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4 Common Types of Plagiarism in Research

by Robert Smith

Thanks to the internet, students and researchers have access to more resources than ever before. However, the easy availability of these resources, and the ease of using word processing tools, also makes it easy to commit various types of plagiarism. Plagiarism means copying the work of someone else as if it were your own. All types of plagiarism in research are a serious offense. Committing any type of plagiarism can ruin your career, even if it isn’t revealed until decades later.
But what counts as copying, and what are the types of plagiarism? While some forms of plagiarism are very obvious, there are other types of plagiarism that can be more difficult to identify. As a student, researcher, or academic, it is essential to be familiar with the different types of plagiarism in research so that you can avoid them. In this article, we will talk about four common types of plagiarism in research, and how you can make sure that your papers are free of all forms of plagiarism before you submit them.

Type 1: Direct Plagiarism

Direct plagiarism is the type of plagiarism most people envision when they hear the word “plagiarism.” Direct plagiarism means copying text straight from a source into your own paper without indicating in any way that the text is not your own. In other words, this type of plagiarism involves copying text from another source without using quotations, footnotes, or in-text citations. Usually, the person committing this type of plagiarism does not change a single word from the source text. However, even if a couple of words are changed, this still counts as direct plagiarism.

Direct plagiarism is the easiest type of plagiarism to detect, thanks to online plagiarism checker tools. Online plagiarism checker tools like this one from Enago compare your text to a vast database of hundreds of millions of articles, websites, books, and academic papers online to see if any of the text matches. These plagiarism checkers can detect all types of plagiarism in research, and are very helpful to anyone who wants to avoid committing any type of plagiarism in their writing. 

Direct plagiarism is also one of the easiest types of plagiarism to avoid. If you want to use the same text as a source article, you can simply add quotation marks to it and the appropriate citation information. Of course, there is a limit on how much text you can quote directly in a paper, but in general, as long as you add quotation marks and the author’s name, date, and publication information, you can avoid committing direct plagiarism.

Type 2: Self-Plagiarism

Self-plagiarism is exactly what it sounds like: plagiarizing your own work without giving due credit. If you copy a passage directly from other writing you have published or submitted to a class or publisher without acknowledging where the writing came from, you have committed self-plagiarism. Self-plagiarism also includes turning in the same assignment to multiple teachers or professors without first receiving approval to do so.

 Some people think the idea of self-plagiarism doesn’t make sense, and are surprised that recycling their own work is a type of plagiarism in research. Plagiarism is a form of theft, but how can you steal from yourself? The truth is, while you as the author own your content, if two different publishers publish identical work from the same author, it can cause problems with copyright. While your ideas are your own, authors who publish typically sell their written work to the publisher, making the actual writing the intellectual property of the publisher. 

While publishing isn’t generally a concern with school assignments, submitting the same work for multiple classes still counts as a type of plagiarism. If you want to use the same research or ideas for more than one class, there is no problem—as long as you properly attribute your work to yourself! This means following the rules of quoting and citations, just like you would for any other source. Following these rules will make sure you avoid committing this type of plagiarism.

Type 3: Accidental Plagiarism

It’s possible to commit any type of plagiarism in research without meaning to. Perhaps you copied someone else’s phrasing or idea and meant to later add the correct citation but forgot. Maybe you plagiarized yourself without meaning to. Or maybe you wrote the wrong source information for a quote or idea in your article. If you didn’t mean to, does it still count as a type of plagiarism?

The answer is yes. As the saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse! Even if you did not intend to commit any type of plagiarism, you can still be accused of plagiarism and suffer the consequences. The risk of accidental plagiarism is another great reason to always use an online plagiarism checker before you submit any work for class or publication. Online plagiarism checkers can check for all types of plagiarism in research, which makes them an invaluable tool. 

Type 4: Mosaic Plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism is a type of plagiarism that takes ideas or phrases from several different sources and mixes them together without proper citation or attribution. In this way, the ideas are combined to make a “mosaic,” or patchwork. The writer might change a couple of words in the original sentences, but the overall content remains the same. Mosaic plagiarism can also occur when a writer paraphrases some ideas from the work of others and combines them. This type of plagiarism in research can be avoided by learning how to paraphrase ideas properly, and by always erring on the side of citing your sources. 

How Can I Avoid Committing Any Type of Plagiarism in Research?

There are several ways to avoid committing these types of plagiarism in research. The first way is to make sure that you are familiar with the different types of plagiarism in research described above, so that you can recognize plagiarism when you see it. The second way is to use an online plagiarism checker. Online plagiarism checkers allow you to submit your paper, and they use AI to compare your paper to millions of sources online. These online plagiarism checkers can identify all different types of plagiarism, including direct and mosaic, and highlight the plagiarized passages. The Enago plagiarism checker mentioned above is favored by academics because its database includes scholarly articles. It also checks your document for grammar and sentence errors. Using the Enago plagiarism checker can help you ensure that your article or paper is free of all types of plagiarism before submission to an academic journal or professor.

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