By the time you have completed this task, you will be able to:
- Use paraphrasing strategies to avoid accidental plagiarism
- Extract key information from articles that you will use to prepare research summaries
Integrating Material from Research
One of the main tasks in academic research is to incorporate material from other sources and to discuss this material in light of the argument you are making. One popular book on academic writing uses the phrases “They Say/I Say” in its title (Graff, Birkenstein & Dunst, 2012); this is an excellent way to describe this process.
|-Information that you learned from your research and reading (either a quote, paraphrase, or summary).
|-Your discussion of this information, related to how it supports the key points in your paragraph, and how it supports your thesis.
Quote, Paraphrase, Summarize – What’s the Difference?
- Direct quote: This uses information word for word from your original source. Short quotations must be in “quotation marks”, while longer quotations are indented (search for information on block quotations for details)
- Paraphrase: Ideas from another source are written in your own words. It is NOT enough just to change a few words. You must rewrite the idea in your own sentence or paragraph. All paraphrases must include in in-text citation after the information.
- Summary: A much shorter presentation of the information you have read – for example, a sentence that describes the information in an entire chapter or research article.
All of the above require an in-text citation after the information is presented.
How to Paraphrase
Writing an original paraphrase takes work! The following steps can help you avoid accidental plagiarism when paraphrasing.
- Read the text 2 or more times, until you are sure that you understand it well. Take the time to look up words that you do not understand.
- Close the book or put the article aside. Say the meaning of what you have just read out loud.
- Based on the information you said aloud, write down your paraphrase.
- Check the paraphrase against the book or article to make sure that key details are correct.
Consider the following paragraph:
Self-testing is one of the most powerful study strategies. Creating good questions requires you to think critically about what you need to learn (planning). Testing whether you can answer questions without referring to a text or notes, as you would in an exam, allows you to effectively monitor your progress. The trick to effective self-testing is to ask the right questions. In university, you are required to move beyond recalling basic facts and details, and must learn to apply and analyze material deeply (Kwantlen Polytechnic University Learning Centres, 2018, p.63). 
In this exercise, you will follow the four step method described above to create a paraphrase of this paragraph.
- Read the paragraph at least two times, making sure you understand it thoroughly.
- Look away from the exercise and say your paraphrase out loud.
- Now, without looking at the original information, write your original paraphrase on a separate sheet of paper.
- Check to see that your paraphrase is accurate.
As you take notes from articles to prepare your research summary, take the time to paraphrase, rather than copying quotations. This will help you to understand the article more clearly, and will help you avoid accidental plagiarism when it comes time to write.
Consider the following template for notetaking. The template can be downloaded here.
You are required to use APA style in this assignment. Unsure of how to do this? Or perhaps you have done this before, but are unsure of some of the small details. The video quiz below will help you to review APA citation basics. After the quiz, you will find links to library resources where you will find further help.
If you have questions as you work, use the Ask a Librarian page to send your question off for a quick answer.
- Graff, G., Birkenstein, C., & Durst, R. K. (2012). “They say/I say”: the moves that matter in academic writing: with readings (2nd ed). New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ↵
- Kwantlen Polytechnic University Learning Centres. (2018). University 101: Study, Strategize, Succeed. (C. Page, Ed.). Surrey: Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved from https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/studystrategizesucceed/ ↵
- McMaster University (2009) Three Column Note taking. http://www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity/students/typeofad/plagiarism/3ColmNote.html ↵