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What is Paraphrasing?

The literal meaning of paraphrasing is to use an individual’s ideas to add more weightage to one’s own work. In paraphrasing, one rewrite passages, sentences and words while keeping the same meaning of the content.

While paraphrasing, we should avoid using too many direct quotes as it reduces the credibility of the paper and makes the paper more or less like the original author’s paper. It does not display any personal knowledge of the writer as well as loose the freshness of words or sentences. If paraphrasing is done properly without bearing much resemblance to the original text, it is usually more concise and readable.

Paraphrasing should not be restricted by quotation marks and simply changing a few words or sentences here and there is not deemed as paraphrasing. In fact, it is plagiarism that can be offensive and has severe consequences.

In a sentence, paraphrasing is rephrasing a passage with different words and structure while keeping the same meaning along with proper citations.

Proper Citation

Like direct quoting, paraphrasing must also be cited. Despite the words or sentences being one’s own, the gist of the material is still borrowed; thus, the author of that material must be cited properly.

Note-taking and Paraphrasing

When one takes proper notes, the risk of plagiarism is reduced. While taking notes, the words and sentences from the source should not be replicated unless the person intends to quote the source.

On the contrary, one should read the entire text, understand the core idea and then form key points. If one does not take notes and paraphrases directly then the risk of committing unintentional plagiarism is increased. It is important to know that note taking ensures that the writer develops and organizes his/her own ideas.

Wrong Way to Paraphrase (Failure to Cite Source)

Original Passage: Conventional wisdom assumes that religion is on the decline in western societies – that the forces of modernization and particularly secularization are simply too strong and so the once dominant force of religion in public life has now been radically curtailed. (Headstrom, 2006)

Source: Matthew Headstrom, The Basics of Religion by Malory Nye, 2006

Paraphrased: The general notion these days is that the concept of religion is rapidly declining in the West mainly as the people over there are influenced by the new wave of technology and advancement, which have accelerated the process of modernization.

Explanation: Although the original text has been paraphrased properly above, it is still considered to be plagiarized because the author has not cited the source.

Cheating Trends

The following graphs show the trends of cheaters:

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The above statistical diagrams show the level of plagiarism that a student resort to. Mild cheating is the highest, serious test cheating is the lowest while plagiarism is approximately 50%.

To conclude, we can say that plagiarism is a sordid crime; the rising statistics show that it is increasing among students in academic institutions. Sometimes it is is due to the academic pressure that they resort to plagiarism but majority of the times, it is because of laidback attitude. Plagiarism should be severely dealt with because it not only undermines the intelligence of our youth but will also have an adverse impact in the job market and economy as sometimes plagiarism may not be caught and students are granted jobs on the mere basis of their degrees; whereas, they may have just taken the easy way out during their academic life.

To ensure that there is no such dilemma, the paraphrasing strategy should be adopted and plagiarism must be avoided by properly paraphrasing the source content and giving the due credit to the original author.