Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism: From Passage to Paraphrase
Learn how to properly paraphrase from an original passage.
Transcript: From Passage to Paraphrase
Read the Passage
Let’s look at an example of paraphrasing an original passage. This passage is from Shelley Mallett’s article, Understanding home: a Critical Review of the Literature:
"Research on the meaning and experience of home has proliferated over the past two decades, particularly within the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, psychology, human geography, history, architecture and philosophy....However,...few have translated this awareness into genuinely interdisciplinary studies of the meaning of home" (Mallet, 2004, p. 64).
Identify Main Ideas
First, let’s look at the passage and try to identify what the key ideas are. This will help us think about paraphrasing the ideas, rather than paraphrasing sentences. A closer look at the passage reveals two main ideas: First, the idea that the past 20 years have seen an expansion of research on the study of home. Second, that this topic has not been studied in an interdisciplinary way.
Writing the Paraphrase
Using this understanding we can now start to think about changing the structure and wording of the passage. Some of this work has already been done, just in the process of working through the “gist.”
The paraphrase now reads: The meaning of home has yet to be studied in a truly interdisciplinary way, despite the fact that in the past 20 years there has been growing interest in the topic from scholars across diverse fields ranging from sociology to architecture (Mallet, 2004).
Compare the Paraphrase to the Original
As a final step, it’s important to compare the paraphrase to the original. We need to make sure no more than 3-4 words in a row are copied and that the paraphrase uses no more than 20% of the original language. We also need to make sure that the paraphrase is accurate. Here, words that are copied from the original are in blue; words that are copied, but which are considered technical or essential terms are in green. The paraphrase accurately captures the idea while thoroughly changing the words and structure of the original
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