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When you write an essay it can be pretty easy to copy another authors words when your frustrated! So here are some tips to avoid plagiarism!
1) Understand what plagiarism is. The American Heritage dictionary defines plagiarism as: "the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.
2) Be familiar in the area that you are talking about. By understanding the subject, you are more likely to write in your own words, rather than restate someone else's definition of this subject. Look for information on the topic you want to write about. This can be on the Internet, books, etc.
3) Restate the subject to yourself a couple of times. The key is to understand the material and be able to express its meaning in your own words. Try to avoid reading from another author's material too much, as you will be more inclined to restate that author's exact statement.
4) Reference your quotes and sources. You should include a bibliography or works cited in your paper. If you use a direct quote from another author's work, then you should quote it and cite it properly. Many teachers accept the standard MLA format, unless otherwise specified.
5) Understand some basics about copyright. Plagiarism can be more than a bad academic practice, it can be a violation of the law if you break copyright.
6) Understand what doesn't need to be cited. Not every single thing in academic research needs to be cited, or else research would be too painful for people to undertake. Like common observations/ your personal stuff/ scientific info you gathered!
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