Mosaic Plagiarism: Everything You Need to Know Regarding Mosaic Plagiarism

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You come across different ways people commit plagiarism in writing. Learning about them will help one identify the plagiarism type and avoid having it when writing. Mosaic plagiarism, which is also called incremental plagiarism or patchwork plagiarism, is a common type of plagiarism found in academic papers. The usual producer of it is, for the most part, students.

What is Mosaic Plagiarism?

By a general mosaic plagiarism definition, “mosaic plagiarism occurs when a student borrows exact words from a source without using quotations,” or, to be precise, without appropriately citing the source.

Thus, when a student uses somebody else’s work in his or her piece of writing, without paraphrasing or giving quotation marks or citations appropriately, he or she causes plagiarism, generally mosaic plagiarism.

The term patchwork plagiarism or ‘patch writing’ applies to mosaic plagiarism, which occurs when copying patches of content from various sources and creating a text by putting them together without changing anything. Sometimes, it includes minimal changes or rephrasing of sentences while retaining most of the words and content structure used in the original content.

While writing content, ‘borrowing’ or copying may be unavoidable. In such a case, using quotation marks plays an essential role if the author wants to avoid mosaic plagiarism.

Mosaic plagiarism is also called incremental plagiarism, wherein you use passages, excerpts, or quotes without citation. This plagiarism scenario materializes when the entire work is original content, but the quotations and other data are used without appropriately citing the source.

Thus, it indicates that a writer has not given appropriate credit for the source from where he or she borrowed the content. If a student borrows phrases from other sources without using quotations, plagiarism occurs. It is academically dishonest and may lead to serious consequences.

It may be a case of accidental plagiarism, but whether it is intentional or not, plagiarism is academically dishonest and punishable. This academically dishonest scenario occurs when a student ‘borrows’ phrases from a source and puts them into his or her work, either without citing the source or paraphrasing the content in a clumsy manner.

What Are the Primary Forms of Mosaic Plagiarism?

About plagiarism, it occurs in the following two scenarios.

  • Copying From a Single Source

Students commit mosaic plagiarism when they copy a text, phrases, or paragraphs from a single source. In this case, they may copy texts or phrases from one source and use the ideas of the original work as their own without crediting the original author or seeking the author’s permission.

  • Copying From Several Sources

This type of mosaic plagiarism is a bit complicated as it involves copying from several written sources. Some students use texts derived from different sources and combine them to give a logical flow. Here, they think about the phrases copied and connect them cohesively but do not cite the sources.

Here words and phrases from several sources are intertwined to form a single piece of written work. While doing it, they need slight rephrasing, but keep most words and structure the same. The plagiarism looks insidious here, but some plagiarism checkers like Copyleaks can easily detect it.

The Plausible Consequences of Mosaic Plagiarism

This type of plagiarism causes serious offense to the original author. The student or person involved is accused of being dishonest and may face adverse consequences of plagiarism.

Like other forms of plagiarism, mosaic plagiarism may carry punishments and penalties. It may lead to a reduction in grades or may even end up in the student’s suspension from the educational institution.

For bloggers, the punishment for committing plagiarism is low search engine rankings, and for the people who commit plagiarism, a tampered reputation is the ultimate repercussion. An author can also pursue the matter in court, which may lead to penalties or fines to the offender.

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How to Avoid Committing Mosaic Plagiarism?

Appropriate citation of the sources helps in avoiding mosaic plagiarism. Using citations will help provide the deserved credit to the original author. Use quotation marks or add footnotes with the source to keep away mosaic plagiarism.

A proper paraphrasing can be highly effective in such situations. A check for plagiarism is of utmost importance to avoid plagiarism of any kind.

What Are the Various Types of Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is a punishable offense, and its consequences, when detected, may vary in kind. Plagiarism penalties may be either in monetary forms or through punishments in cases where students are involved.

It may be grade reduction or even suspension. Nevertheless, your reputation is what it affects the most. To keep plagiarism away, here are some common types of plagiarism, emphasizing mosaic plagiarism.

There are, in general, 5 common types of plagiarism, they are:

  • Global Plagiarism

One commits global plagiarism by copying and using an entire text as their own. At that time, the person concerned deliberately lies about the work’s authorship.

  • Paraphrasing Plagiarism

Paraphrasing without appropriate citation may result in plagiarism. Rephrasing the text in your own words still asks for referencing the source because the ideas are not yours.

  • Direct Plagiarism

It’s the direct copying of phrases or paragraphs from the source without any changes leads.

  • Self-Plagiarism

You cause self-plagiarism when you reuse your previously published work, for which you have already received the credit.

  • Accidental Plagiarism

It is unintentional and happens when you fail to provide the necessary information in your source citation or make mistakes in paraphrasing and quotation.

How to Avoid Mosaic Plagiarism?

It is not easy to avoid plagiarism. With a large quantity of content generated on the Internet every day, it is essential to check for plagiarism before submission.

Learning different levels and types of plagiarism is first and foremost to have content free of any plagiarism. It is also necessary to know about the consequences of plagiarism to understand the need to avoid plagiarism.


By learning what will cause mosaic plagiarism, you can avoid it by citing the sources appropriately. Developing adequate academic skills can help you avoid relying completely on others’ work. Using an effective plagiarism checker will help you know different types of plagiarism and how they happen to avoid them in writing. 


Is mosaic plagiarism bad?

Any type of plagiarism is unethical. Mosaic plagiarism is considered intentional and is wrong in academics, for a student uses an entire text from other sources as his or her own.  

What are the important characteristics of mosaic plagiarism?

A defining characteristic of this type of plagiarism is borrowing words and phrases from other sources without appropriate citation. Using alternate words without changing structure is another characteristic of mosaic plagiarism.

What is the difference between paraphrasing plagiarism and Mosaic plagiarism?

Paraphrasing is rephrasing the sentences in your own words without losing their original idea. Paraphrasing may cause plagiarism if you fail to cite the source. If someone copies the exact words and phrases from one or multiple sources and doesn’t credit the author, it results in mosaic plagiarism.

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