How to Avoid Accidental Plagiarism

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Even with detection software and citation generators like EasyBib, it can be all too easy to accidentally commit plagiarism in your paper. It can be as simple as leaving out quotation marks, or forgetting to add a source to your reference list. So how can you prevent making this costly mistake in your paper?

The best way to reduce your chances of accidentally plagiarizing a source is to write the first draft of your paper using only your notes.

Keep books and web pages closed, and simply write out your thoughts and points on the topic in your own words. Your citations of supporting evidence can be added later.

Remember, your paper is an example of your writing, so you should be expressing your original thoughts, not just repeating published ideas. Outside sources are there for you to learn more about your topic and to provide evidence to your claim only. By writing a completely original first draft, you will ensure that your paper is a reflection of your own hard work.

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