When you write a paper, you’re claiming that any idea you express is your own unless you use a source to show where the information came from. Without including proper citations, you can be accused of plagiarism and face serious academic consequences. But how do you avoid making a mistake and accidentally plagiarizing? Here are some types of plagiarism you may not even be aware of and how to avoid them.
This is the most common type of plagiarism, and the easiest one to avoid. When you plagiarize directly, you use information from an outside source without providing a proper citation. Even if the information you’re citing is not a direct quote, you’re still committing plagiarism if you, for example, use a paper your friend wrote and pass it off as your own. Also, keep in mind that just changing a few words or phrases doesn’t make information from an outside source your own. When in doubt, include a citation in MLA style, APA style, or any other style your teacher asks for.
If you write a paper for another class assignment, can you use that same paper for a different assignment? The answer is no! This act is called self-plagiarism, and it has the same potential consequences as direct plagiarism. If you want to include information in your paper from another paper that you wrote in the past, you still need to provide an in text citation and works cited entry so the reader understands that it is not original information. While this may seem silly to you, the reader needs to know where you took your information from.
Similar to paraphrasing, patch writing is when you include too many quotations too close together without providing any context around them. This not only is a form of plagiarism, but can also signal to your teacher that you did not take the time to fully research or understand the concepts behind the assignment. You should provide a citation for every quote you include in your paper, and be sure to only include a quote if your reader really needs to see it to understand your point. Thoroughly understanding your sources, not just copying quotes, will help you write a cohesive argument as well as an annotated bibliography, if your teacher asks for it.
Not Including Sources When You Don’t Quote
You need citations for more than just direct quotations. Any time you use an idea from another source, you must include a proper citation for it. A good way to do this without messing up the flow of your paper is to include the citation at the end of the paragraph where you talk about the other source. There is no need to include a citation after each sentence, but you need to let the reader know where you gathered your information and what guided you to make your conclusions.
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