How Do I Prevent Plagiarism?

Rhonda Rivera

Preventing yourself from plagiarizing may sound deceptively easy, but it is possible to accidentally claim the work of another. For example, people sometimes attribute quotes, ideas, and works of art to themselves when blogging, finishing homework, or writing a new song. It is not always done on purpose; occasionally, people really believe themselves to be the true creator. There are techniques and software programs designed solely to help people recognize and prevent plagiarism when it has happened. If, on the other hand, you are trying to prevent other people from plagiarizing, it is important to realize that plagiarism is not a black and white problem, and it may be easier to combat existing plagiarism rather than avoid it all together.

Internet plagiarism refers to the illegal use of written work, graphics or photographs on a website.
Internet plagiarism refers to the illegal use of written work, graphics or photographs on a website.

To prevent plagiarism on the Internet, like when blogging or creating an e-book, do not simply rearrange other people’s sentences when writing. If possible, do not look at the original source when writing similar content and make certain to put your own spin on the subject. Whenever a statement is best said verbatim, quote the original source but tell the readers where the quote came from; for example, “The company stated...” or “...said John Smith, the CEO of the company.” It is good etiquette to include a list of citations at the bottom of your article. Many people also run the copy through at least one plagiarism detector to ensure that their work is original.

Students who plagiarize from other students may face harsh penalties.
Students who plagiarize from other students may face harsh penalties.

When it comes to schoolwork, try to thoroughly understand the subject before starting to write. Sometimes this can mean reading more than one book or at least visiting several websites before forming the review, argument, or essay. Reference books should be closed in order to prevent accidental plagiarism. In addition, some people find it easier to prevent plagiarism by writing an opinion that opposes the source’s. They might end up writing opinions that they personally disagree with, but it can be easier to write completely unique content this way.

Music plagiarism is another form of plagiarism that is sometimes done inadvertently. Other than asking others if the tune or words sound familiar, there is no easy to tell if your music is plagiarized. As a precaution, do not listen to other artists’ music immediately before sitting down to write lyrics or create a new tune.

There are numerous examples of plagiarism prevention, from webmasters preventing right-clicks on their websites to freelancer writers refusing to give out writing samples. It is possible to disable the program that allows a website to prevent right-clicking, though. Additionally, people looking to plagiarize articles are not likely to bother posing as an employer to receive articles already published elsewhere. In short, some people spend a lot of time trying to prevent plagiarism, but there are no foolproof methods. Sometimes the best way to prevent plagiarism is to stop people who are actively plagiarizing to discourage them from future acts, rather than penalizing people with good intentions.

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