How to avoid plagiarism

  • Always cite the source of the work when you use ideas from other authors. 
  • Put your ideas into your own words. The most common area of plagiarism in scientific papers is the Methods section. Protocols and descriptions of past studies may appear to be copied from other sources. This is because protocols shared between different studies are often described in the same way. To avoid this, you can write up your methods based on a flowchart of stages. Don’t write from a laboratory-shared protocol. Another way you can avoid plagiarism in the Methods section is to simply cite previously published methods. Write, “…was performed as described previously” plus the citation. If needed, you can then briefly state what you did differently in your study. 
  • Cite properly: Have you presented an idea from another author? If so, always tell your readers. Never say that their work is your own work. Give a citation to the original author.
  • Use your own words to describe ideas. Do not use another author’s exact words. When you make notes from the existing literature, you can translate these into your own language to use as notes. When you explain these ideas in English, translate your notes. Keep the central idea but use different words from the original text. Always be careful to double-check that your idea still accurately describes the original idea after the re-translation.
  • For some fields, such as the humanities, you may need to use direct quotes in your manuscript. For example, you may wish to quote someone’s published theory word-for-word. When you do this, it is important to put this direct quote in quotation marks (“_”). Help your reader to clearly understand that this quote is taken directly from another researcher’s work. Always give the appropriate citation

You can quote from others’ work by using citations. But do not quote or cite so heavily from other manuscripts that they dominate your own work. Your own original work should be the main part of your manuscript.

You can check your document for plagiarism with an online plagiarism checker. There are many free online plagiarism-checking tools. But please remember that these tools only show similarities in published text. So be careful when you see their results.

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