One of the major challenges faced by writers from all walks of life is the ability to be unique. All writers, regardless of field or position, have once in a while had to worry about the uniqueness of their content and the level to which they have borrowed ideas from other writers (published and unpublished). Plagiarism, the act of borrowing someone’s idea without acknowledging the source, is gradually on the increase as it becomes easier to access and copy other people’s views that are published on the Internet.
Students and professionals alike must know how to avoid plagiarism in order to make their content unique. Here are some of the best possible ways you can write plagiarism-free content.
Cite your sources
This is regarded as the best way to avoid plagiarism. In citing an author or a renowned scholar, there are certain criteria that must followed, as prescribed by Chicago, MLA, APA, AMA, and other referencing styles; these styles are used by educational institutions to make the references follow a given pattern or design. A citation usually includes at least the author’s name and the date of publication, although this depends on the referencing style. If an author does not properly cite other people’s ideas following the appropriate style guidelines, the content will be considered plagiarized.
Citing a direct quote is quite different from citing paraphrased material. In most referencing styles, quotations must be indicated using quotation marks or by separating the quote from the surrounding text. Then, the author must usually add a page number (or a paragraph number, in the case of web page content) to lead the reader to the exact location of the quoted text in the original source.
One of the most effective tips to avoid plagiarism apart from citation is to include a reference page at the end of your document that lists all the written works you have used. This will inform the reader how and where the information was accessed. References must be written in accordance with the preferred referencing style of the institution the paper is to be addressed to. Each reference should include the author or authors’ name(s), the date of publication, the title of the publication, and the source.
Whenever you are quoting someone’s speech or writing, it is advisable to use the exact words that were spoken or that appear in the body of the text. Misquoting an individual or taking a quotation out of context is as wrong as plagiarism itself. There are also some rules and regulations guiding the use of quotes.
This involves explaining someone else’s idea in your own words. In paraphrasing, make sure the text is not copied word for word; a useful guideline to follow is that a paraphrased sentence should not contain more than two words in a row that were the same in the original text. After paraphrasing, you can check the uniqueness of your content by running it through an online plagiarism-checking software. These apps indicate text that may be copied so it can be corrected.
Writing unique content is possible for everyone. All you need to do is to play your cards well and abide by the rules and regulations guiding your paper.