5 Common Types of Plagiarism

Introduction

There are many types of plagiarism, but the most common forms are direct plagiarism, paying for work, self-plagiarism, paraphrasing without a source, and copy-and-paste plagiarism.

What all types have in common

All types of plagiarism have one central thing in common: The act of taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. There’s a vast variety of ways that you can do this, but every way is dishonest and ethically wrong.

If you want to know more, be sure to refresh your memory of what plagiarism is.

1. Direct Plagiarism

Direct plagiarism is the most obvious form of plagiarism. This means taking someone else’s ideas or work and claiming it as your own without citation. Even if you delete or change a couple words here and there, if the majority of the structure and words are the same, this is direct plagiarism.

Direct plagiarism is one of the worst types of plagiarism. It often results in expulsion and, if it also violates copyright, possible criminal charges.

Example of direct plagiarism

Original (Operario, 2008)Student A
“Whereas some men mentioned keeping their sexuality concealed from friendship acquaintances or work colleagues, all participants consistently acknowledged experiences of stigma against homosexuality within traditional Asian Pacific Islander cultures and most adapted their self-expression to fit those parameters. As such, compartmentalization of homosexual identity in the family context was common. However, respondents did not view compartmentalizing their sexual identity from their ethnic identity to be ‘closeting’ themselves. They viewed the action as protecting family members from having to confront the taboo subject of sexuality.”Some men mentioned keeping their sexuality concealed from friendship acquaintances or work colleagues, but all participants consistently acknowledged experiences of stigma against homosexuality within traditional Asian Pacific Islander cultures. Most adapted their self-expression to fit those parameters. As such, compartmentalization of homosexual identity in the family context was common. However, respondents did not view compartmentalizing their sexual identity from their ethnic identity to be ‘closeting’ themselves. They viewed the action as protecting family members from having to confront the taboo subject of sexuality.

2. Paying for Someone Else’s Work 

This one is self-explanatory. If you pay someone to write an essay for you, it is plagiarism. The words submitted are not yours and are therefore plagiarized. This also includes having a friend or family member write your essay for you and handing it in with your name on it.

3. Self-Plagiarism

Self-plagiarism can be tricky and is frequently unintentional. There’s a couple different versions of self-plagiarism, the more serious version being turning in a paper you already handed in for a grade to another class. Because you have turned this paper in already, it is no longer new and original work.

It can also occur when you use ideas or phrases from your previous papers or assignments. Like with paraphrasing, using pieces of essays you have already completed is not inherently plagiarism. As long as you consult your professors to check whether doing so falls within your institution’s policies, citing previous papers you have written is not considered self-plagiarism.

For more information about the ethics of self-plagiarism, be sure to read read our article on self-plagiarism.

4. Paraphrasing Without a Source

Paraphrasing itself is not plagiarism so long as you properly cite your sources. However, paraphrasing becomes plagiarism when you read different sources, pull out some key points and then rewrite these points as if they were your own ideas.

If you do not cite your sources for all the non-original ideas referenced in your paper, then you are committing plagiarism.

Accidental plagiarism is frequently caused by paraphrasing without a source. It’s simple and easy to avoid. Just remember to properly cite your source.

Example of paraphrasing

Original (Operario, 2008)Incorrect (no citation)
“Whereas some men mentioned keeping their sexuality concealed from friendship acquaintances or work colleagues, all participants consistently acknowledged experiences of stigma against homosexuality within traditional Asian Pacific Islander cultures and most adapted their self-expression to fit those parameters. As such, compartmentalization of homosexual identity in the family context was common. However, respondents did not view compartmentalizing their sexual identity from their ethnic identity to be ‘closeting’ themselves. They viewed the action as protecting family members from having to confront the taboo subject of sexuality.”Some men said they concealed their sexuality from acquaintances or colleagues, but all the participants acknowledged experiencing some sort of stigma against homosexuality in their traditional cultures. Most said they adapted their self-expression to fit those parameters. So they compartmentalized their homosexual identity when around family. However, many participants did not view this as ‘closeting’ themselves; rather, they viewed it as a way of protecting family members from having to dealing with taboo subjects.
Original (Operario, 2008)Correct
“Whereas some men mentioned keeping their sexuality concealed from friendship acquaintances or work colleagues, all participants consistently acknowledged experiences of stigma against homosexuality within traditional Asian Pacific Islander cultures and most adapted their self-expression to fit those parameters. As such, compartmentalization of homosexual identity in the family context was common. However, respondents did not view compartmentalizing their sexual identity from their ethnic identity to be ‘closeting’ themselves. They viewed the action as protecting family members from having to confront the taboo subject of sexuality.”Some men said they concealed their sexuality from acquaintances or colleagues, but all the participants acknowledged experiencing some sort of stigma against homosexuality in their traditional cultures. Most said they “adapted their self-expression to fit those parameters.” (Operario, 2008) So they compartmentalized their homosexual identity when around family (Operario, 2008). However, many participants did not view this as ‘closeting’ themselves; rather, they viewed it as a way of “protecting family members from having to dealing with taboo subjects.” (Operario, 2008)

5. Copy-And-Paste Plagiarism

(Also known as Mosaic Plagiarism or Patchwork Plagiarism)

Copy-and-paste plagiarism is similar to paraphrasing with one very important difference: It is when you copy and paste different texts together to create a new text. This sometimes includes rewording pieces of sourced material while keeping the structure of the original texts.

This type of plagiarism requires a little more effort and is more insidious than simply paraphrasing a source. But it ultimately isn’t worth the effort since plagiarism scanners can easily detect this kind of plagiarism.

Example of Copy-And-Paste Plagiarism

OriginalStudent B
“Whereas some men mentioned keeping their sexuality concealed from friendship acquaintances or work colleagues, all participants consistently acknowledged experiences of stigma against homosexuality within traditional Asian Pacific Islander cultures and most adapted their self-expression to fit those parameters. As such, compartmentalization of homosexual identity in the family context was common. However, respondents did not view compartmentalizing their sexual identity from their ethnic identity to be ‘closeting’ themselves. They viewed the action as protecting family members from having to confront the taboo subject of sexuality.” (Operario, 2008)

“The second theme, unspoken issues with sexual orientation, was also pervasive throughout male and female focus groups. The majority of participants shared that they did not have the luxury of openly communicating about their sexual identity with their parents. There seemed to be a cultural nuance of silence among Filipinos; they do not create conflict among the family by talking about one’s sexual orientation and the experiences that coincide (i.e., dating or reactions to discrimination).” (Min Zhou & Ocampo, 2016)

Some men said they concealed their sexuality from acquaintances or colleagues, but all the participants acknowledged that spoken and unspoken issues with sexual orientation was pervasive in their traditional cultures. In response to this stigma, they adapted their self-expression to fit the situation they were in. As such, compartmentalization of homosexual identity in the family context was common. This was probably due to the fact that they did not have the luxury of openly communicating about their sexual identity with their parents. However, respondents did not view compartmentalizing their sexual identity from their ethnic identity to be ‘closeting’ themselves. They viewed the action as protecting family members from having to confront the taboo subject of sexuality.

Checking for Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. Most universities use plagiarism scanners that check for these issues. If your paper is found to have been plagiarized, it’s likely that you will receive a zero on the work and disciplinary action. But as long as you keep these common five types of plagiarism in mind, you will be able to avoid plagiarism.

Always check your university’s academic code of conduct if you’re unsure whether or not you’re plagiarizing. Or you could also use a plagiarism checker, like Scribbr’s Plagiarism Check, and easily prevent these common mistakes.

Check your paper for plagiarism

 

Sources used in the examples:
  • Operario, D., Han, C., & Choi, K. (2008). Dual Identity among Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 10(5), 447-461. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20461026
  • Min Zhou, & Ocampo, A. (Eds.). (2016). Contemporary Asian America (third edition): A Multidisciplinary Reader. NYU Press. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt18040wj
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Lorenza Shabe

Lorenza is an academic writing expert. She has a Master's in English Literature and Creative Writing and a background in Political Science. She works tirelessly on improving Scribbr's Knowledge Base content.

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