Plagiarism is the act of taking the work of another person and passing it off as your own without acknowledging that you used someone else’s work. This can be particularly difficult to do in academic papers because there are so many references that you might not have noticed where the author got their information from in the first place. Here are six types of plagiarism you need to know about, along with tips on how to avoid them in your own writing.
1) Plagiarism on Purpose
Many students, especially at colleges and universities, decide to plagiarize their papers or research in an attempt to skip part of a writing assignment or to pad out a grade. It’s easy to go online and copy-and-paste text from other sites, but doing so will almost always result in getting caught—and receiving consequences. Before you commit plagiarism on purpose, think about how it’ll affect your future plans. Will it hurt your chances for graduate school? Will it make you unemployable? If you’re still not convinced that plagiarizing is wrong, consider that if everyone did it, there would be no need for degrees or diplomas; everyone would have them! In fact, if all things were equal, why even attend college at all? Your efforts would be better spent learning on your own with self-guided courses like Udemy or taking individual classes through local colleges. With these resources available to us all now, copying work isn’t worth any potential gains. Don’t plagiarize on purpose: Not only does it waste time and money, but it also wastes human potential—something that should never happen.
2) Copy And Paste From the Internet
This is the most common and obvious form of plagiarism. When you copy and paste, or cut-and-paste an entire paragraph or section from a source without citing it properly, you’re committing plagiarism. Don’t do it! If you don’t have time to cite all your sources in-text, use footnotes/endnotes (or Works Cited page) instead. If your instructor requires that you include parenthetical citations within your paper (in addition to endnotes), put them in when they apply—don’t just add them willy-nilly because that looks pretty. And if you quote someone directly, make sure to attribute their words. Most importantly: be honest with yourself about what constitutes plagiarism. It can get confusing out there… so think carefully before posting anything online or handing in any work for evaluation.
3) Chop & Change From Others' WritingChop & change from others' writing is when you take whole sentences or paragraphs from one source and rearrange them in your paper to make it appear as if you have written something original. Often known as paraphrasing, it is an easy way to mask plagiarized writing without actually having to rewrite any part of your paper. To spot plagiarized chop & change pieces of writing look for large chunks of words in roughly the same order as another source. The best way to avoid being caught out by chop & change plagiarism is to avoid using too many quotes and use a range of sources. When you use a lot of quotes from one source, it's easier for someone else to find that source and compare it with yours - especially if they're searching online. If you use a range of sources then not only will it be harder for someone else to find those sources but also there will be less overlap between what you've taken from each individual source.
4) Taking (Usually Partial) Credit for Someone Else's Article/Work
Self-plagiarism is considered to be a lesser form of plagiarism; you didn't completely make up an idea or work that belongs to someone else, but you took credit for it. This can include using a different source (changing just a few words) and passing it off as your own or republishing your previous works without citing them properly. While self-plagiarism isn't as egregious as complete plagiarism, it's still unethical and frowned upon by many employers. It also doesn’t help that there’s software out there specifically designed to detect self-plagiarized content. Some of these programs even alert publishers when they find potential instances of self-plagiarism in their writers' pieces so they can remove them before publishing.