The Different Types of Plagiarism to be Aware Of

March 3, 2019

Plagiarism is an academic blunder that is considered to be a serious offense to any collegiate institution, and committing this type of error can result in very serious repercussions for a college student. There are a plethora of ways in which an individual can do something that constitutes plagiarism, but this article will pinpoint four in particular.

 

Photo: elen aivali on Unsplash  

 

Direct Plagiarism

Direct plagiarism occurs when a person uses someone else’s words/ideas without quotation marks to give credit to the person who initially made the statement or suggested the idea. The consequences for this infraction can be damaging, as it is perceived to be deceitful and lying in an academic context, and could be viewed as offensive enough for a student to be expelled from the school.

 

Do: use quotation marks and add a citation or footnote

 

“In life, a person gets only a few opportunities to showcase their talents. It is up to the him or her to make the most of those opportunities” (Source).

 

Don’t: omit quotation marks and the citation or footnote

 

In life, a person gets only a few opportunities to showcase their talents. It is up to him or her to make the most of those opportunities.

 

Self Plagiarism

This type of plagiarism occurs when a student hands in an assignment that contains, or combines, assorted pieces of writing from prior assignments without getting consent from all of the professors they handed said assignments in to. This can also be applicable to a student handing in the exact same paper to two different professors without receiving both professor’s permission beforehand.

 

Do: use different sentences or phrases between writing assignments

 

Writing assignment for class 1: This experiment was a success given the hypothesis of the scientist.

 

Writing assignment for class 2:  The scientist’s theory proved to be correct, and the experiment was a success.

 

Don’t: use the exact same sentences or phrases between writing assignments

 

Writing assignment for class 1: This experiment was a success given the hypothesis of the scientist.

 

Writing assignment for class 2: This experiment was a success given the hypothesis of the scientist.
 

Mosaic Plagiarism

This type of plagiarism occurs when a student takes a sentence fragment or syntax from another source without including the appropriate quotation marks or writes in a similar style that is exactly consistent with the writing model of the original author. This is considered plagiarism even if the student includes a citation or footnote within the document.

 

Do: use quotation marks whenever directly quoting a source

 

This idea proves that “aliens do exist and that Area 51 is not a myth” (Source).

 

Don’t: assume a citation or footnote removes the need for quotation marks

 

This idea proves that aliens do exist and that Area 51 is not a myth.


Accidental Plagiarism

This type of plagiarism occurs when a student takes the exact words of a source without the use of quotation marks, quotes a source incorrectly and/or uses a similar word choice to a source while utilizing that source’s original writing model without giving them credit for it.

 

Do: remember to account for any direct quotations

 

Source: John Smith traveled from Kansas to California to attend Disneyland.

 

Writer: “John Smith traveled from Kansas to California to attend DisneyLand.”

 

Don’t: omit credit if your sentence has the same structure as the source’s

 

Source: John Smith traveled from Kansas to California to attend DisneyLand.

 

Writer: John Smith traveled from Kansas City to California to attend DisneyLand.  

 

These four varieties of plagiarism are viewed in both the academic communities and journalistic communities as errors that students/writers should not be making. They can be avoided by the students/writers doing their due diligence to ensure that all of their sources are properly attributed and/or quoted for the professor/reader to see and verify. Academic institutions have created policies to hold students accountable for plagiarism, and journalism outlets carry consequences for journalists/reporters as well. Getting the proper education on plagiarism can be helpful, but it is up to those who write with sources to put in the effort to make sure that does not happen.

 

Michael Westwood is a 25 year old college graduate from Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Independent of being a contributor to Step Up, he is looking to pursue a career in professional writing of some type. His hobbies include watching professional wrestling (e.g. WWE and other promotions) and watching select TV sitcoms from today's television (e.g. Big Bang Theory, The Goldbergs) and classic programs as well (e.g. Seinfeld, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond). He also has an ongoing online forum designed to inform people about the autism spectrum called "Ask Mike," which is part of an autism awareness group called All 4 Autism, which is based in Florence, South Carolina.

 

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