All types of plagiarism including examples

All types of plagiarism can roughly be divided into three categories:

  1. Using someone else’s ideas without attribution
  2. Using someone else’s words without attribution
  3. Citing the source incorrectly

All forms of plagiarism have one thing in common: the author does not correctly cite the original source and thereby passes off the work as their own.

Paraphrasing without attribution

Paraphrasing is the act of rephrasing a text in your own words. Paraphrasing is the most common type of plagiarism.

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

Additionally, if you translate text from a source, then you also need to follow the rules for paraphrasing. A translation without a source is still plagiarism, as you’re using someone else’s ideas.

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)

Mosaic or patchwork plagiarism

Patchwork plagiarism or mosaic plagiarism is similar to paraphrasing. It is when you copy and paste together pieces of different texts to create a new text. This 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 incorrectly paraphrasing a source, but plagiarism checkers like Turnitin can still easily detect this kind of plagiarism.

Example of patchwork plagiarism

Patchwork plagiarism detected by Turnitin

Direct plagiarism (Copy & Paste)

You commit direct plagiarism when you directly copy text from a source and paste it in your own document without properly citing the information.

If the majority of the structure and words are the same, then it is direct plagiarism, even if you delete or change a couple words here and there.

If you want to use the exact same words from a source, you need to quote the original source by putting the copied text in quotation marks and including an in-text citation.

Example of direct plagiarism

Direct plagiarism detected by Turnitin

Citing incorrectly

The first step in avoiding plagiarism is citing your sources. However, a citation is not enough; you need to correctly cite all your sources. You can either paraphrase (rephrase a text), quote or summarize the original source.

Make sure to follow the guidelines of your citation style, such as APA style or Chicago. If you’re not sure which citation style to use, you can read our quick guide to citation styles.

Example of a correct citation (APA Style)
Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) concluded that attitude can best be described as a learned manner of reacting positively or negatively regarding a certain behavior.

Submitting someone else’s work

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

Plagiarizing yourself (self-plagiarism)

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

Self-plagiarism 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, read our article on self-plagiarism.

Citing a non-existent source

You’re searching for a source to back up a statement in your paper but are unable to find it. The last thing you should do is make up a non-existent source or include inaccurate information about a source. These are also forms of plagiarism.

By doing so, you mislead readers of your paper by pretending that a theory or statement is supported by a source.

Avoid all types of plagiarism

If you’re unsure whether your paper contains plagiarism or not, you can perform a plagiarism check yourself. However, be aware of which plagiarism checker you use. Some find more plagiarism than others and not all of them are safe to use.

The Scribbr Plagiarism Checker Powered by Turnitin is the best plagiarism checker for students because it’s safe and detects the most plagiarism out of all plagiarism checkers.

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
Is this article helpful?
Raimo

Raimo has a bachelor's and master's degree and has written several papers and theses. He likes to share his knowledge by writing helpful articles.

4 comments

Musharraf Imam
October 1, 2018 at 4:49 AM

A smart crispy document

Reply

Wensley Mutinhima
October 17, 2018 at 2:30 PM

This document was helpful

Reply

Arjan van Laak
Arjan van Laak (Scribbr-team)
October 17, 2018 at 3:06 PM

Hi,

That's good to hear, thanks!
If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Cheers,
Arjan

Reply

Amon Mutangi
June 8, 2018 at 7:55 PM

Well detailed

Reply

Comment or ask a question.