Plagiarism is one of the biggest concerns among academics. If you plagiarize another author in your paper – intentionally or accidentally – you could face some very serious consequences.
One of the best ways to avoid accusations of plagiarism (aside from simply not copying someone else’s work) is to properly cite the sources you use. There are multiple style guides with instructions for this, including MLA, APA, and Chicago, but there are also other online resources that may be useful.
So, for this guide we partnered up with the ShareDF team and created a list of five websites to help you correctly construct your citations and avoid unintentional plagiarism.
Copyscape provides several paid options for companies to check whether the content they had written for their websites was copied from somewhere else (or if someone else is copying the content they have already posted), but it also has a free option to help you ensure that all of the content in your paper is one hundred percent original. You simply paste a URL of your paper (you can use Google Docs or other such service) into the search box and click “Go.” The tool will then scour the internet to see if your exact wording appears elsewhere.
Dupli Checker checks for plagiarism much the same way as Copyscape, but with this version, you are able to upload a file directly into the tool without a URL or copy and paste your full paper. Dupli Checker is also always free, but you can only do one plagiarism search per day unless you create a free account. You can check them out here: https://www.duplichecker.com/
By far the best way to avoid plagiarism is to correctly cite your references. Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers one of the most in-depth guides to citations on the internet. If you have any questions about how to cite a source using MLA, Chicago, APA, or AP, chances are very good that they have the answer. To make things even more convenient for students, they also have an automatic formatting tool to format your works cited page entries according to the various style guides. You simply choose which type of source it is, input the author name and other information, then click “Cite” and voila – a perfectly formatted entry. Here’s the link: https://owl.purdue.edu/index.html
Capitalize My Title
Getting frustrated trying to keep track of which words you’re supposed to capitalize in the titles on your references page? Capitalize My Title makes this quick and simple by taking away all the guesswork. All you have to do is choose which style guide you are using, whether it be APA, Chicago, AP, MLA, NYT, etc., and then paste your title into the search bar. Immediately it will be recapitalized according to the rules of that style guide and ready for you to use. You can visit the site here: https://capitalizemytitle.com/
Style Guide Official Websites
Last but definitely not least are the official style guide websites themselves. These are the best places to look if you need to check how to correctly cite a source. While most of the more popular style guides require a subscription or a purchase of their full book, you can often access FAQ, blogs, and other related content for free on their websites. Here are the links to the MLA, APA, and Chicago style guide websites to get you started.
Plagiarism is not always intentional, but it is always wrong. With these resources, you can be sure that you are writing a paper that is completely original and that your sources are cited and formatted properly.