You probably know that plagiarism – that scary word many of us first learned in grade school – means taking credit for someone else’s work. By that definition alone, refraining from committing this infraction should be easy, but several types of plagiarism exist, and some of them aren’t so obvious.
One of those types is incremental plagiarism. As a student, you should understand what incremental plagiarism is and how to avoid it because the consequences of committing it can be serious. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a guide to help.
What Is Incremental Plagiarism?
Incremental plagiarism happens when you include portions of someone’s work or ideas in your writing without providing adequate credit to the source. Doing this can include paraphrasing, directly quoting, or piecing together sections of someone else’s words.
Incremental plagiarism is an easy trap to fall into. The majority of your work may be your own, but if you pull a few phrases or an idea from someone else and weave it into your text, you have to include information about where that content came from.
How to Avoid Incremental Plagiarism
You can do a few things to avoid this sneaky form of plagiarism. Before you start researching and writing, make sure you set yourself up for success with the following tips.
1. Get Familiar With Your Referencing Style
Before you start doing any research, take some time to review the referencing system you’re using. The style guide you use will depend on your institution’s requirements. Jot down a few points on the information you need to include for different types of sources.
For example, APA 7th requires that for books, the name of the publisher be included in the reference list. Chicago, however, requires that you include the publisher location also. Finding out what you need to keep track of in advance will save you headaches down the road.
2. Take Detailed Notes During Research
Now it’s time to conduct your research. Each time you dig into a new piece of literature, take note of the details you’ll need to include in your reference list, such as authors’ names, dates of publication, publisher information, the volume and issue numbers of journals, etc.
As you gather information to include in your paper, make a note of where you found certain ideas. In your notes, keep things organized and separated based on which source they belong to. If you write down any specific text, whether it’s a long quote or just a few words, be sure to place quotation marks around it and jot down the page number(s) where you found it.
Find this useful?
Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.
3. Use Your Own Words
As you write, make a pointed effort not to just copy down information you found during your research. Try to express concepts in your own words. Incorporate your own interpretations and personal knowledge to develop original ideas.
4. Cite Everything Properly
Of course, if you include an idea that isn’t your own, you can’t just rephrase it and claim it as your work. Is the information common knowledge, or is it something you wouldn’t have known without having read it from this specific source?
For findings and ideas that are specific to someone else’s work, you need to include citations. Follow your referencing style’s requirements to do this correctly. They may have you include the author’s name and the year of publication, and there may be guidelines on where to place citations and how many to include. If you quote a source directly, you will also likely need to include page numbers.
Summary: Incremental Plagiarism
Incremental plagiarism is tricky to spot and even harder to remove. The best practice is to avoid including it in the first place by preparing, conducting your research thoroughly, and writing with careful consideration.
Providing proper credit to your sources will help you be a reliable and trustworthy source yourself. And once you finish writing your paper, make sure you send it to our editors to take a look. As well as checking your work for grammar, spelling, and more, they’ll make sure your citations and reference list are good to go! Try it out for free today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most serious form of plagiarism?
Global plagiarism is when you knowingly attempt to take credit for the entirety of someone else’s work. This form of plagiarism has serious consequences.
Does paraphrasing count as plagiarism?
Even if you only paraphrase someone else’s idea(s) without using their direct words, you have to give them proper credit. Otherwise, it’s a form of plagiarism.