One of the best methods to avoid plagiarism is to take lots of notes from the sources you have found whilst conducting research. By writing lots of notes you are already starting to formulate your own understanding and interpretation, which will make it much easier when you come to write the paper. If you don’t take notes, then you run the risk of copying the original content by mistakes, which is very easy to do after spending hours and hours searching for sources!Another great technique to help avoid plagiarising is to research numerous sources rather than just one or two.
That way, not only will you stand a good chance of achieving higher marks for your research, you will also give yourself a much better chance of avoiding plagiarism if your sources are varied and combined. If however you do still find a sentence or paragraph that has very similar wording to the original source, then you must rewrite this into your own words and double check that you’ve fully understood its meaning. As a rough guide, if you’re not adding anything to the original material – some analysis or observation – you’re probably not paraphrasing properly. As well as using a reference page or section, you should also reference the info and sources within the actual text using Footnotes or Harvard referencing (in-text citation). Your University will typically stipulate which style of referencing is required, so don’t forget to check with your tutor. The main thing to remember is to ensure you state where you got your information, so you don’t run the risk of being accused of plagiarism.
Basically, paraphrasing means to express the meaning of something written or spoken using different words. So instead of using the exact same words, you interpret and understand the meaning and put this down into your own words, and in most cases, elaborate and investigate further. So when paraphrasing a source, you are essentially expressing the concept and ideas you’ve discovered during your research. For example, when constructing an essay or dissertation, you are required to carry out research and then explain your findings. Your interpretation and understanding of this research is then implemented into the creation of an essay or dissertation and written down in your own words. What paraphrasing is NOT is just changing the words for different words. If you could just take others’ essays and change the words around and hand them in, this would make the essay writing process very easy – and very pointless.
This is plagiarism – not paraphrasing!