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How to avoid plagiarism in an essay

| April 24, 2012 | 5 Comments

Plagiarism and Essay Writing

Plagiarism is one of the most severe violations in the world of academic writing. Being caught plagiarising can have serious consequences for a student, and can even lead to expulsion from college/university.

However, sometimes it is difficult to avoid plagiarism in an essay because of the specific nature of essay writing itself; after all, you are encouraged to refer to authoritative sources but at the same time express your own opinion. This can lead to “grey areas” in which it’s hard to tell something has been plagiarised or not!

How to avoid plagiarism

The most effective way to avoid plagiarism in your essay is to correctly cite the sources for your quotations or other resource that you have used. When doing this, you should use quotation marks around words or sentences that you quote directly from a resource. You will need to write the quote exactly as it is presented in the text, and cite it with references immediately after the quote. If you are using a Harvard school of referencing, you will need to cite the quote by writing the last name of the author and the page number the quote can be found on after the quote in parentheses; e.g. (Hamilton, 2002, 54).

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: Essay Writing Guide

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