Welcome to the Department of Plagiarism Investigation.
The D.P.I. has dealt with numerous complex cases in their effort to bring plagiarists to justice and to rescue purloined texts.
The first form of plagiarism that the D.P.I. regularly encounters is known as brainchild snatching,
in honor of the Latin word, plagiarius, from which plagiarism originates.
Brain child snatchers sneak up on innocent papers and copy and paste them without citing any sources,
putting quotation marks around direct quotes or changing a word.
They've also been known to steal and hold particularly eloquent essays for ransom.
When brain child snatchers get together, they form a kidnapping ring, which involves brain child snatching from multiple sources.
Some perpetrators have even been known to commit self-plagiarism, one of the laziest crimes in the annals of the D.P.I.
Also known as one-sided collaborators,
these odd balls snatch up entire texts or small passages that they've written before and present them as brand-new material.
Brain child snatchers and kidnapping rings are easy for the D.P.I. to catch.
Just paste a few passages into a search engine, and BAM! They're caught red-handed.
The more covert forms of plagiarism include the wild goose chase technique,
in which plagiarists create fake authors, book titles, page numbers, or other information in order to cover up plagiarism.
And the old synonym switcheroo in which plagiarists utilize a thesaurus as their main weapon.
By substituting a synonym for nearly every word in the document
and leaving the sentence structure and order of the ideas the same,
plagiarists give legitimate paraphrasing a very bad name.
Shoddy paraphrasing is also a key part of variations on a smokescreen, a technique in which multiple passages are paraphrased, then pasted together into one.
The thorniest issue that the D.P.I. deals with is the misconception
that you can never be accused of plagiarism if you use quotes and cite your sources.
This is most certainly not the case because a paper that is made up of passage upon passage of other people's ideas is known as a wholly quotable document.
This is considered plagiarism since there are no original thoughts in the work.
Similarly, passage after passage of too closely paraphrased text from multiple cited sources
is also plagiarism of the pervasively paraphrased kind because the ideas still aren't one's own.
And lastly, the technique of revealing while concealing is plagiarism
because it involves selective amnesia regarding one's sources in an attempt to cover up wholly quotable and pervasively paraphrased issues in a text.
Some passages are meticulously documented, quoted, or paraphrased, while others are presented entirely as one's own.
As you can see, the D.P.I. has its hands full,
tackling all sorts of academic mischief and mayhem, ranging from the petty to the outrageous.
Given the gravity of these transgressions,
you might be wondering why you've never heard of the Department of Plagiarism Investigation's victories.
That's because it doesn't technically exist.
But people, like you and me, can be our own D.P.I. agents to fight plagiarism and uphold the values of original thinking.
We know that the best defense against plagiarism consists of writers
who save themselves time, worry, and effort by taking the far easier road of just doing the work themselves.