This is a very common type of plagiarism, and can be intentional or non-intentional. You know that you shouldn’t directly copy and paste other people’s words into your own work without acknowledgement. Many people think that if they change a few words in someone else’s sentence that this means that sentence is now their own words.
If you copy a sentence or paragraph into your own work and change a few words it will still be considered as plagiarism. You should paraphrase other people’s ideas and work, or if you need to include someone else’s words, quote and reference these correctly (see copy/cut and paste for more information).
What does word switch look like?
The following text is taken from the introduction to a journal article:
‘What marks a significant difference between MUVEs and MMOs is the lack of a predetermined narrative or plot-driven storyline. In the worlds exemplified by SL, there is no natural purpose unless one is created or built. Here, social interaction exists not as a precursor to goal-oriented action but rather, it occurs within an open-ended system that offers a number of freedoms to the player, such as: the creation and ownership of objects; the creation of interpersonal networks; and monetary transactions that occur within a tangible economic structure’ (p.416)
Warburton, S. (2009) Second Life in higher education: Assessing the potential for and the barriers to deploying virtual worlds in learning and teaching. British Journal of Educational Technology. [Online]40 (3), 414-426. Available from: doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.00952.x [Accessed 12th June 2009].
You’ve read about gaming for a piece of research, and are writing about the difference between Second Life and other virtual world-based games. So you write the following:
The difference between multi-user virtual environments and massively multi-player online games is the lack of a controlled narrative or plot-driven storyline. In Second Life, there is no natural purpose unless one is created or built and social interaction occurs within an open-ended system not as a precursor to goal-oriented action. This offers a number of freedoms to the player, including the creation and ownership of objects, the creation of interpersonal networks, and monetary transactions that occur within a tangible economic structure.
Read the sentences carefully. Is that plagiarism? Your lecturer would think so.