It’s easy to find information for most research papers, but it’s not always easy to add that information into your paper without falling into the plagiarism trap. There are easy ways to avoid plagiarism. Follow some simple steps while writing your research paper to ensure that your document will be free of plagiarism.
6 Ways to Avoid Plagiarism
- Paraphrase - So you have found information that is perfect for your research paper. Read it and put it into your own words. Make sure that you do not copy verbatim more than two words in a row from the text you have found. If you do use more than two words together, you will have to use quotation marks. We will get into quoting properly soon.
- Cite - Citing is one of the effective ways to avoid plagiarism. Follow the document formatting guidelines (i.e. APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) used by your educational institution or the institution that issued the research request. This usually entails the addition of the author(s) and the date of the publication or similar information. Citing is really that simple. Not citing properly can constitute plagiarism.
- Quoting - When quoting a source, use the quote exactly the way it appears. No one wants to be misquoted. Most institutions of higher learning frown on “block quotes” or quotes of 40 words or more. A scholar should be able to effectively paraphrase most material. This process takes time, but the effort pays off! Quoting must be done correctly to avoid plagiarism allegations.
- Citing Quotes - Citing a quote can be different than citing paraphrased material. This practice usually involves the addition of a page number, or a paragraph number in the case of web content.
- Citing Your Own Material - If some of the material you are using for your research paper was used by you in your current class, a previous one, or anywhere else you must cite yourself. Treat the text the same as you would if someone else wrote it. It may sound odd, but using material you have used before is called self-plagiarism, and it is not acceptable.
- Referencing - One of the most important ways to avoid plagiarism is including a reference page or page of works cited at the end of your research paper. Again, this page must meet the document formatting guidelines used by your educational institution. This information is very specific and includes the author(s), date of publication, title, and source. Follow the directions for this page carefully. You will want to get the references right.
Checking Research Papers
Be sure to edit your research paper carefully and check for plagiarism before turning it in to the class. The steps above are essential for research paper writing. Using plagiarism checker services such as WriteCheck is a great way to assess your paraphrasing and other anti-plagiarism skills. Most educators and educational institutions are using some kind of plagiarism checker software to check students’ papers. Do not take the chance of not checking your research paper. Plagiarism could mean the loss of your academic degree or career.
Research and Research Papers
Research Manuscript Guidelines
Developing a research paper may seem like a daunting task, but the adventure can be very rewarding. Research papers are typically five to 15 pages in length and include a thesis statement, support, and references. The writer should use formal English as a research paper will be academic in voice. This document will be formatted like an expanded essay. Headings should be used to introduce new ideas. The paper should also include an abstract.
If the research paper is an assignment, the writer must carefully follow any directions given by the instructor. The topic chosen should be in keeping with the instructor's directions and with what the writer can reasonable take on. The thesis statement, as with all thesis statements, should be precise and manageable. The paper's format should follow the instructor's protocol. The development of a research paper also includes the act of research for support.
Research information can come from primary, library, and online research. Primary research sources include data from interviews, original documents, field observations, diaries, journals, and experiments. The writer can also conduct his or her own research survey or questionnaire and use the data collected for support.
Library research can include information from ground libraries or online library databases. These resources include books and scholarly articles, which can be significant sources of information. Peer-reviewed journals are an excellent source of valid research information. Reading the abstracts of books and articles is a fast way to garner if an article is worth reading for possible use. The abstract is located at the beginning of an article and will contain a synopsis of the information contained in the article.
Internet searches can also be fruitful, but the writer must use caution because not all internet sources are reliable. When performing internet research, the author must search for reputable sources such as .edu and .gov websites. Wikipedia is never a good source because virtually anyone can edit or contribute to a wiki. If one finds pertinent information in Wikipedia, he or she should scroll to the bottom of the web page and find the references listed there. The wanted information may be located in one of these sources. On internet sites, the researcher should also check for reputability by noting the author of the page content. Is the individual an expert in their field? Is the organization sponsoring the site a reputable one?
When using sources, the writer must know how to cite and reference properly. Use the writing style, such as Modern Language Association (MLA) or American Psychological Association (APA), recommended by your instructor. The writer should also learn how to use direct quotes, paraphrase, and summarize correctly. Grammar mistakes are unnecessary in research papers. Using grammar software and being aware of editing practices is the writer's best defense against losing points for grammar and other mechanical mistakes.
A writer can learn a great deal about an interesting subject through the process of writing a research paper. Being prepared and knowing how to find and use sources will make the journey less stressful.