Types of Plagiarism
The four types of plagiarism are shown in the examples below by using the following excerpt from Edwin H. Cady’s work, Stephen Crane:
Original Text: “Crane for many years enjoyed a reputation at which he would have been amused. He held the American record for periodically rediscovered unknown geniuses. The present situation, I suspect, would have sent him into a gale of ironic glee (15).”
Cady, Edwin H. Stephen Crane. Boston: Twayne Publishers. 1980. (MLA citation style used)
1. Plagiarism by failing to use quotations correctly.
If another’s words are used exactly, quotation marks must be used. Failure to use quotation marks results in plagiarism.
Incorrectly-cited work: Crane for many years enjoyed a reputation at which he would have been amused.
Correctly-cited work: “Crane for many years enjoyed a reputation at which he would have been amused.”
Explanation: Quotation marks have been placed around the material which was taken verbatim from Edwin H. Cady’s book. Also, to make sure that the documentation is completely correct, the source of the quote must be cited according to the appropriate documentation style which has been selected for use (example, MLA; APA; etc.).
2. Plagiarism by failing to paraphrase correctly.
If a writer takes another’s ideas or words and re-writes them in his/her own words, the writer must still give the person credit for the ideas. Failure to do so results in plagiarism.
Incorrectly-cited work: Crane would have found his reputation as a rediscovered unknown genius amusing.
Correctly-cited work: According to Edwin H. Cady, Crane would have found his reputation as a rediscovered unknown genius amusing.
Explanation: Along with giving credit to the author, the original source must be cited according to the appropriate documentation style.
3. Plagiarism by creating a mosaic.
This kind of plagiarism can be the most complex. It occurs in several ways: (1) when a writer takes original words, phrases, and ideas from the original source(s) and sprinkles these among his/her own words, sometimes changing the meaning of the source(s), without giving adequate acknowledgement to the original source(s), or (2) when the writer takes and blends ideas or words from multiple sources without acknowledging these sources. This is sometimes called “piecemeal plagiarism.”
Incorrectly-cited work: Every few years Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage becomes re-discovered, and this fact would probably have amused Crane and sent him into a fit of ironic glee.
Correctly-cited work: As Edwin H. Cady notes, Crane held the American record for periodically rediscovered unknown geniuses, and he himself probably would have been amused at his having gained this reputation.
Explanation: In the incorrectly-cited example, original phrases from Edwin H. Cady have been rearranged in a way that alters their meaning and context and are combined with some of the writer’s own words. Specifically, the idea of being “rediscovered” is used by Cady, but the writer does not cite Cady; and the idea of being rediscovered is also misused by ascribing it to the book The Red Badge of Courage rather than to Stephen Crane. Also, the original source must be cited according to the proper documentation style.
4. Plagiarism by misuse of the apt word or phrase.
If a writer takes “striking terms” out of a text and uses them as his/her own, then the writer is committing plagiarism.
Incorrectly-cited work: If Crane were around today, his reputation would send him into a gale of ironic glee.
Correctly-cited work: If Crane were around today, his reputation would send him into a “gale of ironic glee (15)."
Explanation: The page number of the original source has been noted; quotation marks have been placed around the quoted phrase, and also, the source should be cited according to the appropriate documentation style.
When in doubt, work should be cited, or else someone more knowledgeable, such as a professor, should be consulted to determine if citation is necessary. Citing a source correctly will not be detrimental to one’s work, and it is best to err on the side of caution and cite one’s source(s).
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