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Plagiarism - What is it and How to Avoid it 11th grade

Directions: Please choose a type of plagiarism and provide an example of when this can happen.


Plagiarism is a word everyone has heard of, yet many would define differently. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary describes it as "an act of using another person's words or ideas without giving credit to that person." The keywords there are "without giving credit." Picture taking someone else's essay and simply sticking a label over their name with yours on it. That's essentially what a person is trying to do when they plagiarize.

Plagiarism is actually illegal. Not only that, but did you know there are different kinds of plagiarism? Let that be a reality check for you! Something must be serious and occurring frequently for people to need to put it into categories.

If you are truly trying to avoid committing plagiarism crime, then play it safe and give credit where credit is due. Whether you're using a direct quote, paraphrasing some words, or discussing the general idea of a specific article...cite!

Plagiarism Definition: Which Types You Should Know

Depending on where you search, you might find different names for the various kinds of plagiarism. Some sites list four categories, while some list five. Honestly, the point shouldn't be what they're called, but what they entail and how to avoid them. Examples are included to make things as clear as possible, because this has become a serious, widespread problem that needs to stop. According to Bowdoin College, the categories are as follows:

Direct Plagiarism

"A word-for-word" copy. This is the most obvious form to detect, since it's an exact match to the original piece of work. In this instance the plagiarizer doesn't even try to cover up his/her crime. It can be nicknamed as The Lazy Plagiarizer.

Let's say you found some inspirational words online that you want to include in your essay for class. If you write, "Do not give up, the beginning is always the hardest" without saying that you found it on The Zoen Blog, then you have directly plagiarized.

Self Plagiarism

Yes, you can actually plagiarize yourself, as silly as it sounds. If you have submitted work to someone, whether it was your high school English teacher or your college economics professor, you cannot use that work again, unless that person you submitted it to gives you permission. This also includes handing the same assignment or writing in to two people simultaneously.

Think of it like you're selling the rights to you work. If you hire someone to write an article about giraffes, but then that person turns around and sells that same article to someone else after you've paid for it, that's a problem. Maybe, in this scenario, you run a magazine, so someone's article was officially published and printed, making it even more of a problem. The point is, once it's been submitted, you no longer own it.

Mosaic Plagiarism

This one is one of the most common among students. It can encompass a few different methods, but it's basically "patch writing." One way this pops up is when someone borrows phrases, as opposed to complete sentences, but doesn't cite anything. Some people seem to think that if it's only a few words or not an entire sentence, then it's not plagiarizing. It is.

The other way mosaic plagiarism exists is when certain words are substituted with synonyms, but otherwise the sentence never changed. For instance, someone might scan a sentence, find the keywords, replace those keywords with similar words, and then call it a day. It can be nicknamed as The 'Do You Think Your Teacher Was Born Yesterday?' Plagiarizer. It's a lengthy nickname, but it works. For example, check the Indiana University website.

When you compare the excerpts, the similarities are glaringly obvious. This isn't turning some information into your own thinking. This is plagiarizing. Now, telling you what's wrong doesn't help you learn what's right. Using this same passage, Indiana University provides two acceptable ways as guidelines.

NOTE: Just because things are worded into this person's own thoughts, doesn't mean they didn't have to cite or quote! You'll notice in the top example, they cited the work to show that information was taken from a source. In the bottom example they still do that, but also put quotes around the part that is not paraphrased, but directly quoted. Writing either of these two versions without citing or quoting is still considered plagiarism.

Accidental Plagiarism

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but still considered serious. Perhaps you meant to cite something, but honestly forgot. Perhaps you thought you interpreted an article and discussed things in your own words, but didn't realize it wasn't original enough. The problem is, it's still plagiarism and the people receiving your work have no way of knowing if you're telling the truth about it being an accident. Even if they believe you, a review will most likely be conducted due to the seriousness of plagiarism. When you're in doubt, cite.

Summary: What to do after you've learnt about different types of plagiarism

You now know what plagiarism is and what the different types are.


  • Remember it.
  • Learn it.
  • Study it.
  • Breathe it.


DIRECTIONS: Please choose two ways to avoid plagiarism below and explain how they are different from each other.

6 Ways to Avoid Plagiarism

  1. Paraphrase - So you have found information that is perfect for your research paper. Read it and put it into your own words. Make sure that you do not copy verbatim more than two words in a row from the text you have found. If you do use more than two words together, you will have to use quotation marks. We will get into quoting properly soon.
  2. Cite - Citing is one of the effective ways to avoid plagiarism. Follow the document formatting guidelines (i.e. APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) used by your educational institution or the institution that issued the research request. This usually entails the addition of the author(s) and the date of the publication or similar information. Citing is really that simple. Not citing properly can constitute plagiarism.
  3. Quoting - When quoting a source, use the quote exactly the way it appears. No one wants to be misquoted. Most institutions of higher learning frown on “block quotes” or quotes of 40 words or more. A scholar should be able to effectively paraphrase most material. This process takes time, but the effort pays off! Quoting must be done correctly to avoid plagiarism allegations.
  4. Citing Quotes - Citing a quote can be different than citing paraphrased material. This practice usually involves the addition of a page number, or a paragraph number in the case of web content.
  5. Citing Your Own Material - If some of the material you are using for your research paper was used by you in your current class, a previous one, or anywhere else you must cite yourself. Treat the text the same as you would if someone else wrote it. It may sound odd, but using material you have used before is called self-plagiarism, and it is not acceptable.
  6. Referencing - One of the most important ways to avoid plagiarism is including a reference page or page of works cited at the end of your research paper. Again, this page must meet the document formatting guidelines used by your educational institution. This information is very specific and includes the author(s), date of publication, title, and source. Follow the directions for this page carefully. You will want to get the references right.

Detecting plagiarism can be automatized. For students’ convenience a number of online tools was developed. Now it’s possible to spot duplications in no time.

Works Cited:

"Types of Plagiarism You Should Be Aware of." Types of Plagiarism: What Are They and How to

Avoid Them., n.d. Web. 22 Aug. 2016

"Ways to Avoid Plagiarism." Plagiarism Checker., n.d. Web. 22 Aug. 2016.

DMU Timestamp: August 24, 2016 00:30

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