What Are the Six Different Types of Plagiarism?

In today’s competitive world, many students feel pressured to attain the highest of academic achievements. Unfortunately, some students try to reach their goal through plagiarism, stealing work from other sources and failing to give credit where it is due. While many types of plagiarism exist, most can be broken down into six main categories, including verbatim copying of other people’s work and attempting to misinform the reader with false sources.

  • Fraud or replication is one type of plagiarism where a student takes large passages from an article–or in some cases, entire pieces–and passes it off as his own work. In this method, a student may use a simple Internet search to find a paper similar to his topic, copy and paste the work into a word document, print it out and turn it in. This type of plagiarism also is called the “ghost writer” or “photocopy.”
  • Camouflage
  • Some students are willing to make minor tweaks to other works in order to disguise the paper’s true origin. This type of plagiarism is known as camouflage. The meaning of the sentence remains the same, yet the occasional word is swapped out or the order of listed items is altered. Camouflaging one’s work also is called “the poor disguise.”
  • Lethargy/Self-Stealer
  • Another type of plagiarism, called lethargy, involves students looking for shortcuts when writing a research paper. The student may lazily paraphrase an entire paper using multiple sources. The chunks of paraphrased content are pieced together to form a full work.

    In a similar type of plagiarism, a student may use a paper she already wrote and take significant portions for the new assignment. Both examples constitute plagiarism, as the student is not using her original work.

  • Forgotten Footnote
  • Some types of plagiarism are slightly more deceptive. The “forgotten footnote” method involves students providing a list of sources but failing to mention what information was garnered from the source. For example, a key piece of information will not be accompanied by a footnote, as the student tries to hide its origin.
  • Misinformation
  • In the “misinformation” type of plagiarism, a student will flat-out lie when listing sources. The listing will contain false information or completely fabricated sources. The hope is that by misinforming the teacher or reader of the article regarding the sources, the student can hide where he found the information.
  • Overused Citations
  • Some papers may contain citations for all information included, making it seem like a well-written work. Unfortunately, overuse of citations and sources simply results in a paper that includes no original thoughts. Also known as “resourceful” or “ingenious” citing, the overused citation type of plagiarism can sometimes be hard to recognize because it appears that the student worked hard to research numerous sources.
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