What Are the Different Types of Plagiarism?

Peter Dazeley/Photographer’s Choice/Getty Images

The different types of plagiarism include direct, self, mosaic and accidental plagiarism. All types of plagiarism involve a lack of credit to the source or a misrepresentation of work in an academic, commercial or personal piece of writing.

Direct plagiarism indicates passing off an entire word-for-word transcription of a piece of writing as a person’s own without giving credit to the original author. With direct plagiarism, quotes and attributions are lacking to indicate the work belongs to another person.

When a student submits a piece of work that was used in another class or for another project instead of creating an original work for the assignment, it is deemed as self plagiarism. Mosaic plagiarism, also known as patch writing, occurs when a student uses passages from another person’s work without using direct quotation marks, attributions, or credit to the source within the text of the work or on a works cited or reference page. Accidental plagiarism involves using source information without providing credit without changing enough of the words to make the work original.

Regardless of the type of plagiarism, whenever sources are used in a piece of writing or presentation, students are guilty of this act if credit is not given to the original source or sources. Consequences for plagiarism vary from a failing grade on the assignment to expulsion from the academic institution.