During your studies, it is important to understand the various types of plagiarism. Breaking these regulations could lead to failing your assignment, or even being expelled from your school! Therefore, it is important to avoid plagiarism.
Plagiarism refers to the act of using somebody else’s work and/or ideas and using them as your own. However, there are various ways in which this can be done. In a worst-case scenario, a plagiarist will simply copy somebody else’s work, word for word, and not reference it.
The Different Types of Plagiarism
The first type of plagiarism to be aware of is:
1. The direct use of somebody else’s work and not using any references or quotation marks.
Plagiarism does not have to done on purpose for a student to get into trouble. Plagiarism can also happen accidentally.
For example, if you correctly reference a quotation, but fail to copy the quotation accurately, then this would be a case of accidental plagiarism. If you were to paraphrase an author, but do not accurately represent their original ideas, then this too would be a good example of accidental plagiarism. So, the second type of plagiarism to be aware of is:
2. The accidental use of another person’s words or ideas, without properly citing them.
Although it might seem hard to believe, it is also possible to actually plagiarise your own work! But wait a minute– isn’t plagiarism the act of using somebody else’s work or ideas? Well yes, but that ‘somebody else’ can also, ironically, be yourself!
If you use work from a previous assignment, you would most probably end up committing plagiarism. In the digital age, many academic institutions might keep digital copies of your work, and so, such plagiarism can now be more easily detected via plagiarism softwares, like Viper.
What you can do to guard against this type of plagiarism the following:
(1) pieces of work must be written from scratch, and don’t get tempted to rehash previous ideas,
(2) don’t refer to your previous work,
(3) don’t rewrite ideas or sections from previous essays, and
(4) if you feel like you have written something before, then try to locate the source in your previous work.
With these said, the third type of plagiarism to be aware of is:
3. Re-using your own ideas from previous essays.
Another form of plagiarism to be aware of is that of using other students’ work or ideas, and passing it off as your own.
It is important to be aware of any ideas that you have got from other students either by reading their work or by simply talking to them. Even if a friend share one of their essays with you, make sure not to paraphrase this.
The ideas contained within a paper, should never be directly quoted in academic work. As such, although looking at other student past papers can be useful as a learning tool one has to be careful when doing this.
So, the fourth type of plagiarism to be wary of is:
4. Using work from other students and using them as your own.
One less common form of plagiarism is the use of text that is written in a foreign language, translating the text and passing this work off as your own. This kind of plagiarism might be more difficult to detect, it is not impossible.
You might get tempted, so it is always better to do your own work, and to not steal from the work of others. If you speak more than one language, it would be unwise to use texts in a foreign language and use for your own essay. If a referred text is written in a foreign language, a full citation and reference must be provided.
As such, the fifth type of plagiarism to be aware of is:
5. Not providing a citation or reference when using texts written in a foreign language.
Another type of plagiarism is ‘patch writing’. This involves the use of quotations without them really being relevant.
Patch writing uses multiple sources, and effectively puts them all together. This represents a lazy way of writing an essay. The key point, is that no original ideas are used. You should also make sure that other work is not critiqued or discussed at any great length. This is a mistake that unseasoned essay writers often make. It is important to try and limit the number of quotations used in a piece of work.
You should also certainly not have more than 20% of an essay made up of direct quotations. Doing this will make sure that you will have an adequate amount of original ideas and critical analysis.
So, the sixth type of plagiarism that you should be thinking about is:
6. Relying on direct quotations, and using these quotations without analysing them and linking them together properly.
There is often an issue with students failing to provide a reference. This is something of a grey area, and is an issue that many students do not understand. This does not mean that such unintentional plagiarism will not be punished, so it is important to be fully aware of this kind of plagiarism.
Reading a text, and then not discussing some of the ideas in it without properly citing and referencing the work, then this can be viewed as plagiarism. Although we have already touched on this in the second type of plagiarism (accidental plagiarism), it is important to go still over this specific type of accidental plagiarism.
The key thing to remember here then is, if in doubt, add a reference! However, it is important to accurately represent the ideas of the author of the work you are referring to, as this could also be considered to be plagiarism.
There is a delicate balance to achieve here, which is to make sure that every idea that you use is fully referenced. You will have to provide a citation mid-sentence, to correctly cite a copied idea, before moving on to an original thought. As such, the seventh type of plagiarism in our list is:
7. The use of ideas from other sources without citing and referencing them properly.
There are several other types of plagiarism that also need mentioning. Another type is that of citing a source that doesn’t exist or incorrectly citing a text. Plagiarism can be accidental or deliberate. Carrying out plagiarism could result in the failure of an assignment, or expulsion from a course . Therefore, be careful what you are writing, and how you cite it, or else you may find yourself in trouble.
To summarise, there are a number of different types of plagiarism that one must be aware of:
- 1. The direct use of somebody else’s work and not using any references or quotation marks.
- The accidental use of another person’s words or ideas, without properly citing them.
- Re-using your own ideas from previous essays.
- Using work from other students and using them as your own.
- Not providing a citation or reference when using texts written in a foreign language.
- Relying on direct quotations, and using these quotations without analysing them and linking them together properly.
- The use of ideas from other sources without citing and referencing them properly.
If you’re not sure, keep a list of these different types of plagiarism, and keep the list on your desk as you work. If you’re not sure about anything, simply check the list, and make sure that you’re not breaking any rules. This will help you be sure be sure that you have not broken any of your academic institution’s rules and regulations on plagiarism.
Where plagiarism is concerned, knowing the rules is half the battle. If you can become familiar with these types of plagiarism, then this will help you in your future academic work, and perhaps even in your career.