Best Practices for Avoiding Plagiarism in Research Papers

Research paper plagiarism is a common thing in academia. A lot of educators and teachers struggle with keeping things straight and ensuring that their students do not plagiarize or duplicate content from any source.

Plagiarism in academies is a serious issue in countries like the UK, USA, Australia, Ireland, and Canada. Source:

Today, around 54% of students believe that it’s okay to plagiarize to get a competitive edge. That is why it is necessary to promote the best practices for avoiding plagiarism in research papers.

As a student or a teacher, one is responsible for doing this to ensure avoiding any sort of unethical copying of another author’s work.

So, how do you ensure avoiding plagiarism in research papers? What are some of the key practices? More importantly, what exactly is plagiarism, and what types of plagiarism should you avoid? Let us answer all of these questions.

Understanding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the unethical process of stealing another author’s work, idea, or expression. A lot of dictionaries and institutions around the globe simply describe plagiarism as the practice of taking another author’s work word-by-word or simply copying the idea and passing it off as original.

In a lot of cases, plagiarism can be accidental or simply caused by a lack of proper credit. That is why there are a few main types of plagiarism, such as:

  • Verbatim plagiarism: Copy and paste content directly without making any changes.
  • Paraphrased plagiarism: Paraphrased text without the original author’s credit or citation.
  • Mosaic plagiarism: Copied and pasted text with only a few changes to avoid plagiarism detection.

There are also other types of plagiarism, such as accidental plagiarism or self-plagiarism. Accidental plagiarism happens when an author forgets to cite or simply writes the same content as another author coincidentally.

Whereas self-plagiarism is when a writer copies their own work—either by mistake or intentionally.

5 Best Practices to Avoid Plagiarism

Now that key things are out of the way let us jump right into the five best practices to avoid plagiarism.

1: Conduct Thorough Research

The better you understand a topic, the easier it will be for you to write research papers about it. The key to writing plagiarism-free research papers lies in the title itself, “research papers.” That means it is expected of the student to ensure that they research a lot before writing.

According to Slideplayer, the definition of a research paper is as follows:


As you can see, it states that research papers are about answering questions that one gathers by researching specific information.

Therefore, the best way to avoid plagiarism is by focusing on the ‘research’ part of the research paper.

2: Reference Management

Reference management is the practice of collecting and then organizing the source material for research papers—or any sort of written content.

This process ensures that the writer can keep track of their research and know exactly when to use specific types of research in their text.

The process of reference management is quite simple, and it can be kept to three main phases, including:

  • Collection: The phase of collecting sources by searching on Google or other academic platforms.
  • Management: Managing and keeping the sources in the form of a list or manifest to be able to use them when needed.
  • Citation: Citation alongside specific information that the source verifies.

These are the three main areas of reference management that writers should focus on. This way, they will be able to keep track of their sources. They can also try using reference management tools to organize and cite them accurately.

3: Paraphrasing in Your Own Words:

Paraphrasing using original words is the best way to avoid plagiarism. A lot of times, lackluster paraphrasing leads to plagiarism and causes trouble for students.

Now, it is important to remember that even with paraphrasing, it is important to cite the source of information.

However, paraphrasing properly is important. Let us say this is an example of an original sentence:

“The local authorities do verify this information. As it thoroughly portrays the issue with locals abiding the law.”

Now, here is an example of lackluster paraphrasing:

“The native authorities do confirm this information. As it carefully depicts the issue with locals abiding the law.”

This is not exactly paraphrasing if there are only a couple of words changed—it will count as mosaic plagiarism. So, to avoid that issue, you will have to paraphrase properly. Students can try using an online paraphraser to avoid the hassle.

For instance, look how effectively it can rewrite the aforementioned sentence:

As you can see, this way, students can paraphrase more efficiently. Moreover, it takes less than a few seconds, so it can help them save a lot of time and avoid plagiarism effectively.

4: Use Direct Quotations

Using direct quotations is one of the best ways to avoid plagiarism—as long as the original author is credited properly. This method requires the writer to directly quote the original author in a clever, albeit unique, way.

Let us take the earlier sentence, for example, and use it as a quote:

“However, it is confirmed by the writer as he says, and I quote, “The local authorities do verify this information. As it thoroughly portrays the issue with locals abiding the law.” Thus, confirming the long suspicion of a lot of people.”

As you can notice, the quotation in the middle makes it seem all-natural, and it accredits the original writer.

5: Proper Citation

Whether it is paraphrased content or direct quotes, proper citation is always necessary. Now there are various citation types, and each intuition governs a different citation requirement. That means you might be necessitated to use one of the three main citation types, which are:

  • APA (American Psychological Association
  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • Chicago

If you are wondering how these citations are made, then here is how each one looks:




Therefore, always use the right type of citation in your research papers. As mentioned before, each type of citation will be required by the teacher/institution. So, read the research paper instructions properly before getting started.


These are some of the leading practices to avoid plagiarism in research papers. These five main tips and tactics are not just shortcuts but rather necessary to ensure originality in research papers. So, paraphrase properly, research a lot, manage your citations, and mention them correctly.

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