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Types of Plagiarism

Anyone who has written or graded a paper knows that plagiarism is not always a black and white issue. The boundary between plagiarism and research is often unclear. Learning to recognize the various forms of plagiarism, especially the more ambiguous ones, is an important step towards effective prevention. Many people think of plagiarism as copying another person's work or borrowing their original ideas. Below are common ways a writer may be caught  plagiarizing, maybe without even realizing it.

Sources Not Cited 

  • "The Ghost Writer"
    The writer turns in another's work, word-for-word, as his or her own.
  • "The Photocopy"
    The writer copies significant portions of text straight from a single source, without alteration.
  • "The Potluck Paper"
    The writer tries to disguise plagiarism by copying from several different sources, tweaking the sentences to make them fit together while retaining most of the original phrasing.
  • "The Poor Disguise"
    Although the writer has retained the essential content of the source, he or she has altered the paper's appearance slightly by changing keywords and phrases.
  • "The Labor of Laziness"
    The writer takes the time to paraphrase most of the paper from other sources and make it all fit together, instead of spending the same effort on original work.
  • "The Self-Stealer"
    The writer "borrows" generously from his or her previous work, violating policies concerning the expectation of originality adopted by most academic institutions.

Sources Cited (But Still Plagiarized)

  • "The Forgotten Footnote"
    The writer mentions an author's name for a source, but neglects to include specific information on the location of the material referenced. This often masks other forms of plagiarism by obscuring source locations.
  • "The Misinformer"
    The writer provides inaccurate information regarding the sources, making it impossible to find them.
  • "The Too-Perfect Paraphrase"
    The writer properly cites a source, but neglects to put the text that has been copied word-for-word, or close to it in quotation marks. Although attributing the basic ideas to the source, the writer is falsely claiming original presentation and interpretation of the information.
  • "The Resourceful Citer"
    The writer properly cites all sources, paraphrasing and using quotations appropriately. The catch? The paper contains almost no original work! 
  • "The Perfect Crime"
    Well, we all know it doesn't exist. In this case, the writer properly quotes and cites sources in some places, but goes on to paraphrase other arguments from those sources without citation. This way, the writer tries to pass off the paraphrased material as his or her own analysis of the cited material.

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