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Plagiarism is nothing new but quick access to seemingly endless information online and the ability to copy-and-paste with ease has made this criminal practice more common. Whether it’s accidental or intentional doesn’t matter — content theft is illegal and no one is excused.

While the internet has made it easier to plagiarize, it has also made it easier to catch. Writers beware — teachers, editors and bosses can and will check if the written work handed in is original. 

Here are the different types of plagiarism.

Full. This is perhaps the type of infringement that most people have in mind when they think about professional or academic dishonesty. If you take the entire work of another writer and try to pass it off as your own, this is an example of full plagiarism. Tantamount to stealing, this type of theft is also the easiest to identify.

Source-Based. This is when a writer references a source that either does not exist or cites it so poorly that a reader cannot link that information back to the source. Data fabrication is another sub-category of this type of infringement and is when a writer knowingly creates data to support his claims. 

Paraphrasing. This is difficult for writers to avoid and is often committed at the secondary and post-secondary levels. It involves submitting someone else’s writing after making some small changes to the wording of the sentence. The content is heavy in synonym substitution but still has the same basic idea of the original work.

Blatant. This kind of appropriation includes sections of another author’s work instead of using the entire passage. This kind of cheating is also common and relatively easy to detect. 

Self-plagiarism. Self-plagiarism is perhaps the most difficult to detect. This is when a writer reuses his or her previously published or submitted work without attribution. This is incredibly common and difficult to penalize at the professional level, as it’s often unclear to writers that this behavior is unacceptable.

Patchwork. Patchwork plagiarism is tough to weed out but it’s everywhere. This occurs when a writer uses someone else’s ideas without attribution but in an intermittent, inconsistent fashion.

Misleading Attribution. If a writer contributes to a text and does not receive credit for it or if a writer does not contribute to a text and does get credit for it, this is known as misleading attribution. It often happens when somebody besides the author either edits or submits a manuscript and makes sweeping changes yet does not receive credit for doing so. 

Accidental. Often, people copy other writers’ content by accident because they aren’t sure how to properly cite a text or are unaware that the information they are using requires a citation. However, no level of infringement should be tolerated or considered accidental because ignorance of the rules is never an acceptable excuse.

PlagiarismWhether you’re a freelancer or a full-time writer, there are many ways you can prevent plagiarism. One of the best is to use this free plagiarism checker for writers, which will help you weed out any possible issues in your writing. 

While these are the most common types of plagiarism, it’s important to realize that this infraction can occur on many different levels and take many different forms. As a freelancer or a full-time writer, educator or student, it’s important to be aware of the many different types of content theft you might be committing so that you can be better at preventing them in the future. 

Alicia Rother is a freelance content strategist who works with small businesses and startups to boost their brand reach through creative content design and write-ups. Her area of expertise includes digital marketing, infographics, branding, and SEO.

 

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