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Academic Integrity & Plagiarism Research Guide

This guide Will help You understand the vocabulary used when talking about plagiriarism, the six main types of plagiarism and how to properly cite your sources.

Understanding Types of Plagiarism


Picture Credit JeShoots from Unsplash

You May Not Even Realize That You Are Plagiarizing

‚ÄčEven if you don't mean to  you might plagiarize without even realizing what you are doing is wrong. Below you will find six different types of plagiarism. Many times just understanding what different types of plagiarism are is all it takes to keep you on the scholarly path to success!

Types of Plagiarism

Direct Plagiarism

Copying Someone elses work word for word

This is the most common type of plagiarism and the one that usually comes to mind first when we think of plagiarized work. 


Below is a 30 second video with another explanation of Direct Plagiarism from the MacPherson Institute at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada

Self Plagiarism

Reusing Your Own Work As If It Was the First Time

That's right, you can plagiarize yourself! Every piece of scholarly work that you do is supposed to be completely original. If you choose to use work that you have created previously you need to get the express permission from your instructor and cite your work so they know where your old thoughts are and where your original work begins. 

Below is a 1 minute 55 second video from Penn State University that goes into a little bit more detail as to the thought process that can get you caught self plagiarizing even if you didn't realize you were about to do just that. Take a look.

Mosaic Plagiarism (aka Patchwriting)

Replacing phrases without attribution or changing synonyms of someone else’s work without attribution

Sometimes this is called "bad paraphrasing".  When you paraphrase you can't just take someone's work and rewrite some words here and there, you need to recreate the concept in your words, making it fit the voice of your paper and using it to help make your point. 

Below is another video from our friends at McMaser University in Ontario, Canada. Not only will it help you understand what Mosaic Plagiarism is but also how you can avoid it by using a combination of quotation marks and paraphrasing. 

Accidental Plagiarism 

When Someone Forgets to Attribute, Misquotes a Source or Unintentionally Paraphrases Without Citing the Source

Learning how to cite your work and take accurate notes is an important part of the writing process. Accidentally plagiarizing is just as serious as doing it with intent. In short, you are responsible for every word you put in your paper and you need to keep careful track of all of your research. 

Below is short video from Colonial Williamsburg's Center for Teaching, Learning and Leadership that goes into more detail. 

Global Plagiarism 

Copying an Entire Work and Calling it Your Own

For Example: If you needed to give a speech and you found a perfect one online so you simply used it, word for word and gave no attribution you would be committing global plagiarism. 

Below is a one minute video from students in Pocatello, Idaho about a misguided student and global plagiarism. 

Deceptive Plagiarism 

Citing Non-Existent Sources

This is also called "source based plagiarism" as it involves creating a source for a quote or paraphrased section of a paper the does not exist. 

Have you ever heard of "fake news"? We bet you have. When people create fake sources and try and pass them off as legitimate this is another form of deceptive plagiarism. We have a short video on how to spot fake news below, brought to us by (a website we, the  librarians, know and trust). 

Learn From Experience

Below is a 1 minute video from Abigail. She is very honest about her plagiarism experience and what she learned from it. 

Test Your Knowledge

The good folks at Lycoming College in Pennsylvania created this great plagiarism game called "Goblin Threat" to test your knowledge of plagirism scenarios. Hop in for a bit and see if you can spot all the ways that we can plagiarize whether intentionally or otherwise: