Kinds of Plagiarism- Understand Different Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is often confused with research because sometimes it is hard to get a clear distinction between the two terms. It is also common to find researchers diverting from the main point of study and jump into real plagiarism with knowledge or unconsciously. Some forms of plagiarism can be accidental and confusing. Therefore it is very vital to not only find the distinction between research and plagiarism but also know the many steps taken to prevent any forms of it.

There are numerous types of plagiarism and regardless of the type, all of them are considered serious violations and academic dishonesty. Below is a definition of the most common types of plagiarism, and they include;

  • Self Plagiarism.
  • Direct Plagiarism.
  • Mosaic Plagiarism.
  • Accidental Plagiarism.


Self-plagiarism happens when a researcher uses his previous work as a submission or maybe developed a new work with fresh ideas but mixes it with some part of his previous developments. Self-plagiarism happens without the permission of your professors. For instance, a student should not incorporate parts of his term paper submitted in high school for an assignment in college.

Direct plagiarism

This kind of intellectual theft occurs from a word to word transcription of sections of other people’s works without their consent or failure to use quotation marks. Direct plagiarism is considered a deliberate theft of another person’s work and this is academic dishonesty, unethical and is punishable by the institution and the law.

Plagiarism by accident

This kind happens when the composer of a material decides to neglect to give credit to the author of the sources used. This kind also happens when one decides to paraphrase a document unintentionally or misquote sources or even use a couple of sentences without giving credit to the author. To avoid this form of plagiarism, students must be taken through the aspect of learning how to cite sources and being accurate and careful when engaging in research.

Lack of knowledge on how to cite leads to accidental plagiarism. However, the students are responsible for making sure his work is not plagiarized. Accidental plagiarism is a case taken seriously like others and is punishable with the similar range of consequences.

Mosaic plagiarism

This kind happens any time a learner borrows certain phrases from another author and fails to use quotation marks. This instance of plagiarism also happens when a student decides to find synonyms of author’s language but retaining the general idea of the original document. This kind of intellectual theft is also known as ‘patch writing’ because it involves paraphrasing certain parts. Regardless of whether this kind is done intentionally or not, it is unethical and punishable with the same strength of consequences.

Not mentioning any references

  1. This happens when a ghostwriter submits another person’s work by complete copying and not modifying it to own it.
  2. The Potluck paper- this is a paper where a wide range of sources are used and sentences from an original document are also used but changed for personal interests.
  3. The labor of laziness. This happens when an individual exerts all his efforts in paraphrasing an original paper but plagiarizes in the event of putting ideas into paper.
  4. Exact copy. This is a photocopied paper where a researcher uses relevant words and points from an original text without changing it.
  5. Poor disguise. This kind of theft is similar to paraphrasing where a researcher uses certain altered words but retains the main ideas used by previous authors unintentionally.

Mentioning references but still have the final material plagiarized

  1. Having a too perfect paraphrase. Here an author fails to make use of quotation marks even when using direct statements. Having a too perfect paraphrase could lead to plagiarism even when sources are used.
  2. Forgetting footnote. Yes, a researcher can incorporate an in-text citation but neglects to do a reference section that leads his readers directly to the source. In this case, plagiarism still takes place because the writer still communicates that he owns those ideas by failing to create a reference section for them.
  3. The resourceful cite. Here, the researcher uses proper citations but the plagiarism occurs when almost everything written in your paper is another person’s concept. This paper then seems to appear as not so original because of using other person’s concepts.
  4. The perfect crime. This researcher improves on another person’s arguments but they seem copied. Here plagiarism occurs building on ideas that are not yours using changed words from the original paper.

There are many kinds of plagiarism as documented above. But it is still possible to write a paper that is free from plagiarism. The internet has been blamed for making information easily accessible and available to all but technology policymakers have found a way in which the internet can again be used to stop plagiarism.

Currently, there are online plagiarism checkers that help students find the slightest of plagiarism cases. As long as you have used accurate citations and in text acknowledgment, you can be sure of not being found guilty of such an academic offense.