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Plagiarism Basics

Types of Plagiarism

Padron, K. (2022). Introduction to plagiarism: Types and examples. [YouTube video].  Florida Atlantic University Libraries.

Deliberate vs. Accidental Plagiarism

Deliberate Plagiarism is when someone knowingly does the following:

  • Copying someone else's words or ideas from a source and claiming they were theirs.
  • Summarizing the work of others without acknowledging them.
  • Buying a completed paper or assignment, and turning it in as work they had done.

Accidental Plagiarism is different from deliberate plagiarism because it's usually not intentional.  This includes:

  • Not placing quotation marks around the exact words or ideas by someone else.
  • Leaving out a citation for a source, often because someone forgot or didn't know it was needed.
  • Paraphrasing or summarizing a source too closely to its original source. (Aaron, 2000).

Examples of Plagiarism:  A Continuum

Plagiarism can happen in various ways, and each type can be considered more or less serious or intentional.  See the continuum below for examples of types of plagiarism that can occur, with the lower left being less serious and possibly accidental examples of plagiarism. 

Examples that go higher and to the right on this continuum are considered more serious and deliberate instances of plagiarism.

Types of Plagiarism Intent and Seriousness

Source:  Aaron, J. E. (2000).  The little, brown essential handbook for writers. New York: Longman.

Self plagiarism example

Self plagiarism is when someone reuses their own work for another assignment, course, or publication with little or no changes.

Why is this considered plagiarism?  Doesn't the work belong to me if I did it?  

Some argue that if the work belongs to you, then you can do what you want with it.  Although it is one way to look at it, this is considered unethical behavior in academic or publishing settings:

  1. You wouldn't be putting in the work expected to earn a grade or for your work to be published. 
  2. It is also considered to be unfair because you are taking shortcuts for the efforts others would have to take for the same tasks.

Self plagiarism is strongly discouraged at FAU.  The University's Code of Academic Integrity describes self plagiarism as an example of cheating.

Real Life Examples


University Press Retracted Issue Image


Case #1:  The editorial staff of the University Press (UP) retracted its Fall sports issue because of plagiarized work by a reporter (2017).

Retraction:  The Oxford English Dictionary (2018) defines retraction as, "the action or fact of revoking or rescinding a decision, decree, etc."  A more thorough definition is, "the action of withdrawing a statement, accusation, etc., which is now admitted to be erroneous or unjustified... recantation; an instance of this; a statement of making such a withdrawal." 

A retraction is a response to misconduct in academic or research settings.  When this occurs, a published work like a newspaper or journal article is withdrawn from where it appeared.  If a retracted work is found, it often is labeled RETRACTED; see this example.  A retraction is made through a decision of a publication's editorial board.  Sometimes a retraction may occur because an author requested it, so it's not always a sign of academic or professional misconduct.

Source:  Oxford University Press (2018, July).  Retraction.  OED online.

Case #2:  University Press (UP) editor accused a Boca Raton Tribune reporter of plagiarizing her story (2015).

Case #3:  University Press (UP) suspended a writer for plagiarism and issued an apology (2005).

Don't let this happen to you! Start practicing academic integrity while in college and be ready for the real world!

The Person

The Case

The Judgment

Jayson Blair

36 of the 73 national news stories written by him for the New York Times included plagiarized quotes or were made up.

Forced to resign from the New York Times. The executive editor and managing editor also resigned shortly after Blair.

Ohio University Student

An Ohio University student was charged with plagiarizing a paper because she didn’t cite or paraphrase correctly.

Expelled from the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea program. She was forced to disembark early and go home.

Kaavya Viswanathan

Her novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, had too many similarities to novels by Megan McCafferty, Salman Rushdie, Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, and Tanuja Desai Hidier.

Her book was pulled from publication after the plagiarism was discovered. Her book and movie deals were dropped. Because the novel was not part of her academic work, Harvard took no action against the sophomore.

Janet Cooke

Fabricated parts of her story for the Washington Post that was nominated for and won the Pulitzer prize

Resigned and returned her Pulitzer Prize

Timothy S. Goeglein

Former White House aide, 20 of the 38 stories he wrote for the News-Sentinel (Indiana), copied text from other sources without citing them.

Resigned from White House. News-Sentinel editor stated they won't publish his articles in the future.

Janet Dailey

In two of her books, she borrowed plot points as well as passages from Nora Robert's novels.

Both novels were pulled from print and she paid a settlement to Nora Roberts.

Source: UC San Diego Library

Last updated on Jul 8, 2024 2:33 PM