Discover and avoid these types of plagiarism in your next academic paper

Originality is crucial in academic research. The initial approval process to conduct research relies on the originality of the idea and the new contribution the paper would make to the area of study. Academic research papers should be varied but rather drive the development of an idea or concept. This acceleration of new knowledge is hindered when plagiarism takes place.  

What is plagiarism? 

Plagiarism is the practice of presenting another person’s work or idea as your own. In the world of academia, this is a serious offense that can negatively impact a researcher’s career as their papers are usually retracted and they lose their credibility. Educational institutions like universities and colleges can expel and bar students from being admitted to other institutions as this ethical offense is reflected on their record.

Common types of plagiarism

Type DefinitionHow to avoid
Direct PlagiarismWord-for-word duplication of somebody else’s content– Acknowledge and cite the source.
– Paraphrase the content by changing sentence voice (active to passive or vice versa)
– Include quotation marks in direct qoutes.
Paraphrasing PlagiarismOriginal author’s work is restructured very similarly without citing them and their research. – Use synonyms for non-generic words.
– Paraphrase by changing sentence voice and change clauses to phrases.
Mosaic PlagiarismOccurs when phrases are taken from the original author without quotation marks and citations. – Appropriately cite sources using quotation marks and footnotes.
Self-plagiarismUtilising your own sentence structures and ideas from previously submitted work without citing the source. – Ensure there is sufficient material to justify the new paper.
– Appropriately cite the original source.
Patchwork PlagiarismOccurs when material is copied from several sources and rearranged to create their own flow on a new paper without crediting any new sources. – Paraphrase material into your own words.
– Enclose verbatim content in quotation marks and cite.
Accidental PlagiarismOccurs when the author inaccurately cites sources, misquotes information or unintentionally paraphrases too similarly without the intent to present ideas as their own.– Proofread research paper multiple times before submitting.
– Cite everything that was not discovered by you, including widely-known information.

How to avoid plagiarism 

When working on a research paper, you can try and apply the following strategies to avoid committing plagiarism: 

  • Cite your sources

When stating an idea or presenting information that you have found through a different source, add the proper in-text citation to indicate that this material is “borrowed”. 

  • Include quotation marks

When quoting a source verbatim, using quotation marks helps avoid plagiarism and indicates that these words are relevant but not yours. The quote should also include it’s source.

  • Paraphrase

Paraphrasing can be tricky as it is a thin line between itself and plagiarism, it involves restructuring ideas into your own words without changing their meaning and intent. This also needs to be appropriately cited. 

  • Present your ideas

Your research paper should constructively explain your perspective on the information that is cited. Touch on how this is relevant to your findings or argument. 

  • Use plagiarism tracker

Utilising plagiarism detection tools can help avoid accidental plagiarism. These tools highlight plagiarised content and provide an overall percentage to help users understand their paper’s problem areas. 

Ethical writing practices

In academic writing, ethical guidelines demand authors to avoid weaknesses of bias and exclusive language, while encouraging authors to write on a range of perspectives that are relevant to the area of study and clearly indicate through citations where external material has been incorporated into the paper. The infographic below describes 3 strategies to make sure your academic writing skills are in line with ethical guidelines. 

Plagiarism detection tools

These detection tools ensure that academic research papers are original. They compare the material to a vast database of existing information and highlight any duplicated material, this helps maintain the author’s credibility and authenticity while avoiding certain legal issues. 

Here are a few detectors that Zendy recommends:

In conclusion, plagiarism is a serious academic offense that taints a researcher or student’s career by taking away their credibility and authenticity. Which is why the approval process of academic research is a rigorous one, to ensure the author and researchers have sufficient new contributions and perspectives within a specific area of study. Furthermore, establishing a practice of scanning lengthy research papers against recommended detection tools benefits researchers in citing all content appropriately and even avoids accidental plagiarism.


See the Top Reads of October 2023

Welcome to Zendy’s top read highlights — the top five research papers of the month. In the evolving landscape of academic scholarship, we bring you a selection of noteworthy contributions to research. From the depths of science and humanities to the forefront of technology and law, these papers exemplify academic excellence. 

Law of the Sea and Democracy

This journal article discusses how the laws that govern oceans are democratic however they are not directly related to democracy. The paper goes on to emphasize the complex framework of sea law recognizing that most democratic countries abide by it and how it has presented conflict in sea usage which escalates issues in international law. It also touches on how certain nations are divided on various sea matters such as coastal countries versus those that rely on open sea or developing versus developed countries. 

Read more here: Law of the Sea and Democracy

Graphic Design and Button Placement

This journal article is an analysis of user preferences regarding button placements on map applications, the study focuses on 6 map applications and analysed them based on the graphic diversity of buttons. The research concluded that to achieve effective map application design, the process needs to start considering the smallest possible device the application would be used on. 

Read more here: Graphic Design and Button Placement for Mobile Map Applications

Flipped Micro-modules for Teaching Sustainable Engineering Practices

This journal article explores a teaching method known as “flipped micro-module pedagogy” wherein students utlise AR and VR technology to engage in immersive learning, use social media platforms to disseminate course materials, and the method encourages project-basec learning where students apply their learnings to real-world issues. The goal of the study is to assess whether engineering students find this approach effective compared to their existing curriculum. 

Read more here: Flipped Micro-Modules for Teaching Sustainable Engineering Practices

Evaluation of Carbon Farming Strategies

This journal article places emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in organic vegetable growth. It proposes carbon farming as an alternative because the method improves soil health, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and supports biodiversity, however, the how effective carbon farming is, is unclear. The study also highlights the importance of measuring and estimating changes in soil carbon stock and potential environmental and economic impact on farmers. The findings suggest that carbon farming can be beneficial in various aspects however further research is required to optimise implementation. 

Read more here: The Evaluation of Carbon Farming Strategies in Organic Vegetable Cultivation

The Science of Judicial Psychology

This paper claims that crime in Romania has seen an increase due to severe economic and social challenges and the crisis of authority within institutions, emphasising that in this context crime is driven by needs, tendencies, motives and goals. The article goes on to dissect the complexity of criminal behaviour while highlighting all relevant motivators and factors that lead to a crime being committed. 

Read more here: The Science of Judicial Psychology

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