No matter if there is a leaky pipe above the ceiling or the roof is leaking, ceiling water damage is generally simple to spot. It typically shows itself as a circular brown ring.
Remember that water consistently flows down and always follows the path of least resistance. When water flows onto a ceiling from above it searches out the easiest way to keep going down.
Before any water damage ceiling repairs are done you must find the cause of the leak. Whether its a leaking roof or a leaking pipe, it must be fixed first.