Types of Plagiarism

As students, teachers and researchers, it is our responsibility to act ethically and with integrity in class, our writings and research. You trust your colleagues both on the UNL campus and in the greater academic community to treat your intellectual works with respect and without misrepresentation and in turn, they trust you. Plagiarism, one form of misrepresentation, is a violation of the UNL Student Code of Conduct (section 4.2.a.3) and is defined as: "Presenting the work of another as one's own (i.e., without proper acknowledgment of the source) and submitting examinations, theses, reports, speeches, drawings, laboratory notes or other academic work in whole or in part as one's own when such work has been prepared by another person or copied from another person." Graduate students are held to a "zero tolerance" standard for all aspects of the Student Code of Conduct, including plagiarism. The most common sanction for graduate students who engage in plagiarism is suspension or expulsion.

Plagiarism can take many forms and is more than just copying another person’s writing word for word. The following article is reprinted with permission from the Web site Plagiarism.org to help identify and therefore avoid the different types of plagiarism. 


ANYONE WHO HAS WRITTEN OR GRADED A PAPER knows that plagiarism is not always a black and white issue. The boundary between plagiarism and research is often unclear. Learning to recognize the various forms of plagiarism, especially the more ambiguous ones, is an important step towards effective prevention. Many people think of plagiarism as copying another'swork, or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like ‘copying’ and ‘borrowing’ can disguise the seriousness of the offense:

Sources Not Cited

1. "The Ghost Writer"
The writer turns in another's work, word-forword, as his or her own.

2. "The Photocopy"
The writer copies significant portions of text straight from a single source, without alteration.

3. "The Potluck Paper"
The writer tries to disguise plagiarism by copying from several different sources, tweaking the sentences to make them fit together while retaining most of the original phrasing.

4. "The Poor Disguise"
Although the writer has retained the essential content of the source, he or she has altered the paper's appearance slightly by changing key words and phrases.

5. "The Labor of Laziness"
The writer takes the time to paraphrase most of the paper from other sources and make it all fit together, instead of spending the same effort on original work.

6. "The Self-Stealer"
The writer "borrows" generously from his or her previous work, violating policies concerning the expectation of originality adopted by most academic institutions.

Sources Cited (But Still Plagiarized)

1. "The Forgotten Footnote"
The writer mentions an author's name for a source, but neglects to include specific information on the location of the material referenced. This often masks other forms of plagiarism by obscuring source locations.

2. "The Misinformer"
The writer provides inaccurate information about the sources, making it impossible to find them.

3. "The Too-Perfect Paraphrase"
The writer properly cites a source, but neglects to put in quotation marks text that has been copied word-for-word, or close to it. Although attributing the basic ideas to the source, the writer is falsely claiming original presentation and interpretation of the information.

4. "The Resourceful Citer"
The writer properly cites all sources, paraphrasing and using quotations appropriately. The catch? The paper contains almost no original work! It is
sometimes difficult to spot this form of plagiarism because it looks like any other well-researched document.

5. "The Perfect Crime"
Well, we all know it doesn't exist. In this case, the writer properly quotes and cites sources in some places, but goes on to paraphrase other arguments from those sources without citation. This way, the writer tries to pass off the paraphrased material as his or her own analysis of the cited material.

Types of Plagiarism (n.d.) Retrieved Oct. 2, 2009, from http://www.plagiarism.org/plag_article_types_of_plagiarism.html
Reprinted with permission.