Academic English: Avoiding PlagiarismParaphrasing
Group DiscussionWhat is plagiarism?Come up with a definition.
Plagiarism can involve two things:
(1) Claiming somebodys idea as your own.(2) Claiming somebodys words as your own.
In academic circles, plagiarism is a serious offense that can ruin your career.
It is important for graduate students to understand the seriousness of the offense.
It is especially tempting for graduates students writing in a foreign language to use language from native speakers.
How to Avoid Plagiarism(1) Dont claim other peoples ideas as your own. This involves (a) writing in-text citations when you are using other peoples research and (b) creating a reference list at the end of your written work.
(2) Dont use other peoples words without direct quotations and citations.
If you dont want to use quotations then you must paraphrase the original text in your own words (and include a citation).
It is not acceptable to use large amounts of texts written by others as your own.
ParaphrasingSince an over abundance of quotations looks bad in academic writing, paraphrasing is an essential skill for academic writers.
What is paraphrasing?Paraphrasing is changing vocabulary and sentence structure so that the wording is original to you (though the idea is still somebody elses and must be cited).
Vocabulary: SynonymsPerhaps, the easiest way to begin paraphrasing is to find synonyms for key words.
Smoking is forbidden in the building.Smoking is prohibited on the premises.
Vocabulary: AntonymsAntonyms can also be used when the structure is changed from an affirmative sentence to a negative sentence.
Smoking is prohibited in the building.Smoking is not allowed in the building.
Vocabulary: Word FormYou can also change the form of important keyword from say a noun to a verb or adjective.
Chronic health problems have been linked to industrialization.Chronic health problems have been linked to the rise of industry.
Sentence Structure: Affirmative/NegativeAs already mentioned above negative sentences can be made affirmative or vice versa. Note some vocabulary shift is usually required to do this.
Few learners willingly participate.Most learners do not willingly participate.
Sentence Structure: Active/Passive VoiceAnother good structural change is changing active to passive voice or vice versa.
Researchers have found compelling evidence that smoking causes cancer.Compelling evidence that smoking causes cancer has been found.
Sentence Structure: Gerund/Infinitive StructuresAnother good structural change is changing active to passive voice or vice versa.
Speaking with married women is taboo in some cultures.Its taboo to speak with married women in some cultures.
Sentence Structure: Other StructuresThe possibilities are endless for changing structure. Modals for example can often be rewritten.
He may have committed a fraud.It is possible that he committed a fraud.
Paraphrasing Longer WorksWhen paraphrasing longer works (as in doing summaries) you should also consider changing the sentence order when possible.
Over grazing on the steppe lands of Asia has resulted in a loss of ground cover. This in turn has left soil exposed to the wind resulting in a yellow dust that blows across China, Korea, and Japan.
The yellow dust that afflicts some East Asian countries occurs as a result of soil being exposed to winds. This is due to overgrazing on the Asian steppe which erodes the ground cover.
Lets try some examples in class.