Since much of plagiarism may be unintentional, the best way to avoid it is to develop good habits of scholarship and writing and to become familiar with the concepts related to plagiarism. Some of the most useful good habits of scholarship are simple common sense. When writing a paper:
- Give yourself enough time to do a good job. Students who procrastinate are more likely to plagiarize because rushing makes them sloppy. (Being out of time is also the primary incentive for deliberate dishonesty.)
- Revise your paper. Significant re-writing can eliminate plagiarized passages.
- Proofread for errors. Proofreading can help you find missing citations and quotation marks, as well as other errors.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab has a number of other good suggestions for safe practices to avoid accidental plagiarism.
Last updated 8/23/2012 by Sue Thompson