Pop Quiz Question
1. If you find a useful paragraph on the Internet and rewrite it completely in your own words, does it still need a citation?
Yes or No
mmmmmhh.... Let me see.... Of course it still needs a citation! Even if you change all of the words, including inventing a new word for "the" your new piece of writing needs a citation because you have brought along the author's idea into your writing. And there you have the definition of paraphrasing!
Once again, we encounter our two guardian lions, Clarity and Honesty, silently present, helping us to write better. Paraphrasing adds a clarifying and dynamic rhythm to our college writing. It allows you to bring an author's idea forward by mixing it with your own way of writing, adding it to your text in a sense-making exercise that has the added benefit of breaking up the banal tendency of stringing together way too many quotations.
Honesty enters though the bits and pieces that bring together in-text citations, the snipits of text that nimbly point to the external authorial source(s) that you have invited into your college writing project. Hiding in plain sight, these tiny markers work within the clear waters of your polished work, giving notice, where notice is due.
I guess every decent guide deserves at least one Learning Moment... so here it comes!
Paraphrasing is all about writing about an author's idea in your own words, really, in your own words. There is an artistry to paraphrasing well, an artistry that takes time and practice to not only write another person's idea in your own words, but also write in such a way that it adds a harmonious blend within the body of your own work.
Naturally, there are short-cuts that attempt to look like paraphrasing, but fall far short of the mark, drifting into the ugly specter of plagiarism. These short-cuts have fancy names:
Word-Stringing is adding a few word strands from the original text to your own sentence, without quotation marks.
Substitution is the action of replacing one or two words from the original text with synonymous words to form a new sentence.
Addition refers to adding a few words to the original text, to form a new sentence or paragraph.
Deletion refers to removing a few words from the original text, to form a new sentence or paragraph.
Reversal consists of rearranging the sentence order or interchanging phrases.
This exercise has the following aims:
1. Allows students to identify paraphrasing pitfalls and makes room for practice in this area.
Instructions for Exercise Sheet 1
The first line in Exercise Sheet 1 consists of original text. The following lines are attempts at paraphrasing the original text. Have students identify the "short-cut" in each line. (word-stringing, substitution, addition,... etc.)
Following this, students will write two or three separate sentences that correctly paraphrase the original sentence.
Exercise Sheet 1
"Kirsty felt that once she had read the same point several times, it would not require attribution because she felt that she then ‘knew’ it."
1. As a conscientious student, Kirsty felt that once she had read the same point several times, it would not require attribution because she felt that she then ‘knew’ it very well. (Thompson, 2009, p. 7)
2. One student felt that once she had read the same point repeatedly, it would not require a citation because she felt that she then ‘knew’ it. (Thompson, 2009, p. 7)
3. Kirsty felt that once she had read the section repeatedly, a citation would not be necessary because she felt that she then ‘knew’ it. (Thompson, 2009, p. 7)
4. Kirsty felt that she then ‘knew’ it, once she had read the same point several times, and therefore it would not require attribution. (Thompson, 2009, p. 7)
5. Kirsty felt that once she had read it, it would not require attribution because she then ‘knew’ it. (Thompson, 2009, p. 7)