Essay writing is not an easy task because there are times when writers find it hard to cite sources properly and if they think they have done it properly, they could have feel challenged later due to some uncertainties. One uncertainty that arises from citing sources is hidden in the fact that one becomes confused on which ideas are his and which ones are borrowed and this might refer to others a miss. This is a very common case especially when writers tend to share similar ideas with the author of the sources they have borrowed from. Does one have to reference and cite the source when he has modified or paraphrased the wordings from the source? This question is also very common among writers especially those who do not know much about referencing. This happens because learners are sometimes ignorant of what they need to do when they have similar cases of citation problems and because they do not find genuine help, they come into contact with the law as a result of plagiarism. In order to avoid such instances, you can keep reading the rest of the article to find out the recommended guidelines for combating plagiarism.

  1. Seek clarification from professors. When instructors give you assignments, they know best what kind of citations should be used for that particular paper they have assigned to you. And because students have different courses and assignments to complete, they should not assume that one style of citation can be used on another development. Because of the factor of different courses, students should seek proper consultation and clarification from their instructors. Other than clarifying with citation style should be used, professors could also help in teaching you how to lay and organize your paper’s ideas. Professors also have the required knowledge need for proper citation of sources when you consult with them. With consultation, professors might be willing to even show you how to approach your paper. With this kind of guidance, you can be sure to avoid even the slightest forms of intellectual theft.
  2. Have your thoughts organized. Sometimes you cannot avoid using the ideas of others for add onto your argument. Basically, researching deals with a lot of idea borrowing but even when you borrow ideas, you have to remember that your own thoughts must be organized to avoid using the other person’s idea. With this said, after reading a different source, you now know which ideas you will incorporate in your work and the ones you will leave out. Once you are sure of what you will be doing, note down your own ideas in an organized manner. This is necessary to show you how the different sets of ideas in your paper can be organized and built using another research. All writers must have knowledge of this in order to understand the uniqueness of their ideas and be able to tell when they are plagiarizing.
  3. You can choose to cite your own material. One kind of plagiarism that exists today is self-plagiarism. Self plagiarism happens when a writer uses his ideas from a previous paper but assumes that since the work is his, there is no need to cite. This is not true. In as much as the material is yours, you still have to cite regardless of whether you are a student or a professional writer. If the material you presented in your previous class can still be used to build your new ideas, you must remember to cite yourself. Your previous text should be treated the same way as though someone else write it. You might think the idea of citing yourself sounds odd but it is very necessary when you need to avoid any instance of plagiarism.
  4. Read and understand. Like mentioned before, one cannot always avoid using another person’s idea to develop their ideas. If you must use another person’s source, another way to avoid plagiarism is by reading the source before you start writing. Reading the material makes you have a greater understanding of what the author is saying and the understanding you have gotten is what you should use to make your composition. One mistake students make it to open a word document on their computer and write as they read and this could be reason why most of them are found guilty of intellectual theft because of poor understanding.

Combating plagiarism is very easy and by following the steps discussed above, one can be sure to stay away from issues to deal with theft of information. As a student, you should remember that the responsibility to avoid plagiarism rests on your shoulder and in as much as your instructors have a role to play, the greater role is yours as a student. In trying to avoid plagiarism, be sure to talk to your instructors any time you are not sure of what you are about to do. Always read the material before writing or before paraphrasing because reading prior to writing makes you have the whole idea of the author’s argument and you can choose to use certain ideas from what you have understood.