Every reputable institution of learning adopts strategies to help students avoid plagiarism in academic writing. Writing a research paper involves sifting through a lot of information to come up with the strongest argument possible. In your paper, you will need to draw on previously established values and ideas and add relevant material, but you must do so with caution to avoid plagiarism. To avoid plagiarism, you must grasp how to paraphrase and quote properly.
Plagiarism is the unprincipled practice of stealing another researcher’s words or ideas (either intentionally or accidentally) or your own earlier efforts (self-plagiarism) without giving due credit to such sources. Plagiarism is a significant academic and intellectual infraction that can have far-reaching effects, such as the retraction of papers and the tarnishment of an author’s credibility. It’s a huge issue right now in academic publishing, and it’s a big reason why papers get withdrawn or rejected by Journal Paper reviewers.
To paraphrase is to put someone else’s thoughts or viewpoint into your own words. To write someone else’s notion in a different language without affecting the meaning is all it takes to paraphrase.
Instead of copying and pasting someone else’s exact words and putting quotation marks around them, you can paraphrase. When writing for an academic audience, paraphrasing rather than directly quoting demonstrates that you’ve read and absorbed the source material, and it also gives your work more of an original voice.
It is critical to cite your sources every time you paraphrase, otherwise, it will amount to plagiarism as the main idea did not originate from you. In addition, you must avoid using language that sounds too much like the original.
To quote, your document must have the same words as the original without altering any part. The quotation marks (“”) or indenting the cited text distinguishes it from your own words in your writing. All quoted material should be cited, whether in endnotes, footnotes, or in-text citations, in addition to quotation marks or indenting. It is a known practice that when you have up to 40 words you want to quote, you are expected to indent and cite the author in a bracket.
Some principles to follow when paraphrasing – Avoid Plagiarism in Academic Writing
- Vital information should be duly referenced.
- Place the concepts in the same order as they appear in the original text to avoid confusing the reader.
- Avoid including opinions or information that is not of the author’s statement.
- Do your best to adopt phrases or words different from the primary text.
Strategies for paraphrasing
- Switch the structure of the sentence
- Switch the part of speech
- Non-generic words should be replaced with synonyms
- Use passive tones in place of active tones and vice versa
- Switch between clauses and phrases and vice versa
Tips on how to paraphrase a text without plagiarizing – Avoid Plagiarism in Academic Writing
As discussed initially, to paraphrase, you need to read a book and any other resource material and then use your own words to confirm what you learned from it. When paraphrasing, you don’t have to copy everything word for word; instead, you just need to convey your point. Please note, you are still plagiarizing if what you do is copy+paste+edit. This is far from what is expected of you.
So, here are some tips for paraphrasing a text:
- Paraphrasing contents seems to be an excellent opportunity to reduce citations while also reducing word count till the essential idea is synthesized.
- Be sure you alter the sentence form while retaining the primary ideas of the sentence by creating a connection between them.
- So that the paraphrase does not become plagiarism, it must differ sufficiently from the original content. When you use “your own words,” remember that plagiarism is still an issue if you don’t cite where you got them and they sound too much like the originals.
- Keep in mind that paraphrasing does not equate to summarizing the original passage. This is because a summary can cover more ground while still concentrating on the most important aspects of a larger topic. While paraphrasing focuses on a single thought or idea.
- If you want to avoid using long quotes, Paraphrasing is a great tool.
- Use languages or words other than those used by the author. However, make certain that the word used does not take away or depart from the author’s idea.
- Ensure that the paraphrased idea is free-flowing by connecting it to the rest of your writing.
- It’s not an easy effort to paraphrase a text. You might be tempted to use online paraphrasing tools but I can tell you that if not well managed, they can mess things up for you.
Things to note about paraphrasing
- Know when to paraphrase and when to quote: When there is a lot of information to cite and the thoughts can’t be articulated clearly, quoting will be great. Paraphrasing, on the other hand, is reserved for texts with a lot of information that can be expressed in your own words. When you paraphrase, you are doing a kind of translation from one language to another. The fundamental idea of the author should be preserved no matter how the paper is formatted or what words are employed.
- Know the reason for Paraphrasing: You should know as well as you can about the work you are using to support your study before you begin paraphrasing. It is not just about rewriting someone else’s words. The goal of paraphrasing is to employ a variety of sources to enhance your writing and make it easier for your readers to understand.
- Understand the passage you want to paraphrase: To avoid accidentally plagiarizing the ideas in the source material, be sure you comprehend the work you’re paraphrasing.
- Avoid Copying without using quotation marks: Do not paraphrase and directly quote without crediting the original author by putting their name in quotation marks around their ideas. Keep in mind that direct quotations are utilized whenever three words from another author’s work appear together in a sentence. To avoid being accused of plagiarism, make sure all quotations are enclosed in quotation marks.
Conclusion – Avoid Plagiarism in Academic Writing
Proper paraphrases must do four things:
- Precisely reflect the original facts and ideas.
- Pay attention to the important ideas in the source instead of exaggerating tiny and unimportant details.
- A source must be cited with the authors and page number
- Be in your words, if not, quotations marks must be used to show the primary words.
I believe at this point you should be able to paraphrase without committing plagiarism. If you still see paraphrasing as rocket science, here is a piece of information to understand it clearly.
Assume that you are reading for an exam;
How do you reproduce the same idea you have read when you are in the exam hall?
You write naturally while reproducing the same information you have read from your course material. That is paraphrasing. The key difference is that you need to carefully reference your sources in academic writing.
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