How Students Can Write a Thesis Without Self-Plagiarism?

It is easy to remember the frustrating part of finishing a game on PlayStation or Xbox. When a gamer finally finishes a level, beats the boss, or completes a task, the game rewards him with trophies that can be earned again when retried. The same is the case with the thesis and the research paper.


Suppose a student finally completes a thesis paper and successfully graduates to postgraduate programs. In that case, he should feel proud of himself as he earns a little platinum trophy called ‘Thesis without self-plagiarism. However, writing a thesis without self-plagiarism is challenging, especially for students with average writing skills. Therefore, this guide on how students can write a thesis without self-plagiarism is here to help the naïve and pro-student writers.


What is Self-Plagiarism?

Self-Plagiarism involves a person recycling his ideas and pretending the ideas are new. This type of plagiarism can happen in different ways. For example, students commit self-plagiarism when they use a part of the information from their previously submitted assignment in a new task.

Why is Self-Plagiarism Bad?

Plagiarism of any kind, intentional or unintentional, has the same penalties. But let’s understand through an example why people consider self-plagiarism illegal.

For example, a person purchases something from the market in exchange for money.


But if he has to repurchase the same thing, he won’t photocopy the cash. Instead, he will use the new money to buy that thing again. The same is the case for self-plagiarism.


Students get credits for submitting an assignment. So, to get the new credits, students will have to submit a new assignment, as they can’t use their previous work. That is why self-plagiarism is bad in academics and other writing industries.

How Students Can Write a Thesis Without Self-Plagiarism?

1.    Avoiding the inclusion of bits and pieces from previous works:

Often, students copy-paste the bits and pieces from their previous work into their current task. Doing this results in self-plagiarism.


So, the easiest way to avoid self-plagiarism dissertation issues is to prevent the use of copy-pasting. But if a student copies text from his previous work to use in his current task, he will face self-plagiarism issues.

2.    Focusing on writing original work:

Preventing copy-pasting from previous works doesn’t mean that students will have to create everything from scratch. Indeed, they can take the idea from their previously submitted paper.


But they should explain that idea by using original wordings. Otherwise, they will fall prey to self-plagiarism.

3.    Asking for permissions from faculty:

The criteria for self-plagiarism vary from journal to journal and institute to institute. Therefore, sometimes, instructors and institutes allow students to use the contents of their previously submitted work.


But this is not true in all scenarios. That is why students should ask their instructors or institutes about their stance on self-plagiarism.

4.    Using quotes for texts and adding citations for ideas:

No matter what type of plagiarism a candidate is trying to avoid, at some point, he will have to use quotes and cite the references. So, suppose a student wants to use a piece of text from his previously submitted paper.


In that case, he will have to enclose that text in double-quotes and cite its reference.

Similarly, suppose a student wants to use an idea from his previously submitted work. In that case, he should cite the original reference of that information to avoid self-plagiarism issues.

5.    Paraphrasing the previously submitted content:

One of the most common techniques in how students can write a thesis without self-plagiarism issues guide is to learn the art of paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing is a technique of changing the wording and sentence structure of the content without changing its actual meaning.


So, candidates from different writing niches use this technique to prevent plagiarism claims. But wrongly paraphrasing the content could also cause plagiarism. Therefore, students should consider the following points while rephrasing a piece of content:

·       Try to use a unique starting point for each paragraph.

·       Avoid copying-pasting the content.

·       Avoid the synonyms-replacement technique.

·       Change the sentence structure by using active voices instead of passive voices and vice versa.

But if a student is not skillful enough to manually rephrase a piece of content, he should use a rephrase tool.

*** Note: Paraphrasing doesn’t exclude the need to cite the references. Therefore, even after paraphrasing the content, students will still have to mention the source of information ***

6.    Checking the integrity of newly written content:

Not checking plagiarism is the most common cause of self-plagiarism. Therefore, after applying all the above techniques, students should check plagiarism in their content. If the content contains any plagiarism, students should avoid that at any cost. Otherwise, there will be no use in following the above-discussed techniques.

7.    Using the help of Google Translate – a Use Case:

Among the famous examples of self-plagiarism, one of the candidates has claimed to solve self-plagiarism through Google Translate.


He first translated each plagiarized portion through Google Translate in one language and then another. Once he translated the plagiarized content into two languages, he retranslated that text into the primary language of his thesis paper.

However, doing this destroyed the main intent of his content.

When is Self-Plagiarism OK?

Suppose a student is writing a doctoral capstone. In that case, there will be no such thing as self-plagiarism because recycling the work is legal while writing a doctoral capstone.

Wrapping Up – the Conclusion:

Self-plagiarism has become known as a thing in dissertation writing. For many students, it is frustrating knowing that they have to rewrite a whole part of a research paper or thesis because of self-plagiarism.


This sensitive issue is never easy to explain. But the thesis is the most critical project in students’ academic life. It is not an easy job for them to write it by themselves without falling prey to self-plagiarism cases. However, that’s where this guide will prove beneficial.

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