Plagiarism is the immoral act of stealing or copying someone else’s work and declaring it your own. If your paper shows signs of plagiarism, your professor will immediately reject it. Plus, you might be sanctioned or even expelled from your studying program. As you can see, you cannot play with plagiarism – it would be like playing with fire. Your whole academic career could be destroyed if such an incident were to happen. This is why you’ve got to take safety measures and/or ensure that your essay is rated plagiarism-free before submitting your work. Let’s see how you can fix a plagiarized paper.
What makes a paper plagiarized?
Here are some of the most important characteristics you should be aware of when it comes to plagiarism. All of the following are considered a form of plagiarism, nonetheless.
• If you’re turning in someone else’s work and declare that it is your own.
• If you’re copying words, phrases, or ideas from other writers without giving them full credit.
• If you do not use quotation marks.
• If you’re changing words but copying an already published piece of content.
• If you give inaccurate information about the source of your inspiration.
Believe it or not, most of the actions above could be avoided by citations. Borrowing someone else’s material is okay as long as you’re citing their work. You should, however, always cite sections of content that have been borrowed, no matter what the purpose of your research is.
How to take the necessary precautions against plagiarism?
As you already know, the answer is citations. Here is a short guide on how to avoid plagiarism before it’s too late.
• Stop procrastinating. This is the most common mistake that students make. Research takes time and commitment, so make sure you’ve got those. When you’re pressured to finish on time, you are no longer paying attention to small errors that could destroy your future career.
• Do your own work, don’t have someone else do your research. Submitting your own work gives you peace of mind and determines you to work hard to accomplish your academic goals.
• Take notes while you’re doing your research. This will help you cite your sources when the time comes. Be organized when taking notes.
• Cite! Probably the most important point of all, cite your sources. Every single one of them, whether it’s a book, an article, an essay, a chart, or a graphic. Make sure you’re avoiding plagiarism each step of the way.
• Understand what paraphrasing means. If you’re taking words from another author’s page and replace them with synonyms, this is considered plagiarism. However, paraphrasing means citing the original source while rewording some of the content that you’ve read.
How to fix your paper if it’s plagiarized?
Now let’s get down to business. What do you do if your paper is plagiarized? How do you fix it to avoid being sanctioned – or worse? Check out some ideas below. Revise your paper according to the following notes.
Organize your sources to keep track of them
Get organized before you start writing. You might be forgetting to cite if not. Avoid falling into the plagiarism trap by keeping your sources in order as you read them. Write down phrases or words that you are taking from another article and don’t forget to cite them later.
Also, make sure that all of your sources are credible and supported by clear arguments. You could use Google Scholar to browse credible sources. If this is not an option, you could check your school’s database for high-quality academic content.
Paraphrase and add your own ideas
Sharing information that’s already available is normal, every researcher does that. You could do this by quoting and paraphrasing. On top of that, make sure that you’re adding your own ideas to the paraphrased content. Stating someone else’s research as it is doesn’t add anything new to existing literature, so it won’t be taken seriously. You’ve got to convince your examiners that you’ve got a point and that you’re using the available research to expand on what already exists.
Use a plagiarism checker
Before sending your paper in, check it for mistakes and errors. You might’ve forgotten to add some citations or missing quotation marks, or your paraphrasing abilities might need some polishing. Most professors use their own plagiarism checkers to detect potential plagiarism, so you should do the same. Use any Studyclerk plagiarism fixer to detect errors or content that could be polished or remove. Editing a paper requires detailed attention, so make sure you’re doing the work. Using a plagiarism checker will help you identify what needs to change and what can stay.
Use the right citation format
Your citation style depends on the subject at hand. For example, your essay should be structured according to APA format if you’re submitting a psychology paper. However, there are other styles you could follow, depending on your topic. Two of the most common (besides APA) are MLA and Chicago.
Fixing a plagiarized paper is not easy, so take the necessary precautions. It’s better to catch your own mistakes before someone else catches them. However, if your paper looks plagiarized, try to use the aforementioned tools to improve it. Organize your sources, keep track of your progress, paraphrase and cite, and use a plagiarism checker to ensure that your work is not stolen.