Avoid plagiarism, Writing a PhD dissertation

Avoid plagiarism when writing a PhD dissertation

Sep 02, 2012
A dissertation paper is the most important essay that will be completed by a PhD student prior to being awarded his PhD degree. The length of the essay and the volume of the work involved means it will be easy for the student to be tempted to cheat. Sometimes students cheat unknowingly when they do not cite all the sources they made use of.
Learning how to avoid plagiarism while writing your dissertation can be quite overwhelming especially when you are expected to cover large volumes of work. The last thing a student would want to do is to be slammed with plagiarism and possibly lose his chances of receiving his PhD degree. You can avoid plagiarism if you follow these simple rules.


The essence of a dissertation is to bring in an original idea that has not been before explored. In other to get these original ideas in place, it is necessary to do a lot of research and consult large volume of books, journals and articles in the process; this is where the problem lies. In the process of consultation, it is easy to disguise other people's idea as your own. Do this and you are guilty of plagiarism. The best way to avoid this is to carefully write down all the sources you are using for your dissertation. Make a note that contains all the ideas you lifted from your sources. Include the page numbers, chapters and even paragraphs where you got your main ideas from. Equally important is the name of the book or journal you sourced your ideas from. Do not forget to include the author(s) name(s) and date of publication. This component constitutes a good citation.


Once you have cited all your sources in text, it is a pretty good idea to organise them into your reference and bibliography. A reference list contains all the works cited in the body of the paper. A bibliography on the hand is similar. The difference is that a bibliography includes all work or sources that were not cited in the body of your dissertation paper. It also includes those that were cited. For PhD dissertations, it is usually better to compile a bibliography rather than a reference list. It may happen that you got an idea that was not cited in text. It is necessary that it is included in your bibliography.


Present all your ideas in original format. Do not be tempted to make it sound like the wordings found in your favourite book. Do this and you may be accused of plagiarism even though the original idea was yours to begin with. Learn how to make your original idea uniquely yours. Do not cite your original ideas. These uniquely belong to you and no one else. Unless you already have a published work that you feel like quoting, there is no need to credit your ideas to another author. The hallmark of an original work is the amount of fresh ideas that is added to it. These ideas need not be plagiarised. They must come from you as the author of a work. The tips listed above are meant to give you a head start on writing a non plagiarised dissertation.
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