Avoiding Plagiarism by Paraphrasing

Avoiding Plagiarism by Paraphrasing

When you write papers, you will paraphrase more than you quote for avoiding plagiarism. For a report or research paper, you may need to gather background information that is important to the paper but does not deserve direct citation. In fact, direct citation is rarely used in technical writing.

Exactly what does “paraphrase” mean?

This means taking words from another source and rendering them using your own vocabulary. This way, you keep the meaning of the original text, but don’t copy its exact wording for avoiding plagiarism.

ORIGINAL PLAGIARISM PARAPHRASING
Because of their unique perspective, Americans fear globalization less than anyone and therefore think of it less than anyone. When Americans think of globalization, they think of the global economy as an extended version of the American economy.

 

(Source: Thurow, L. (1993). Fortune Favors the Bold (p. 6). New York: Harper Collins.)

According to Lester Thurow (1993), Americans fear globalization less than people in other countries and therefore spend less time thinking about it. In fact, Americans see globalization as an expanded version of their economy.

Why this plagiarism?

The author used Thurow’s exact words without the quotation marks. It has just replaced the synonyms here and there. Although Thurow is being quoted, it is considered plagiarism.

Lester Thurow (1993) argues that because Americans see globalization as a larger form of their own economy, they care less about it than the rest of the world.

Why is this acceptable?

The author kept the meaning of the original passage without copying the words or structure. Words like globalization and American are generic terms (ie terms commonly used for the concept they illustrate; synonyms are hard to find). Therefore, you can use these words without enclosing them in quotation marks.

(The full Thurow reference appears in the Bibliography)

 

What strategies can I use to paraphrase?

  • Use synonyms for all non-generic words. Words like world, food or science are so basic in our vocabulary that it is difficult to find a synonym.
  • Change the sentence structure.
  • Change the voice from active to passive and vice versa.
  • Change the clauses in sentences and vice versa.
  • Change the parts of speech.

 

Example 1

Original ACCEPTABLE PARAPHRASIE# 1 ACCEPTABLE PARAPHRASIE# 2
Like droughts, excessive rainfall and floods, they can also contribute to the outbreak of water-borne infectious diseases, in this case due to poor sanitation due to leaks from sewage spills or water pollution for cattle.

(Source: Shuman, E., M.D. (March 25, 2010). Global Climate Change and Infectious Diseases. New England Journal of Medicine; 362, 12, 1061-1063. Retrieved from nejm.org of MIT Libraries.)

Synonyms Used

 

 

 

An overabundance of rainfall can also be a factor in the spread of water-borne infectious diseases, usually due to seed runoff and animal contamination (Shuman, 2010).

Changed Structure of the sentence

 

 

 

When there is an overabundance of rainfall, two situations can occur: sewers can overflow and water can be contaminated by the presence of animals, which can lead to outbreaks of water-borne diseases (Shuman, 2010).

 

Example 2

ORIGINAL ACCEPTABLE PARAPHRASE
Current political and economic incentives favor industry and other health groups to the detriment of health: consider subsidies paid for corn-based agriculture and mass-produced processed foods, tobacco revenues generated in countries where the tobacco industry is owned by the state, industrial growth in the face of environmental pollution and the spread of sedentary car culture and television.

(Source: Venkat Narayan, K.M., Ali, M.K. & Koplan, J. (September 23, 2010). Global Noncommunicable Diseases: Where the Worlds Meet. The New England Journal of Medicine, 363; 13: 1196-1198. org in MIT libraries).

Changing the voice and changing the parts of speech

 

Researchers point out that in an effort to achieve economic growth, industry is often favored over health: the government can subsidize certain forms of agriculture and food production, contribute to tobacco consumption in countries where it has industry, and stimulate the growth of polluting industries. . . (Venkat Narayan et al, 2011).

 

Example 3

ORIGINAL Acceptable Paraphrase: Changed Clause to Phrase
The prevalence and impact of noncommunicable diseases continue to increase. Chronic diseases account for 60% of all deaths globally, and 80% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where the balance is disproportionately high in the most productive years of youth and middle age.

(Source: Venkat Narayan, K.M., Ali, M.K. & Koplan, J. (2010, September 23). Global Noncommunicable Diseases: Where the Worlds Meet. The New England Journal of Medicine, 363; 13. 1196-1198 Excerpt from nejm. org in MIT libraries).

The growing prevalence of noncommunicable diseases is reflected in figures showing that these diseases are responsible for 60% of all deaths on the planet and that, in countries with predominantly low- and middle-income populations, the impact is greater, often focusing on the young or middle-aged (Venkat Narayan et al, 2011).

 

 

 

 

 

Example 4: Using Multiple Strategies to Paraphrase

ORIGINAL ACCEPTABLE PARAPHRASIE# 1 ACCEPTABLE PARAPHRASE# 2
We still do not understand all the ways in which the chemicals in the brain are linked to emotions and thoughts, but the most important point is that our mental state has an immediate and direct effect on our body condition.

 

 

 

(Source: Siegel, B. (1986).
Love, medicine and miracles (p. 69). New York: Harper and Row.)

Siegel (1986) writes that although the relationship between brain chemistry and thoughts and feelings is not fully understood, we know that our psychological state affects our physical condition.

 

 

What did the writer do?

  • synonyms used
  • changing the structure of the sentence
  • Voice change
  • quoted source

Words like brain are generic and should not be changed.

Siegel (1986) writes that the relationship between the chemicals in the brain and our thoughts and feelings is only partially understood. He goes on to say, however, that one thing is clear: our state of mind affects our body condition.

 

What did the writer do?

  • synonyms used
  • Sentence structure changed (uses two sentences instead of one)
  • Voice change
  • Modified parts of speech
  • quoted source

Words like brain and chemicals are generic and should not be changed.

 

Example 5: Unacceptable Paraphrase

ORIGINAL Unacceptable Paraphrase# 1 Unacceptable Paraphrase# 2
We still do not understand all the ways in which the chemicals in the brain are linked to emotions and thoughts, but the most important point is that our mental state has an immediate and direct effect on our body condition.

 

 

 

 

(Source: Siegel, B. (1986).
Love, medicine and miracles (p. 69). New York: Harper and Row.)

Siegel (1986) writes that we do not yet know all the relationships between brain chemistry and emotions and thoughts, but what is important is that our mental state has an immediate and direct effect on our physical condition.

Why is this unacceptable?

  • The author kept exactly the same sentence structure.
  • The writer had substituted only synonyms in certain places; in others, the wording is exactly the same as the original.
  • Although the author mentions the original source in the introductory sentence, the result is plagiarism.
According to Siegel (1986), the mind affects our body quickly and directly, although we still do not understand all aspects of the relationship between the chemicals in the brain and emotions and thoughts.

Why is this unacceptable?

  • Although the author changed the structure of the sentence, the key phrases were taken directly from the original.
  • Although the author mentions the original source in the introductory sentence, the result is plagiarism.

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