Everything You Should Know About Types of Plagiarism

About Plagiarism

04 Aug 2021

Most students have it drilled into their heads that academic offenses such as copying other authors’ works are entirely unacceptable. Committing any of the various types of plagiarism can come with severe consequences, not only resulting in you failing the assignment but potentially costing you your academic career, as well.

If you want to avoid these consequences, you need to be well aware of the plagiarism meaning and all the common forms that exist. So, let’s get started.

What Are the Different Types of Plagiarism?

types of plagiarism

Most people define plagiarism as an act of copying someone else’s work and presenting it as your own. While that’s certainly the essence of this notion, there’s much more to it than what this definition suggests.

Copying another’s work can be done in many different ways. It can be both deliberate and accidental. You could copy just a few sentences or a whole text. You could copy work by tweaking a few phrases. You could even copy yourself, which could still get you in trouble.

To prevent yourself from making fatal mistakes and copying content (by accident or not), here are some of the most common forms of plagiarism to educate yourself:

Direct Plagiarism — The Main Reason for Penalty

Direct plagiarism, also known as verbatim plagiarism, is one of the most serious academic offenses. It involves deliberately copying your sources word for word without citing them, trying to claim ownership of the text falsely, and making most of your content just a copy/paste of someone else’s ideas.

Many students and authors try to avoid being caught by deleting a few sentences or tweaking them slightly. However, even with minor changes to the structure, if your paper consists mainly of copied work without any citations, it’s a type of direct plagiarism.

An example of this would be as follows.

  • Source:

Growing up around dogs can help children develop a stronger immune system. Children who spend most of their time around dogs are less likely to develop allergies, respiratory infections, and ear infections.

  • Verbatim plagiarism:

Growing up around dogs can help children develop a stronger immune system. Those who spend their time around dogs are less likely to suffer from allergies and infections.

Taking verbatim plagiarism to the extreme, you’ll get global plagiarism. It involves copying your entire paper from another source and trying to pass it as your own. It’s a severe form of plagiarism, and you could face disciplinary action such as expulsion.

  • Source:

Growing up around dogs can help children develop a stronger immune system. Children who spend most of their time around dogs are less likely to develop allergies, respiratory infections, and ear infections.

  • Global plagiarism:

Growing up around dogs can help children develop a stronger immune system. Children who spend most of their time around dogs are less likely to develop allergies, respiratory infections, and ear infections.

Both verbatim and global are intentional, serious offenses. You could even face copyright infringement lawsuits from the original owner.

Mosaic Plagiarism — Adding Your Own Ideas

Mosaic or patchwork plagiarism is a tricky one. It can be challenging to detect when you’re not paying attention, but that doesn’t make it any less deceptive. It involves intertwining someone else’s work with your original research and opinions.

In most instances, students copy text from several different sources, paraphrase a few sentences, and add a few original lines – all without changing the ultimate meaning of the source content.

  • Source:

Growing up around dogs can help children develop a stronger immune system. Children who spend most of their time around dogs are less likely to develop allergies, respiratory infections, and ear infections.

  • Mosaic plagiarism:

Dogs and other pets can significantly improve the well-being of children. Growing up around dogs can improve a child’s immune system, making them less likely to develop allergies, respiratory infections, and ear infections.

Like with most other types, using patchwork one can result in failing a class or getting suspended.

Paraphrasing Plagiarism or Copying One’s Ideas With Your Own Words

You’ve likely encountered paraphrasing plagiarism before – it’s the most common type of plagiarism there is. As its name would suggest, it involves paraphrasing, or simply altering, a few phrases from your source material while still keeping most of the structure and meaning intact.

Unfortunately, this type of copying mostly happens because students don’t fully understand what plagiarism is. They know it’s an act of stealing another’s work, but they aren’t aware that it’s more nuanced than simply copy-pasting a few sentences.

  • Source:

Growing up around dogs can help children develop a stronger immune system. Children who spend most of their time around dogs are less likely to develop allergies, respiratory infections, and ear infections.

  • Paraphrasing plagiarism:

Children can develop a stronger immune system when they grow up with dogs in their households. Those who spend more time around dogs can avoid developing allergies, respiratory infections like asthma, and even ear infections.

Note: Keep in mind that translating another’s work from a foreign language into English is also a type of paraphrasing plagiarism. The good news is that paraphrasing (or translating) alone isn’t innately plagiarism as long as you cite your sources.

Since most students commit paraphrasing plagiarism by accident, the consequences aren’t usually as strict as with direct or mosaic plagiarism. Still, you can expect a lower grade and a verbal warning at the very least.

Self-Plagiarism — Using Your Already Published Works

Although it may seem counterintuitive, self plagiarism is still one of the more severe forms of plagiarism. It means copying all or a large chunk of your previous original work without citing it as a source in your new paper. In essence, it’s the same as verbatim plagiarism, even though you’re using your own work.

In instances where you copy your high-school homework for your college assignment, for example, you likely won’t get caught plagiarizing (which shouldn’t act as encouragement to do it!). However, if you copy a large part of your previous college assignment from a different course or already published work, you’ll face the consequences. After all, there’s no such thing as non-consequential plagiarism.

You might face some of the same penalties as when using direct plagiarism – failing grade, suspension, or even expulsion. The good news is that you won’t get a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Regardless of who your source is, you should always cite it in your new work to avoid plagiarism consequences.

Accidental Plagiarism — When You Had No Intention to Copy

Not everyone who plagiarizes does so on purpose. Sometimes accidents happen, and that’s when you get accidental plagiarism. Be careful with this one! Even though “accidental” is in its name, you won’t get a free pass for copying with it.

It usually refers to a mistake in the citation – you’ve mistakenly left out the quotation marks; you’ve paraphrased a passage from another’s piece of writing without realizing it; you’ve forgotten to include a source. Unfortunately, these things happen, but accident or not, you could still face repercussions.

Plagiarism checkers can detect copied work wherever it comes from. Your teachers and editors won’t know whether you’ve copied by accident or on purpose. All they’ll know is that your work is plagiarized, and they’ll mark you accordingly.

That’s why it’s so crucial to be extra careful during your research and writing phases. Keep track of all the sources you go through, double-check your citations, and pull your text through online checkers before submitting it. It will help save you a world of trouble.

Source-Based Plagiarism, or Failing to Give Credit

Last but not least, this type of copying can take many different shapes, but at the end of the day, it involves wrongly citing your sources.

Most students guilty of source-based copying tend to omit some of their sources. In cases where they pull information from several different texts, they cite only their primary data source. Sometimes, they just don’t cite correctly, naming a single author of a study when there were several of them.

Not giving credit to authors and sources is misleading and can be considered as theft of intellectual property, so omitting sources can get you in a lot of trouble.

However, the most severe type of source-based plagiarism is purposefully falsifying sources and making up facts and data. Including fabricated or non-existent sources is especially dangerous in medical and scientific research as it’s unethical and could cause harm to others.

To avoid source-based plagiarism, you need to be very careful with where you pull your information from and how you cite your sources. Ensure that you format your citations correctly and that all your data comes from trustworthy, reliable sources.

What types of plagiarism are the most difficult to avoid?

In most cases, paraphrasing and accidental plagiarism are the most difficult to avoid. Paraphrasing is common among students and authors who don’t understand that altering a few phrases isn’t enough to prevent copying. It usually occurs due to a mistake, misunderstanding, or negligence.

Ways To Prevent All Forms of Plagiarism Listed Above

Regardless of the intention and the exact type of copying other authors’ works, you’re unnecessarily exposing yourself to adverse outcomes. At best, you’ll receive a lower grade due to negligence; at worst, you’ll face expulsion and copyright lawsuits.

Use Online Plagiarism Checker to stay on the safe side and catch mistakes before submitting your paper. The checker will highlight all cases of copied text and help you fix fatal errors before it’s too late.

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