Plagiarism is whereby a writer makes use of ideas or keywords from a source other than themselves and fail to cite source of their information.

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This is considered to be intentionally dishonest and hence could cause the writer to be discredited.

Forms of plagiarism


Copy and paste/ direct plagiarism

This is whereby a writer uses a paragraph or full text from another source and fails to cited the actual source of the piece of writing.

Mosaic plagiarism

This is copying different pieces of writing from different sources the writer therefore ends up creating a new document containing the patches of sourced work from other people research and ideas without citing the sources.

Self plagiarism

This whereby an individual for some reason presents previously submitted work parts of paper, dataset or literature review without citing the previous papers for citation purposes. This is considered a form of plagiarism as credit has already been given for the previously submitted work, and so the new work is expected to be original and different to achieve uniqueness.

Global plagiarism

This is whereby an individual makes use of a paper written by someone else usually a friend or family member, claiming that the ideas in it as well as the words uses in its structure belong to them. Failure to cite the source of the ideas and words is considered plagiarism as it involves deliberate lying in a quest to try to prove authorship of the piece of writing. Some also download writings from the Internet while others buy essays and papers from Essay Mills.

Paraphrasing plagiarism

This is whereby a writer makes use of another individual’s work but instead of presenting it as directly as it is written, they rephrase it to make it seem new and entirely different without citing the source of your ideas. This is still a form of plagiarism since the ideas and keywords used in the preexisting piece of writing are still retained in the new document created. This also applies to translation of a page from one language to another.

Verbatim plagiarism

This is copying a word to text word for word when making your own document without citing the source nor making use of quotation marks to show that they are actually not your original words.

Incorrect citation plagiarism

This is whereby a writer makes use of multiple sources to find materials and ideas to make use of in their piece of writing then either fails to give all the necessary information to provide full details concerning the source or they cite the wrong sources.


Consequences of plagiarism

  • In case of a school based paper or assignment, it could make a student fail in their course
  • It could also cause suspension or expulsion of the student
  • It could ruin the reputation of a writer which could consequently result in ending their career
  • It could as well cause copyright infringement


How to avoid becoming a victim of plagiarism

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  1. Make sure you quote passages obtained from other sources by making use of quotation marks to ensure the obtained words.
  2. Always credit the original source of your piece of work by making use of either in-text citations or use of bibliography and reference list.


You however do not have to cite some of the information considered to be common knowledge for instance Amazon forest is located in Brazil or Mandela was the first black president of South Africa.


How to cite a source

A writer is expected to be familiar with the various citation styles used to identify the sources of their information. They include the APA style for instance (Jones, 1998) , MLA format for instance (Words worth 263), the Harvard style for instance (Smith & Bruce, 1997) and the Chicago style for instance 12. Stephen c. Pepper, World Hypotheses (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1961). The examples shown above are in-text citations using the various styles mentioned.

7Using either style, the citation should be done both in the running text, that is in-text citation, using footnotes and endnote, and in the reference list (here, all the information concerning the source, it’s title and URL are also included)

For the APA style,

In-text citation is done as follows :

Fishbien and Ajzen (1975) concluded that….

A reference list entry appears as shown below :

Watson, V. (2009), ‘the planned Urban Planning and Century Urbanization. Progress in Planning 72(3), 151-193.



How to detect plagiarism

How to Detect Code Plagiarism. A short tutorial on using Stanford's… | by  Brienna Herold | CodeX | Medium

There have been a number of software created for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. They include the leading one which is Turnitin

A reader could also detect it from the change in tone and style of writing of the writer in his /her piece of writing

Working of the plagiarism checkers

The plagiarism checker compares text presented by the writer against a pre-existing database of text, seeking to find similarities so that they can highlight potential plagiarism and missing citations.

Accuracy of the checkers depends on

  1. Size of the database to which your text is compared. The database mainly comprises of Web pages, books publications and work by other students
  2. The plagiarism algorithm it is making use of to check for similarities. Some of the downsides of some of the checkers is that they cannot detect changes in word and sentence structure, use of synonyms and use of combination of sources to create a new document. They mainly just check for exact similarities

When choosing a plagiarism checker, it is important to consider

  • Prices of using whereby some of those that claim to be absolutely free yet they charge for every usage
  • Privacy and safety whereby some checks make a copy of your work and sell it to interested buyers
  • How much plagiarism it can detect, as some can compare documents from different sources to your own while others only check to detect use of exact similarities.




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