How Not to Plagiarize in Research

There are some simple rules to follow that will help you not to plagiarize in research. What is Plagiarism? Plagiarism is using another person’s ideas, thoughts, words or any other work without permission and duo credit. Plagiarism is a literary crime and a student can commit plagiarism intentionally or unintentionally. The student needs to be very careful in recording all the sources with a full citation so that he does not plagiarise any source. There are many ways in which the student can avoid intentional and unintentional plagiarism in his research paper.

Use quotation marks

When writing a direct quote from an author one must be very cautious that it is given the due credit. The student should avoid the use of too many direct quotations in his/her research paper. The use of too many direct quotations makes the research paper a mere compilation of other people’s work. In some situations where students do not want to change the wording of a quote, they should write them with proper quotation marks. The name of the author and the date of publication should precede the quote. There are many citation styles and many of them need an in-text citation as well. The student should cite the author in-text and at the end of the manuscript.

Credit the source

The first step to achieve this is to write notes with full references. A student should know what information he should put in his notes and why it is important. Later when you are adding those notes in your research paper you should know well which one is a quotation, paraphrase, summary or a dialogue. If you do not know well about your note you cannot credit the source in the right manner. Each type of note needs to be credited in a different manner. The in-text citation should provide the author or editor name and the year of publication. You can cite the source on the bottom of each page where the source appears, parenthetical citation allows the readers to reach the source easily and it adds credibility to your research paper.

In-text documentation

The in-text or within text documentation is favored by many citation styles such as MLA, APA etc. The style of citation can be different but you have to follow the citation rules properly. In MLA citation style you have to mention the authors’ last name and the page number where the source appears. The style in which you cite the source in-text depends on whether the source is a print or non-print one (book, journal, diary, autobiography or DVD, recorded video, or audio etc). In APA style of citation, you have to mention author name and the year of publication when you have to write an in-text citation.

End of the text documentation

End of the text documentation should be provided regardless of what citation format you are following. This gives the readers an option to check the source and read more about the topic. For the student writing a research paper properly written end-of-the-text citation greatly enhances credibility and authenticity of the research paper.

Clearly differentiate your work from others

In previous paragraphs, we discussed how important it is to take proper notes, write in-text citation and end of the text citation to make your research paper authentic and free of plagiarism. Careful work is the key to a good research paper, you should know well what text is yours and what text is taken from other sources. Clearly differentiate your analysis, ideas, opinions, viewpoints, and conclusions from the work of other authors.

It is easier said than done to avoid plagiarism in the research because there are so many factors that can cause plagiarism. You might do it intentionally or unintentionally but remember that if you are successful in avoiding plagiarism in the first step of your research you can avoid it later as well.


  • Roth, A. J., The Research Paper: Process, Form, and Content, 8th Ed., Wadsworth Pub Co., 1999, Pp-106-109
  • Russell, T., et al, MLA In-Text, Citations: The Basics,, Last Edited: 2017, 10, 23
  • Paiz, M. J., et al, In-Text Citations: The Basics,, Last Edited: 2017, 9, 11



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