The Different Forms of Plagiarism

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Plagiarism is both consciously and unconsciously copying someone’s work and claiming the copy as your own without due citation. It is considered a form of dishonesty and raises the issue of intellectual property rights. In academic communities, committing plagiarism is a serious offense that can suspend—and even expel—the offender. This act should not be done to avoid being questioned of one’s intellectual integrity.

The Common Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is not just one big act of owning someone else’s work without due acknowledgment. It comes in different forms, depending as well on the researcher’s awareness of committing the act. Some very common examples of plagiarism are as follows:

  • Direct plagiarism is the verbatim copying of any part of your source material to your own research paper, without including quotation marks, in-text citations, and a bibliography.
  • Self-plagiarism is using your own previous work, or a combination of the words you used in your previous works, and passing it to your instructor as a new submission, without the knowledge of all instructors involved in your previous and current submissions. This means that if you plan to submit a single work to at least two different classes, make sure that you have consent from all your teachers in these classes to do so.
  • Mosaic plagiarism is also called “patch writing.” This means that the author attempts to paraphrase a source into his/her own paper but maintains the original syntax or sentence structure. Quotes are borrowed here and there without quotations marks, plus some words are only replaced with synonyms.
  • Accidental plagiarism, as the name suggests, is done unintentionally. While there is an attempt to paraphrase, summarize, and quote, in-text citation and bibliography are still mainly forgotten usually due to carelessness.

The APA Citation Guide

The APA, or the American Association of Psychologists, is the citation guide most commonly used in disciplines under the social sciences such as Anthropology, Archaeology, History, and Sociology. The title given to the bibliography page using the APA style is “References.” 

There are other examples of citation guides such as the Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA (Modern Language Association), and the Turabian. But for the purposes of this lesson, we will focus on the APA.

Basic format for books

Murray, D. M. (2005). Write to Learn. 8th Edition. Boston, Massachusetts: Thomson Wadsworth

Article in a magazine

Bremmer, I. (2015, June 1). What Does America Stand For? Time, 16-21.

Article in a Newspaper

Calica, A. (2015, June 7). Noy willing to study Cha-cha proposal. The Philippine Star, pp. A-1, A-10.

Article from an online periodical

Weisman, J. (2015, June 12). Obama’s Trade Bills Face Tough Battle Against House Democrats. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes. com/2015/06/13/us/politics/obamas-trade-bills-face-tough-battle-against-house-democrats.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nay.top-news& _r=0

Check out Purdue OWL’s website for more APA formatting styles.

Paraphrasing, Summarizing, and Quoting

Paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting are three useful techniques to avoid committing the act of plagiarism. While you are still borrowing ideas from other sources, by using these three, you are acknowledging that these pieces of information are not yours but merely used as support to your claims in your research paper. 

Paraphrasing is taking one whole paragraph into consideration and rewriting all of it using your own words. What you can do is to read the source paragraph at least twice. Keep it away from you as you rewrite the same paragraph based on what you can remember. If what you wrote seems to have bouts of plagiarism still, make sure that the nouns are not merely replaced by synonyms. Also, see to it that the length of the entire paragraph is almost—if not—the same as the original.

While paraphrasing entails rewriting an entire paragraph, summarizing, on the other hand, only calls for the gist of your resource material. A summary is a great shorter than the original body of text you are trying to cite. Again, read your resource material at least twice. Keep it away from you when summarizing. A typical student-written paragraph has six sentences. Turning it into a summary would leave you with one to two sentences. 

Last is quoting. It is the acknowledgment of any idea taken from another source by placing selected passages inside quotation marks [“…”], and to provide a bibliographic entry at the end of the paper for every quote used in your text. 

In conclusion, paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting are three techniques a researcher can use to properly acknowledge his/her sources and to avoid being accused of plagiarism. By using any or all of these three, not only are you holding other experts in high esteem, but also adding credibility to yourself as you are humble enough to pay due respect to those people who have already established acceptable topics you are working on in your research.

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