Q: What citation style should I use to avoid unintentional plagiarism?
Our target journal recommends using APA style of formatting citations. If our citation style is wrong, the journal will not accept the paper. In our paper, we have unconsiously made the mistake of plagiarism in some parts, so I would like to know the correct manner of citation to avoid plagiarism.
Majority of journals require APA style formatting of reference citations. The APA style guide provides a tutorial that will help you to learn how to use this style.
However, the formatting of references according to APA style does not guarantee that your manuscript will be free from plagiarism-related issues. Plagiarism in the manuscript, whether done consciously or unconsciously, should be addressed by paraphrasing sentences and by providing the reference to the source article. Authors of a manuscript should ensure that they do not copy-paste sentences verbatim from a published source.
So ideally, what you should do now is run a plagiarism check on your manuscript. You can use online plagiarism checking tools such as Plagscan, Viper, iThenticate, etc. for this. Once the software identifies the sentences which contain plagiarized content, you should rewrite these sentences using your own words. If there are a few sentences that you cannot paraphrase, you should put them within quotation marks. However, quotes should be used sparingly, and only when it is absolutely impossible to parapharase.
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I would recommend you using the plagiarism checking tool we use at university Unicheck. It has a very good feature that helps check the proper formatting, citations, and plagiarism. It checks the paper for proper formatting in different styles including APA. Thus, if there are any issues, it will be depicted in the similarity report and you will know what has to be changed.