Tools page for assistance.
5. Double Check
Whether it be a math problem, a paper, or any assignment or test it is always a good idea to double check one’s work. This principle applies to academic honesty as well. At the end of the project or paper, it is imperative to go back and check to make sure that everything was cited, the citations were correct, and that good, academically honest practices were adhered to.
6. Visit the Writing Center
The Writing Center allows all writers at Truman State University to receive positive critique from a “second set of eyes.” Their writing consultants work with writers from every subject and at every level of the process, whether that be generating ideas, drafting, revising, or editing.