A Closer Look

The following topics examine specific scenarios and provide prevention tips. 

The Most Common Types of Plagiarism Include:

  1. Passing off another's ideas or work as your own
  2. Fabricating citations
  3. Copying, cutting and pasting without citing the original source
  4. Paraphrasing incorrectly
  5. Using media files, such as image, audio or video files without citing them

1.) Passing off Another's Ideas:

Instead of copying words, you use someone else's ideas without giving them credit.  This also includes taking credit for entire words written by someone else.

Several examples include:

  • Using an author's ideas or words without citing the author.
  • Using a person's work such as music, film, photography, and any other media without giving credit to the person.
  • Buying a paper online and submitting it as your own.
  • Recycling a paper someone else wrote.


2.)  Fabricating Citations

You make up all or part of a citation.


  • If you falsify a citation, that is plagiarism
  • If you falsify part of a citation, that is plagiarism
  • If you cite a real source, but do not use it in your paper, that is also plagiarism.


3.) Copying, Cutting & Pasting

You copy words or the whole passage from the original source without giving credit.



  • Cite the source of your info whether it's found in a print source, electronic form or on the Internet, unless it's considered common knowledge
  • Use quotation marks around a phrase or sentence that you use from a print source, electronic source or a Web site.
  • The Internet has made it easier to copy/cut and paste, BUT the Internet has also made it easier to identify cases of plagiarism.


4.) Paraphrasing Incorrectly

You restate or summarize someone else's words but don't give them credit.

Paraphrasing correctly:

  • Is not rearranging words in a sentence
  • Is not substituting words with a thesaurus
  • Is synthesizing a passage of text and describing it (the idea) in your own words
  • Is restating or summarizing someone else's words or ideas and giving credit to the author (that fall outside of common knowledge).


Tip: 5 Steps to Successful Paraphrasing

  • Read the entire text, underlining key points and main ideas
  • In your own words, write a sentence about the main idea of the text (i.e., summarize).
  • Also, write key points in the text Highlight any words, phrases, or key passages that you would want to quote directly
  • Combine the above for a new paraphrased paragraph, using your own words.
  • Cite your source Even if you paraphrase, you have to acknowledge the material you read and paraphrased


5.) Using media files, such as image, audio or video files without citing them

Images and other types of media files found on the Internet need to be cited just like words/text.  Even when they're available for free or easy to download, you still need to cite them.


  • Anything you find on the Internet is available for anyone to copy and paste; therefore, you don't have to cite it
  • Anything you find on the Internet is considered common knowledge; therefore, you don't have to cite it.
  • Images, charts, and graphs in books can be photocopied; therefore, you don't have to cite them


[This text was kindly provided by UC San Diego Libraries!]