How To Complete A Research Paper Avoiding Plagiarism?

One of the hardest parts of writing a research paper for the first time is coming up with original ideas while referencing supporting materials (e.g., ideas, facts, figures, etc.) that were developed by others. With enough practice students eventually learn how to effectively write a research paper and avoid any suspicion of having committed plagiarism, but this can take a few tries. This guide discusses exactly what you need to do to complete a research paper while avoiding any instance of plagiarism:

  • When Conducting Research Take Full Citations
  • One the easiest ways to ensure you have are preparing yourself for making the proper citations is to take highly-detailed notes. This means copying down all the appropriate citation information (author’s name, title of the work, publication information, volume number, etc.) and further organizing using some kind of filing system. Having the appropriate citation information available will prevent you from simply deciding to use material without at least first thinking about whether it needs to be cited.

  • Properly Analyze and Evaluate Your Sources
  • When you do your research you will be encouraged to conduct two levels: a background search and an in-depth search. Usually, the material you find online during the background search stage isn’t necessarily worth citing. Sometimes the information can be wrong. In these cases, proper analysis and evaluation of your sources should reveal which ones need citations and which ones do not.

  • When You Are In Doubt, Cite Your Sources
  • Your work should consist mostly of your own developed ideas, but a lot of those ideas may have been inspired by somebody else’s work. In cases where you are uncertain you are better off citing your sources. You can see how the first bit of advice we listed above relates to this piece. When you are in doubt you will have the right information available and won’t be tempted to incorporate it without applying the proper credit.

  • Always Make it Clear Who Said What Originally
  • Sometimes in your attempts to properly cite a resources, inexperience can lead to some ambiguity about who said what or more often where someone’s ideas end and where yours begin. If you are quoting directly you can simply repeat the information verbatim and add the author’s name in a signal phrase or within parentheses. If, however, you are paraphrasing you need to rewrite the information in your own words and not simply change a portion of the original statement. This way the reader knows you have borrowed information but not copied the exact words in an attempt to pass them off as your own.