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5 Ways to Avoid Self-Plagiarism in Your Writing

Written by CB Community

Everyone understands the concept and consequences of plagiarism.

Stealing and copying someone else’s work and passing it as yours is totally unacceptable, unethical and can get you into a lot of trouble.

But you might think that there’s nothing wrong if you can reuse something that you have already written before, right?

Think again.

Self-plagiarism is just as serious. It involves copying some of your old work and publishing it as part of new writing.

Because it’s rather tricky, most people don’t even realize that they’re doing something wrong.

However, you can still get in trouble for self-plagiarism. Keep on reading to find more about the best ways to avoid it:

What is Self-Plagiarism?

Writing an academic essay or research paper is a challenging process. You want to submit an excellent piece of writing to guarantee the best results while impressing your teacher or professor.

However, when you’re writing, you might unknowingly engage in self-plagiarism.

This involves copying or recycling some of the writing you have submitted before, intentionally, or unintentionally.

Self-plagiarism is wrong because it cancels the need for academic research. By using your previous content, you’re not adding any value because the information is already there.

You might have a distinctive style of writing, repeating the same sentences or words. You might also reuse some of your previous writing because you lack the confidence to submit new content.

Changing the words and the order of sentences isn’t enough. You need to submit original well-researched content every time you’re asked to work on academic writing.

While it’s not illegal, self-plagiarism can affect your academic future. Your professor needs to read new content to judge your performance, and you will be showing them that you lack the ability to research and submit excellent writing.

5 Ways to Avoid Self-Plagiarism

No matter how challenging the topic is, you should always make sure that you’re providing authentic and original content.

Here are the best ways to avoid self-plagiarism:

1. Do Your Own Research

No matter how near the deadline is, you should always dedicate time to research.

Researching the topic guarantees that you will have access to new information that you can use to finish your writing.

Even if you’re working on a topic that you have tackled before, there will always be new resources to explore and new data to use.

Reading and studying new resources will enable you to come with original ideas, different from those you used before.

You should also expand on your ideas and explore more depths. If you remember how you worked on a similar topic, dig a little deeper and write about the points that you left out in your previous research.

2. Start with a Good Plan

Brainstorming and creating a writing outline are excellent ways to start your writing. You can avoid writing about the points you’ve written about before, even if you’re writing about the same topic.

Proper planning will also give you time to work without any pressure, so you will have the opportunity to submit original work without engaging in self-plagiarism.

If you have to write several essays or papers about similar topics, you can schedule your work to give your mind a break between writing similar assignments.

By focusing on a different topic, your mind will take a break, and you won’t feel stuck.

3. Use a Citation Generator

If you absolutely have to, you can cite your previous work in a new assignment. When you acknowledge the source of your work, you’re not committing plagiarism.

The same applies to self-plagiarism.

You should mention where you’ve copied some of your previous work in the new essay or research paper. You should also mention the date you have published this piece of work, and list all the necessary information to avoid being accused of self-plagiarism.

You need to check the citation rules for your educational institution to make sure that you’re not doing anything wrong.

A citation generator can help you credit the information in APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian and Harvard citation styles.

You might also need to get the permission of the copyright holder. Even though you might have written a paper for a website or academic journal, the owner of this platform will hold the copyright to it.

Tell them that you plan to reuse some of your previous content to avoid getting into legal trouble.

4. Use a Plagiarism Checker

No matter how hard you try, you might still reuse some of your previous ideas and sentences in a new piece of writing.

The best way to make sure that you won’t be accused of self-plagiarism is to use a plagiarism checker.

This software checks all the published content and will highlight the copied parts, so you can avoid rewriting them. When this happens, you should revise, edit, and paraphrase your content by rewriting the sentences again.

This will also give you a chance to expand on the ideas by adding more interesting information that you didn’t include in your previous writing.

5. Use a Writing Service

In some cases, no matter what you do, you would still feel stuck. If you have an approaching deadline that is making it hard to research your topic from scratch, you should try hiring an essay writing service.

According to Stressays, essay writing services hire professional writers and tutors who have worked on similar assignments.

They will have more access to reputable academic resources that allow them to research the topic better.

Moreover, these writers are gifted and experienced, so they won’t struggle while paraphrasing their content, even if they have written similar essays and papers about the same time.

Hiring an essay writing service to handle your essay or research paper comes with a lot of benefits. These professional writers use the most efficient plagiarism detecting software programs and even offer a money-back guarantee if you can prove that your content isn’t original.

Nevertheless, you need to make sure that you’re choosing a reliable essay writing service to guarantee that your academic future is in good hands/

Wrap Up

Self-plagiarism is tricky but can be easily avoided. You should work on doing good research, using new resources that you haven’t used before.

Planning your writing and giving yourself time to paraphrase your previous content also work.

If you feel absolutely stuck, hiring an essay writing service might be the only answer.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.