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3 Ways to Use an Academic Paper Sample Found Online

Academic paper samples have a number of potential uses for students. Samples can help you to write your own essay, but they also have the power to potentially destroy your entire academic career if you use them incorrectly. As long as you use samples correctly, you won’t have to worry about this risk at all. So to begin, here is how NOT to use academic paper samples:

Never Ever Try To Pass Off a Sample as Your Own Work

This should be a no brainer to most students, but it is still well worth mentioning. For starters this practice is highly unethical, but it is also against academic integrity guidelines. And violating those guidelines could get you an F on your paper, or even get you kicked out of school. Technology makes it so easy for professors to check if you are using plagiarized conflict, so it simply isn’t worth the risk. It’s also worth noting that even using parts of an essay sample or paraphrasing the words could get you in trouble. Play it safe and don’t copy samples that you have found on line. Stick to using them in these three ways:

Use the Sample as a Source of Inspiration

If you are completely stumped on a paper topic, academic paper samples are a great place to start. They can show you the potential of different topics in your subject. They might inspire you to come up with an idea that you might never have thought of otherwise. And in a pinch, you can use the same topic as a sample you find, as long as you do all the research and writing yourself.

Use the Sample to Help Format and Cite Your Paper

Formats and citations can be confusing even to the most seasoned writer. The style guides go over every type of requirement, but they aren’t exactly easy to follow. If you are someone that learns best by example, a good research paper sample is perfect to illustrate proper citation formats. Just do you due diligence and make sure the sample is properly formatted and not out of date.

Use the Samples to Kick Start Your Research

Many sample papers come complete with a list of works cited. These citations may prove to be useful to help you find sources for your own paper. Take a look at any sources you find in sample papers and see if they could be of any use to you. This can help you save time writing your paper without compromising your academic integrity or putting your academic career at risk.


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