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Did I Plagiarize? The Types and Severity of Plagiarism Violations

Did I Plagiarize?

Answer all of the questions below with a yes or no.

  • Are you confident that your ideas are your own or that they are so obviously common knowledge (like the fact that the earth is round) that you didn't need to cite any sources?
  • Did you give credit to all original authors for any text you directly quoted?
  • Did you give credit to all original authors for any ideas you summarized or paraphrased, even if you completely changed the wording?
  • Did you give credit to all original artists for any images or graphics you used or referred to?
  • Are you confident that you didn't distort or misinterpret an author's or artist's original meaning when you cited them?
  • Are you confident that the organization and style of your work is your own creation and that you didn't mimic the style of layout of someone else?
  • Did you use a proper and recognized citation method or did you include enough citation information that a reader could locate the original work on his/her own>

If you answered no to any of the above questions proceed to Yes! You Plagiarized

If you answered yes to all the above questions, then read on!

No! If you're confident that what you have written and/or designed is entirely original - in concept, style, structure, diction, and everything else - then you have not plagiarized. Or, if you have used another's ideas to elaborate on or validate your own, but you cite the original author or artist (and you provide their name and all pertinent information so that your reader could locate the original source on their own), then you are also free of plagiarism violations. Plagiarism-free means you have recognized any and all individual or organizations that influenced your thoughts, writings, and design and that you have made every effort to cite them according to conventional citation practices.

How serious is it?

Answer the questions below with a yes or no answer. If "no, move on the next question.

  • Did you steal, copy, or purchase another's entire document and take full credit for it being your own?
    • If yes: It is identity theft and insanely severe!
  • Did you copy large portions (entire paragraphs and sections) of another's work and not give full credit?
    • If yes: That makes you a copycat and it is extremely severe!
  • Did you cherry-pick a few terms and phrases to change but keep the rest of the text and ideas from another's work relatively unchanged without giving credit?
    • If yes: You are a cherry-picker and it is terribly severe!
  • Did you duplicate (re-use) an entire work of your own for another purpose or publication and not cite yourself?
    • If yes: You're committing mitosis and it's immensely severe!
  • Did you reuse large portions of a work of your own for another purpose or publication and cite yourself?
    • If yes: You recycled and that is profoundly severe!
  • Did you paraphrase multiple sources and stitch them together, making them sounds like your own?
    • If yes: That's a remix and is hugely severe!
  • Did you cite a source that doesn't exist or did you make up what the source actually said?
    • If yes: You provided a ghost citation and that's very very severe!
  • Did you cite many sources correctly but not cite others at all?
    • If yes: You're providing half-n-half, which is very severe!
  • Did you misinterpret or cite a source out of context?
    • If yes: You warped the source, and that's remarkably severe!
  • Did you cite everything correctly but use very little of your own thought ?
    • If yes: You made a mosaic and that is quite severe!
  • Did you cite everything correctly but your work still closely reflects another's?
    • If yes: That's a reflection, which is notably severe!
  • Did you make a mistake in your citation?? Wrong words, wrong author, or something similar?
    • If yes: That's a miscue and is somewhat severe!
  • Did you mostly cite everything correctly but got a bit sloppy on some and failed to note small things like page numbers or publishers?
    • If yes: You cited half-heartedly, which is mildly severe!


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