Updated: 02/27/2019 by Computer Hope
The Internet is a useful resource for finding information on any topic. When researching, it may seem easy to use the work of others and claim it as your own. However, plagiarism is unethical and illegal. The unauthorized use of the intellectual property of others can get you expelled from educational institutions, and sued by Copyright owners. Here are some methods that can help you avoid plagiarism online.
Create an outline before you begin researching
In many cases, writers have the same writing structure as their source of information. One way to avoid having too similar of a structure is to organize your ideas into an outline before you begin researching. This process will give you an idea of what your writing will look like before you even see anyone else’s work.
For example, create a rough document with sections for an intro, each body paragraph, and the conclusion, and have a bulleted list of ideas beneath each heading. After the outline is created, research your topic, and flesh out your paper with the new found information.
Provide citations for your sources
When using information from outside sources, it is necessary to include citations which denote your sources. Not only will you be giving credit to the original content creator, but you’ll make your work more credible.
Citations can be placed before or after direct quotes or paraphrases, as shown in the example below.
According to Computer Hope, plagiarism can lead to punishments, such as lawsuits and expulsion from schools.
You can also include a bibliography containing citations at the end of your work. Certain instructors or publishers may require you to cite your sources in a specific style, such as MLA or APA format. If this is the case, online citation services can help you create citations in these formats. Below is a short list of helpful citation generators.