Plagiarism, as a whole, is defined as the act of taking someone else's words or ideas and claiming them as your own without properly acknowledging the original source. Plagiarism can be either intentional or unintentional, so it is important that writers keep track of what is their original idea and what is being summarized, paraphrased, or quoted from another source. See the page "Saybrook Turnitin Policy and Plagiarism Overview​" for a complete description of Saybrook's policies regarding plagiarism.

This page presents definitions of the different types of plagiarism.

​Direct P​lagiarism

Direct plagiarism is a direct copy of someone else's work and do not contain in-text citations and/or quotation marks. Regarded as highly unethical, consequences of direct plagiarism are oftentimes severe.



Self-p​lagiarism can occur when a student submits their own previous work or mixes various parts of previous work. To avoid self-plagiarizing, a student should author new work for each submission. In some cases, a student may opt to obtain permission from all professors involved. Self-plagiarism may occur when retaking classes or when using the same paper for different classes.


Mosaic Pl​​​agiarism

Mosaic plagiarism happens when a writer uses phrases from a source without using quotation marks. In addition, the writer may also take an original sentence from the author and substitute some of the words with synonyms, keeping the same structure and meaning as the original author. Even if the source is credited, this type of plagiarism is considered academically dishonest.

​Accidental ​​​Plagiarism

​​Accidental Plagiarism occurs when a writer does one of the following:

  • Neglects to cite a source
  • Misquotes their source
  • Unintentionally paraphrases a source that is too similar to the original​​

Addi​tional Resources