In school, students are taught to avoid plagiarism from day one. Every high school and college has an academic dishonesty policy, and every professor makes sure to include it in his or her syllabus. The consequences of plagiarism are serious: failing papers, flunking classes, and even getting kicked out of school. But after you graduate, the plagiarism is still serious—and the consequences can be even greater.
Why is plagiarism such a big deal?
You can get fired or discredited
If you plagiarize in the workplace, there’s a good chance you’ll get fired, especially if writing is a major part of your job. Plagiarizing erodes trust and damages reputations—not only for you personally, but also for your business. Customers may no longer trust you, and they may stop giving you business if they find out you have stolen someone else’s work.
People can find you out
There are a vast number of plagiarism-checkers available online. If you are plagiarizing from anyone notable—or simply anyone who cares about getting attributed—they will be checking to see who has been using your content. Copyscape is what we use at Strong Estate. It is one of many online tools that checks to see where your original words have appeared online. Editors and project managers often use these tools to make sure their writers are not stealing other peoples’ work. If a writer finds that you have been using their content, they most likely will ask you to take it down and could easily get you into trouble.
Plagiarism makes you look bad
When you plagiarize, you send two messages: laziness and lack of intelligence. Plagiarizing is lazy. Proper citing and original writing take time and hard work. If you’re not doing either, it shows people that you don’t care about doing your job correctly. Plagiarism can also make you look unintelligent. It shows that you didn’t have anything original to say.
How to Avoid Plagiarism
Quoting is probably the easiest, safest way to incorporate another author’s ideas into your writing with plagiarizing. Keep in mind that you can overuse quotations. Your writing needs to be your own; you shouldn’t stuff it full of exact quotations from other writers, even if you do attribute them to the author.
Side note: With the internet, you have the ability to hyperlink directly to the original author’s website, which is a super-easy way to cite. Far easier than making an MLA bibliography!
Paraphrasing is another way to use another author’s words without plagiarizing. Paraphrases also require proper attribution. They don’t require quotation marks, but once again, linking to the original author’s website might be a good idea. When you paraphrase, make sure you have a good understanding of the original author’s intent in context. When you misunderstand the meaning of a piece of writing and inaccurately paraphrase it, you are committing another form of plagiarism. Once again, when you paraphrase, hyperlink to the webpage where you found the information.
You should have the idea for your writing and an outline before you begin your research. You may get more ideas through your research, but if you don’t have some kind of outline beforehand, you may be tempted to take the entire outline from another piece of writing on the same topic. This will also help you narrow down your research and make the writing process quicker and more efficient.
Take good notes
Make sure you’re not writing in a hurry when you begin. Good writing takes time. If you’re in a hurry or disorganized, you may end up forgetting to attribute one of your notes or mixing up your sources. You may also forget what notes are exact quotes, which are paraphrases, and which are original ideas. When you return to your notes, you most likely won’t remember these details and won’t appropriately attribute. Don’t ever make the mistake of copying and pasting directly from a website into your notes. Just like they teach in school, figure out how to take notes in your own words. Ultimately, what you write will be better and you will have a greater understanding of your topic.
Plagiarism is very serious and you shouldn’t take it lightly, whether you’re in school or in the business world. But if you consciously think about how to avoid plagiarism, it’s really not hard at all!
If you’ve found a piece of content you would like to have on your website, but are concerned about plagiarizing, take advantage of Strong Estate’s rewriting service. With this service, our professional writers will take the content you want to use and completely rewrite it into something original. Here’s our process:
- We open up a brand-new document next to the content that you want us to rewrite.
- We never touch the copy/paste buttons.
- Using original vocabulary, sentence structure, and organization, we create a brand-new piece of writing that will pass Copyscape and other plagiarism checkers, while still retaining the basic information that you want to portray.
If you’re ready to get started, use the contact form below to get ahold of us immediately, or Order Your Writing today!