What is plagiarism and how to avoid it?

Plagiarism can be defined as the use of another author’s works without acknowledging or giving proper credit to the owner of the work. The term “works” in the aforementioned statement stretches as far as the use of one’s ideas, research, language and writing strategy without acknowledgement of the person in particular.

It is considered academic dishonesty, when a perpetrator is caught, it could lead to various sanctions like disqualification from the research or work, reduction or complete cancellation of academic grades and in severe cases, imprisonment. Since plagiarizing is the easiest and fastest way to get an academic piece done, it is mostly practised by students. Some students are even completely oblivious to the crime committed. This article will tell you all about the different types of plagiarism and how they can be avoided.


The basic types of plagiarism in academia include:

  1. Self Plagiarism.
  2. Verbatim or Direct Plagiarism.
  3. Incorrect citation.
  4. Mosaic Plagiarism.
  5. Accidental Plagiarism.
  6. Global/ Complete Plagiarism.
  7. Inaccurate Authorship.


This can also be referred to as ‘Duplicate Publication’. It involves the adoption of a previously published idea or work into yet another published work of the same author without properly giving credit to the last work. In other words, when a writer uses the same idea he/she used in the last work to write another academic piece and the writer does not make reference to the previously published work with the same content and idea, it is considered plagiarism.

In education, this occurs when a student uses part or the whole of a previously completed academic piece to write another assignment. For example, when you take a complete chapter of your research proposal and place it in your thesis without properly making reference to the research proposal that contained that particular chapter.


Also referred to as ‘Copy and Paste’. This occurs when a writer copies the works of another author word for word without making reference to the initial owner of the source. It is the most common form of plagiarism and it is often practised among students.


This type of plagiarism can broadly be grouped into three types of occurrences namely:

  • When a writer references a source that does not exist.
  • When a writer does not reference the full source. For example, in research that consists of both a primary and secondary source, the writer ought to cite the two sources, citing one and leaving the other is an inaccurate citation and thus, plagiarism.
  • When a writer falsifies research findings and cites them.


Mosaic plagiarism can also be called ‘Patchwork Plagiarism’. This involves taking the phrases and sentences from a research material and using it in a research piece without giving credit to the owner of the work. Patchwork plagiarism also occurs when a writer compiles the phrases or sentences of different authors, without referencing them to form a single academic piece. This type of plagiarism is quite hard to spot but it still carries its own penalties regardless.


This occurs mostly during paraphrasing. Paraphrasing means taking the idea of another source and modifying it with different words. It should be noted that paraphrasing also requires its own credit, as long as the idea was not formulated by the writer.

Hence, accidental plagiarism occurs when a researcher uses a paraphrased idea of another source without giving credit to the owner of the idea and without being aware of the plagiarism either. However, whether intentional or unintentional, the consequences of plagiarism still stand. That is why it is important to always make use of references, especially after paraphrasing. Whether you are doing it manually or using an Online paraphrasing tool.


This is regarded as the worst form of plagiarism, when a perpetrator is caught, depending on the gravity of the crime, he/she could be sued for passing off and copyright infringement. Complete plagiarism involves giving oneself credit for the writing and works of another author. This form of plagiarism is tantamount to stealing and conversion.


It is closely similar to inaccurate citation and, like inaccurate citation, this form of plagiarism can be broadly grouped into two namely:

  • When an individual participates in the writing of material and his/her name is not mentioned as the author of the material.
  • When an individual who did not contribute to the writing of a piece is mentioned as the author of the work.


Plagiarism can be avoided through the following meticulous means:


Paraphrasing simply means moderating the idea of another person into one’s own words and using it in an academic piece. Using paraphrasing as a means of avoiding plagiarism could be a tricky one because the line between the two is very slim. However, if it is a matter of necessity, avoid using synonyms and/or the similar sentence structure of the original work. Refurbish the idea completely and still make use of citations.


Citations were created for the main purpose of curbing plagiarism. Hence, it is important to always make use of it, especially after paraphrasing. If you are not familiar with citations, conduct proper research, pinpoint the style that suits your discipline and master it.


Conducting proper academic research before commencing the writing of an academic piece is very insightful and helpful. It gives the writer basic knowledge about the subject matter thus enhancing the creation of new ideas for the work. When a writer is able to come up with new ideas regarding the subject matter, it could serve as a writing aid for other students who might stumble on the work and most importantly, it helps to avoid plagiarism. The creation of new ideas for an academic piece can only be made possible through proper research.


Technology has also made the avoidance of plagiarism with the aid of a plagiarism checker. A plagiarism checker helps to detect any form of plagiarism in your text. There are several plagiarism checkers on the internet, Project Writers Nigeria also offer one as well. If you are unable to tell whether or not a written article was properly cited and plagiarism free, be sure to use one. This is the best way to avoid accidental plagiarism.


If you are having an issue with a particular assignment, thesis or any academic-related writing problem and you feel like verbatim or complete plagiarism is the best solution to your problems, think again. Writers King Ltd consists of a large group of professionals specialising in academic writing. Submitting academic writing problems to us is one of the most efficient ways to avoid plagiarism and produce a top-quality and A-rated paper.


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