When students think of the most common types of plagiarism, the first thing that comes to mind is direct plagiarism. As the name implies, this entails copying another writer’s work without giving credit for the source material. However, this is just one type of plagiarism, and to maintain academic integrity, students should be aware of all the different types.

Upholding academic integrity is not just a rule but a value that ensures your education’s credibility and quality. Thankfully, the most common forms of plagiarism are the most straightforward. With a bit of knowledge and awareness, you can easily avoid them.

Today, we’ll be reviewing seven different types of plagiarism. By exploring these types, students and educators can prevent plagiarism and address it when it occurs. We’ll provide an overview of each kind with accompanying examples to help illustrate these concepts.

Complete Plagiarism

Complete plagiarism is the most egregious form of intellectual dishonesty. This is when a person submits an entire work that is not their own but presents it as if it were.

Examples of complete plagiarism can include: 

  • Submitting an essay you paid someone else to write.
  • Using a friend’s or fellow student’s work.
  • Downloading a publicly available essay from an internet database.
  • Translating an essay from another language and submitting it without crediting the original author.

The consequences of complete plagiarism are often severe. Since it undermines the integrity of the educational process, it can lead to significant academic and professional penalties.

Most schools and universities have strict policies against this form of plagiarism. Students caught should expect penalties ranging from a failing grade to expulsion. Additionally, it isn’t uncommon for schools to revoke scholarships or other financial incentives to students who plagiarize.

Direct Plagiarism

Unlike complete plagiarism, direct plagiarism involves copying large chunks of text without proper citation. This type of plagiarism, also known as “copy-and-paste,” is one of the most common forms. Like complete plagiarism, direct plagiarism is a clear violation of academic integrity.

Examples of direct plagiarism include. 

  • Copying paragraphs word-for-word from another essay, journal article, or research paper.
  • Using excerpts from a book without acknowledging the source.
  • Incorporating text from a website into an essay.

To avoid direct plagiarism, use quotation marks and cite your sources properly, according to the style guide. Additionally, paraphrasing a text in your own words and then citing it allows you to express the core idea while maintaining a unique voice.

Direct plagiarism is fairly easy to recognize and avoid. If you think writing might be too close to the original, it probably is. When in doubt, use plagiarism detection software like Smodin’s Plagiarism Checker to maintain academic integrity.


Self-plagiarism is one of the most common and misunderstood forms of plagiarism. Many students wrongfully assume that they can resubmit their own work and maintain academic integrity, but this is not the case. Recycling content — even your own content — without citing it properly is never acceptable.

The problem with self-plagiarism is that it misleads your reader about the originality of the content. In academic or research settings, showing novelty in thought is the primary purpose of essay writing. Additionally, if this scholarly date is published and widely circulated, it can distort the research landscape.

Always be transparent if you want to use an excerpt of your previously written work. Inform your teacher or professor that some of the work you’re submitting has been used previously. Cite your previous work like you would any other scholarly article. In cases where the work will be published, ask for permission from an editor first.

Paraphrasing Plagiarism

Paraphrasing plagiarism occurs when text is substantially changed but closely resembles the original structure and language without proper citation. It’s much subtler than direct copying but can be just as serious.

This type of plagiarism often happens when one attempts to paraphrase but doesn’t sufficiently modify the original text or fails to cite the sources. The nature of this plagiarism makes it much more difficult to spot, especially if the paraphrased text appears to be original at first glance.

Remember that paraphrasing requires more than changing a few words or rearranging sentences. Effective paraphrasing involves completely reinterpreting and rewriting the original ideas in your own words. You must also demonstrate a clear understanding and integration of the material.

Suppose you’re writing a history paper on World War I. Then, you find the following passage from a published academic paper and use it in your essay.

Original text: 

“In the aftermath of World War I, the Treaty of Versailles imposed harsh economic sanctions on Germany, which were intended to cripple its economy and prevent future military aggression. These sanctions included significant reparations payments and limitations on industrial production.

Instead of paraphrasing in a way that reinterprets the information, you simply rearrange the words to make it appear unique.

Plagiarized version:

“In the wake of World War I, the Treaty of Versailles enforced severe economic sanctions on Germany to debilitate its economy and deter future military activities, including substantial reparations and restrictions on industrial output.”

You must cite the source text in the sample above to avoid plagiarism. This example shows plagiarism occurs when text is slightly reworded, but the essential structure and language remain too close to the original.

Patchwork Plagiarism

Patchwork plagiarism, or mosaic plagiarism, involves piecing together ideas, phrases, and sentences from multiple sources and presenting them as your own without proper citation. The source material is often blended with original writing to make it appear original, but it lacks the necessary citations from the borrowed parts.

Much like paraphrasing plagiarism, patchwork plagiarism is subtle and difficult to detect immediately. This method might include changing keywords, using synonyms, or rearranging sentence structure while maintaining the original content’s ideas.

For example, a student writing a research paper might extract data from several different studies, rephrase sentences slightly, and combine them. This is usually fine if appropriately cited, but it can be considered plagiarism without proper in-text citation.

You must be careful to avoid patchwork plagiarism. Whenever you use information from another author, even if you think you’re substantially changing the wording, proper citation is necessary. Second, always use your own voice when writing. There’s a fine line between using inspired ideas and copying them outright.

Lastly, regularly check your work with plagiarism detection software. This step ensures that all sources are accurately cited and that your work maintains its integrity. Remember, not all instances of plagiarism are done intentionally. The last thing you want is to commit plagiarism without even knowing you’re being dishonest.

Source-based Plagiarism

Source-based plagiarism occurs when a writer fails to properly cite their sources or misrepresents the source information in their work. For instance, imagine a research paper in which the author claims support from a scholarly article. The student may write something like:

“Dr. Smodin concludes that the harsh reparations imposed on Germany were the primary catalyst for the onset of World War II.”

However, upon reviewing Dr. Smodin’s article, it is evident that while the reparations are a significant factor, the article does not definitively assert them as the sole cause of World War II. Instead, it suggests that economic distress, political instability, and international tensions also played critical roles.

To avoid this type of plagiarism, accurately represent your sources’ scope and assertions. Misrepresenting a source to make it seem more supportive of your thesis compromises academic integrity and misleads your audience.

Ensure your interpretation of the cited material remains truthful and reflects the author’s original intent and conclusions. If you’re struggling to find sources that back up your thesis argument, remember that AI tools can help. Smodin’s Research Paper writer can use Google Scholar Search to find sources that fit your essay’s larger context.

Accidental Plagiarism

Accidental plagiarism occurs when individuals unknowingly incorporate someone else’s work without proper citation. This often happens due to negligence, misunderstanding the citation requirements, or confusion about properly integrating outside sources into their writing.

For example, a student may paraphrase a source but forget to cite it. Similarly, the student might not realize that common knowledge in their field still requires sourcing. Or, the student might cite the source but do it incorrectly, leading to misattribution and confusion about the origin of the information.

Again, a software solution is one of the simplest ways to avoid accidental plagiarism. By leveraging the power of AI software like Smodin, students can ensure that their citations are accurate and consistent with the original texts. Smodin can also help highlight areas needing additional citations and prevent accidental plagiarism.

By utilizing such technology, students can gain greater confidence in their writing and rest assured that they adhere to academic standards. Students need to review and update their understanding of what constitutes plagiarism regularly. This vigilance will help them maintain the integrity of their academic work and secure the desired grade.

Consequences of Plagiarism

The simplest way to define plagiarism is the act of using some other individual’s work as your own. The concept and the allegation of plagiarism can include using the same sentence structure, not providing the citation, or giving the wrong citation.

As per the definition found in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, plagiarism includes stealing and sharing the ideas of someone as your own. If you attempt a literary theft, fail to credit the other person and present an older idea as new.

As a fraudulent act, plagiarism includes the wrongful act of thieving the idea or work of someone else. It can bring you serious repercussions as well.

Here is the list of consequences you can face being a plagiarist:

Academic Penalties

As a student, you can face severe consequences if you submit plagiarised work in your assignment. These can include grade penalties, expulsion, course failure, and suspension. You may even have to deal with disciplinary action, which can be as bad as a ban for extracurricular activities. In worst-case scenarios, you may even fail to get admission to some other academic institutes.

Damaged Reputation

Being scarred by an allegation of plagiarism can be challenging for your academic career. That is because publishing is considered a requisite of a reputed academic career. If you lose the ability to publish, it can wreck your academic position. Acts like these can affect the foundation of your profession.

Hindrance in Future Contribution and Research

For any attempt of plagiarism in research or academic program, you can get a ban from contributing to journals in any possible way. It can even disable you from getting sponsorship if you have plans for further research. As a result, it can be hard for you to find a way of smoothly pursuing the course ahead.

Lack of Learning Opportunities

Preparing assignments by yourself can familiarize you with the fundamental concepts. However, if you plagiarize, you step ahead with your career after missing out on the basics. You can even fail to learn about performing research, providing citations, and structuring a paper or an essay. You will also not be able to learn how to voice your thoughts.

Distrustful Environment

Having a good student-teacher relationship is necessary for a positive learning environment. An accusation of plagiarism can ruin your respect, and teachers can lose their confidence in you. It can leave you in a learning space that is nothing but negative and cynical.

How To Avoid Plagiarism?

 As a student, you must know that plagiarism can have serious repercussions. Nevertheless, with proper measures, you can avoid plagiarism and its aftermath. Here follows the list of the same:

  • Do not copy: When using other people’s ideas, describe their influence and importance in your text. You must avoid the cut and paste option provided by the electronic mediums as you may get carried away by the ease of effort.
  • Use quotation marks: If you want to use the exact thoughts and words from others’ work, you must use quotation marks to present the direct quotes. Use them in restricted formats, avoid texts in large amounts, and give references.
  • Make notes: When making notes from the sources, use quotation marks and keep a track of sources. Apart from avoiding plagiarism, this technique can also help you gather references easier in your writing.
  • Use many sources: You must refer to many resources to prepare your assignment. It can even show your efforts of using multiple references, and you have created your ideas accordingly. Saving from plagiarism is already a win-win.
  • Use plagiarism checker: There are many online plagiarism checkers which you can use to identify the percentage of plagiarism in your text. We recommend using Smodin Plagiarism Checker. If you found plagiarism beforehand, you can change the text before submission.
  • Cite properly: You must always cite references and check them thoroughly before submitting them. It can save you from unintentional plagiarism attempts and showcase your efforts properly.

Final Thoughts

Just as essential as it is for you to submit assignments on time, ensuring the delivery of unique text is also important. After all, nobody would want to deal with the aftermath of plagiarism.

In this blog, you have just become versed with the concepts of plagiarism, their consequences, and how you can deal with them.