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Plagiarism

What it is and ways to avoid it, with exercises and examples

Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing are three ways of incorporating another writer's work into your own writing to support your arguments and points.

Use quotes or paraphrases when you want to:

  • use an author as an authoritative voice

  • introduce an author's position you may wish to discuss

  • provide evidence for your own writing

  • make a clear distinction between the views of different authors

  • make a clear distinction between an author's views and your own.

Paraphrasing

When paraphrasing:

  • Restate the original author's writing or ideas in your own different words.
  • Maintain the author's original ideas and meaning as closely as possible.
  • Change the wording and sentence structure to your writing style, but don't add your own ideas and meaning.
  • Avoid replacing words in the original sentence with synonyms.
    • Try to keep your paraphrase about the same length as the original.
    • Work with only a few sentences at a time.
    • Cite the original sources using in-text or parenthetical citation, and not quotation marks.

    Take a look at these websites for examples and practice exercises on how to paraphrase correctly:

    How to Recognize Unacceptable and Acceptable Paraphrases from Indiana University's guide on plagiarism

    Paraphrasing Exercises from Purdue OWL

    Paraphrasing Examples

    Example taken from Purdue OWL (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/619/1/) with permission:

    The original passage:

    Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.

    A legitimate paraphrase:

    In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).

    An acceptable summary:

    Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).

    A plagiarized version:

    Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.

    Paraphrase Lead-ins

    according to…

    contends that…

    finds/found…

    recognizes…

    accounts for…

    compares…

    hypothesizes…

    reports…

    acknowledges…

    correlates…with…

    reveals…

    admits…

    criticizes…

    insists…

    sees…as…

    affirms…

    distinguishes…

    interprets…

    says…

    analyzes…

    declares…

    lists…

    shows…

    assumes…

    defines…

    locates…

    states…

    argues that…

    agrees…

    attempts to…

    attributes…to…

    believes…

    challenges…

    claims…

    feels that…

    questions…

    clarifies…

    describes…

    maintains…

    raises…

    concludes that…

    determined…

    mentions…

    relates…

    confirms…

    disagrees…

    notes…

    stresses…

    considers…

    discusses…

    observes…

    suggests…

    extends…

    doubts…

    outlines…

    supports…

    explains…

    emphasizes…

    points out…

    theorizes…

    explores…

    established…

    proposes…

    thinks…

    evaluates…

    fails to…

    provides…

    verified…

    underscores…

    views…

    writes…

     

    Source:    University of Calgary