Magoosh GRE

How to avoid plagiarism in a dissertation

| April 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

You’ve done it!

After all those hours and nights spent in the library or writing at your laptop, this is it -you’ve just finished writing your 10 000 word dissertation – your magnum opus, your life’s work; now why would you want to jeopardise all that hard work by being caught out on plagiarism?

Technology has made it too easy for students to search and click for essays or articles which they simply drop into their writing as their own. However, Universities have their own technology to detect this type of cheating. Because the consequences of being caught plagiarising can be severe, there is no point in risking a grade or even a degree over it.

So how do I avoid it?

The simplest way of avoiding a charge of plagiarism is to correctly cite the sources for your quotations or other material that you have borrowed from another author. To avoid plagiarism in your dissertation, you must document sources properly using Footnotes, Endnotes, or Parenthetical References, and must write a Bibliography, References, or Works Cited page and place it at the end of the research paper to list the sources used.

It is important to remember that your interpretation of a certain topic will inevitably be influenced by your reading of related sources, which is why any text that you have used in the research of your study should be included in the bibliography, even if you do not directly quote the text in your essay – the chances are your examiner will have encountered the same ideas and know where you are getting them from. It should be always clear how, why and where exactly interpretation was drawn from other sources. As well as being unethical, your tutor probably knows your writing style and will be able to detect writing that is not you own. Therefore, you need to reference EVERY source you have used, not just books or articles – this includes: websites, films, interviews, emails, artwork and images etc.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help when checking your essay for plagiarism. When in doubt about whether or not you are fringing on having plagiarism in your work, ask your tutor for help. You can also make use of websites such as and to help check your essay to ensure that you are not inadvertently plagiarising someone else’s work.

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Category: Dissertation Writing Guide

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