English Corner(September)

Jasmine Chen,  PhD student, Department of English │ Issue71 September MyUM

Academic Writing- How to Avoid Plagiarism?

Students who felt confident about their English writing in high school often encounter frustration when they submit their first English papers in college. Correct grammar, appropriate syntax, and suitable diction are the crucial elements of a good high-school essay, but they are merely the basic requirements of a college paper. One of the most important skills for college students to survive and thrive is to learn to write an academic paper.

What is academic writing?

Academic writing is standardised in form but diver gent in content. To put it another way, any argument of an academic paper should be developed in a rational, professional structure and supported with sufficient evidence. The form and structure of an academic paper can be learned or imitated. As a newbie, you can read academic journal articles to pick up ideas on how to arrange materials and paragraphs.

However, in terms of content, it’s a completely different matter. Stealing ideas, thoughts and words is THE taboo of academic writing. Even experienced writers may fall into the trap of plagiarism.

How to avoid plagiarism?

Since punishment for plagiarism is severe, every college student should pay attention to this issue and develop a good habit in academic writing. The most effective way to avoid inadvertent plagiarism is to make references. Remember: document all sources and quotes, and reference them correctly!

Please make references when you quote the original texts, paraphrase other people’s ideas, or use others’ tables and figures in your own paper. More often than not, newbies will get confused as to when they should make references. Here is a rule of thumb: when in doubt, give credit. It is better to be overcautious than negligent when it comes to academic writing.