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Ways to Avoid Plagiarism: Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

  • Author: Veronica
  • July 19, 2017
Ways to Avoid Plagiarism: Giving Credit Where Credit is Due



Have you ever been accused of cheating? It’s not a good feeling. Even something as simple as getting caught looking at a neighbor’s paper in grade school can result in a traumatic series of questions and accusations. Now that you are in college, one of your concerns is learning ways to avoid plagiarism.

Wait a minute! What’s that you say? You already know 3 ways to avoid plagiarism:

  • Don’t Steal Other People’s Writing

  • Don’t Cheat

  • Write Your Own Papers

Actually, to be honest this list of three ways to avoid plagiarism is helpful. But things are just a bit more complex than just these three. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to condense the issue into 3 or 5 ways to avoid plagiarism. Instead, we recommend that every student take a studied and diligent approach to finding ways to avoid plagiarism.

Here Are Some Ways for Students to Avoid Plagiarism 

One way to avoid and reduce plagiarism is to commit to working hard, and writing quality papers. And here is how that is done without plagiarizing:

  • Conduct your research carefully. Write down each resource (author, title of work, and page number) on your notes

  • If you are using the exact words of an author while you are taking notes, make sure you put those quotation marks around those words, so you remember that it is a direct quote when you write your essay or paper

  • As you take research notes, always paraphrase the information you plan to use. If you do it while you are taking your notes, you won’t risk plagiarism. 

  • Plagiarism can also be “stealing” the ideas of others without giving credit to them. When in doubt, give that credit in your writing, so that you recognize those authors.

  • Check with your instructor regarding which plagiarism checker you should use and use it only once. If you use one of the other major checkers too, it will come back as plagiarized, because your piece is already “in the system.” If you want to use a backup second check, choose one that is “private,” perhaps a legacy checker from a writing service.

  • Review what your instructors say about plagiarism and follow their guidelines.

These are 6 ways for how to prevent plagiarism. But there is much more to know in order to fully understand it. Please read on so that you can become a “master” of understanding all that is involved. If you focus only on getting away with plagiarism, you are on a risky path.

Plagiarism 101

Let’s first fully understand what plagiarism is. Once you do fully understand what it is, you will then be able see how to avoid committing plagiarism in your research and writing. 

In short, plagiarism is the taking of someone else’s words or ideas and presenting them as your own, in something you write or otherwise produce. In the strictest sense, it is illegal, because it violates copyright laws. For students, it typically results in academic consequences, listed below. 

Be Aware of The Risks Involved

Generally, in elementary and middle school, students will be introduced to the concept of plagiarism. If they plagiarize at these levels, though, very little will be done other than the teacher pointing it out and giving reminders. 

By high school, things begin to change. Teachers expect students to understand what plagiarism is and to avoid it. They will check a piece of writing if they suspect plagiarism. Still, consequences will probably be pretty minor. The student will be asked to re-do the essay, paper, or other piece of writing (e.g., book report). Tough teachers may give an “F” grade.

These consequences are not devastating. But once in college, instructors will not be so “forgiving,” and most institutions also have very strict policies regarding plagiarism, which those instructors must follow. Plagiarism is considered “cheating.”

We urge you to check the policies on plagiarism – both those of your instructors and of your institution. Here is the range of consequences you can expect, from least to most severe:

  • You could face an “F” grade on a major assignment. This will obviously impact your final grade in a course

  • You may be kicked out of that course and given an “F” grade

  • You may be suspended or expelled from sports or other student activities

  • You may be suspended (usually for a semester) from the institution

  • You could be permanently expelled from the institution. And this can impact your ability to gain admission to any other college or university program.

  • The author/owner of the material you plagiarized could actually sue you for copyright infringement. You’ll face fines.

How to Not Plagiarize

Plagiarism can be inadvertent or intentional. But you have to realize that it doesn’t matter by the time you are in college. 

Inadvertent plagiarism: This is defined as not realizing that you have plagiarized something. Here is how this happens:

  • You fail to put quotes around an author’s words during the note-taking process. Students can avoid plagiarism by placing quotation marks accurately on the page and providing credit to the author.

  • You use an author’s ideas and don’t realize that doing this can constitute plagiarism.

  • Your citation methods are flawed in some way, and credit is not properly given to the author of a resource you have used.

  • You have used an unethical writing service to produce a piece of writing for you, and that service has delivered a plagiarized product to you. And, you fail to check it for plagiarism before you submit it.

  • You don’t know how to copy and paste without plagiarizing. This usually occurs when longer passages from an author are being used, and credit is not correctly given, in th right format, in your final piece.

Intentional plagiarism: this happens when a student understands what plagiarism is, understands his instructor’s and institution’s policies, but engages in it anyway, hoping not to get caught. 

  • Maybe he has studied how to plagiarize a paper without getting caught or how to change a plagiarized essay. The goal is to reword sentences to avoid plagiarism charges.

  • Perhaps he has found a re-wording tool that will provide an automated sentence changer to avoid plagiarism, and this is how to get around it. 

Neither one of these intentional plagiarism activities is foolproof. If an essay is not changed enough, plagiarism will still be detected. And automated re-wording tools are not yet sophisticated enough to do a good job. Word exchanges may not be correct. Paraphrase results can be flawed. Any student using such a tool cannot escape reviewing, editing, and checking for plagiarism.

How to Not Get Caught Plagiarizing

If it is your goal to intentionally plagiarize and not to get caught, you have some work ahead of you. Plagiarism-detection software is quite sophisticated today, and this type of cheating is getting harder and harder to accomplish. Let’s say you access a large database of pre-written essays or papers, type in your topic, and get a bunch of possibilities. These will be detected by any plagiarism scan. So, you have to figure out how to change words, phrases, and sentences enough to pass through any scan. You can re-write it yourself, in which case, you have a pretty big task ahead of you. The question becomes how much do you have to change something to avoid copyright or plagiarism charges?

Suppose, for example, that you are an English major and you have to produce scientific writing for an environmental science course. You find a paper which “fits” but which is highly technical, as are the resources. You will have to look at those resources and decide which source should be avoided when conducting scientific research at your level of expertise? And there may be more than one. Your re-writing task is probably a bit more than you can handle. You’ll need to scrap this and find help somewhere else.

Another option is to use a re-writing tool that many websites offer. This can be a way for how to get out of re-wording a “lifted” piece yourself. Using the free tool will be disastrous, and you will still be doing lots of re-writing yourself. You can use one of the fee-based tools, and, in general, the more premium option you choose, the better the re-write will be. But there are no guarantees. And, as stated above, there will be incorrect word replacements and some grammatical errors. Even if the plagiarism is not caught, you risk a poor grade, because the writing is of poor quality.

If you really do not want to produce an assigned essay or paper, or if you are just overwhelmed and can’t meet assignment deadlines, you are better off finding a professional and trustworthy academic writing service. There, you will get an assigned writer who is qualified for the project and who will produce an original piece of writing – using authentic and current resources, writing in proper formal English, committing to following all of your specifications, and guaranteeing on time delivery. The best way to avoid plagiarism on a documentwide level is by choosing this option.

So, what is a good rule to follow to avoid plagiarism? Just don’t take the risk. Plagiarism can be avoided by either producing the piece of writing yourself or getting with a reputable writing service that produces original products and provides a plagiarism report. 

If You Insist Upon Re-Wording Strategies

If you still want to re-write existing academic writings, here are tips to avoid and prevent plagiarism charges:

  • Don’t use a free re-wording tool

  • Check some online sources, perhaps Reddit, to learn how to rewrite an article without plagiarizing. You may also learn some ways to re-write other types of academic writing, such as how to write a biography without plagiarism, or the more common assignments – essays and papers.

Who Gets Cheated When a Person Plagiarizes?

First of all, you do. You could suffer some very stiff consequences if you plagiarize and get caught trying to hide your “sin.” And chances are you will, if you don’t know how to get rid of enough verbiage to pass sophisticated plagiarism scans.

Then, there is the person whose work has been used without attribution. Their hard work is not acknowledged or credited, and that is both unfair and illegal. Put yourself in that author’s shoes. Suppose you are an amateur musician. How would you feel if someone took a song you wrote and claimed credit for it? It’s no wonder that a number of schools and organizations are “hell bent” on stopping plagiarism.


By now, you should have a clear understanding of what constitutes plagiarism. And you understand the consequences you could face if you engage in such academic dishonesty. The other important point here is that it is harder and harder to get away with plagiarism, so taking the risk is just not worth it anymore. So, how can you make sure you do not get caught up in all of this? You have other options. You can research and write the piece yourself, taking care to give credit to all authors whose work you have used. Barring that, find an academic writing service you can trust to produce original, customized, and high-quality products. Check out our reviews of top writing services. You can find one that will meet your needs.