Types of Plagiarism in Research Writing

Plagiarism stems from the Greek word ‘Plagion’ which literally means, to kidnap. Plagiarism in simple words is a bad academic practice which consists of stealing someone else’s ideas, research and literary work for one’s own interest. This is considered as an act of Academic dishonesty. Universities today are absolutely against this malpractice and try their best to avoid it under all circumstances.

​1. Direct Plagiarism: Direct Plagiarism consists of the exact replication of a section of someone else’s work, word by word without providing any reference or without using quotes for the text.
This act is unethical and can amount to even disciplinary action. 

For instance: 

A student writer writes: Long ago, when there was no written history, these islands were the home of millions of happy birds; the resort of a hundred times more millions of fishes, sea lions, and other creatures.

Source Text: In ages which have no record these islands were the home of millions of happy birds, the resort of a hundred times more millions of fishes, of sea lions, and other creatures 

We see that the text in bold is actually a word to word transcription of the original text. This is a clear case of Direct Plagiarism.

2. Self-Plagiarism: Self Plagiarism is also very common among students. It occurs when a student submits his or her own previously submitted research work, or uses extracts, ideas or excerpts from it without seeking the consent of all professors involved. It might sound absurd but the relevance of this being considered as a malpractice is so that a student researcher considers himself or herself just like any other researcher. There must be no differential treatment.

3. Mosaic Plagiarism: This kind of plagiarism takes place when a student writer does not copy another writer’s work word by word, but picks up the core idea, maintains the sentence formation and uses synonyms or similar meaning phrases to rewrite the excerpt. This is also considered an academic bad practice even if citation is done in footnotes. This kind of Plagiarism is also called Patch Writing at times and is a kind of paraphrasing.

For instance:
Student Writer: Only two years later, all these friendly Sioux were suddenly plunged into new conditions, including starvation, martial law on all their reservations.

Original Text: Contrast the condition into which all these friendly Indians are suddenly plunged now, with their condition only two years previous: martial law now in force on all their reservations; themselves in danger of starvation

We observe that the essence of both these paragraphs remains the same, even though the language has been altered. This implies Mosaic Plagiarism.

4. Accidental Plagiarism: Accidental Plagiarism is when a student forgets or neglects to cite concerned sources in his paper or paraphrases an excerpt without adding a reference. It can also happen if the referencing added is jumbled and unorderly that makes the source document undiscoverable. This kind of plagiarism is also frowned upon and even lack of intent does not guarantee safety from consequences.

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