When writing an academic paper many students usually attempt to paraphrase to avoid plagiarism. The problem is most students end up being accused of plagiarism because they do not know how to properly paraphrase the information. Using a thesaurus to change a few key words does not constitute as paraphrasing. Before you can paraphrase properly you first must know what a paraphrase is not.
Before we get to the first step you first must understand that paraphrasing and summarizing aren't the same. Summarizing is taking someone's complete thought and shrinking it down to a few key words or statements. Summarizing is like condensed soup - it has all the ingredients of soup without the liquid.
Lawyers use this technique a lot when presenting their side of an argument in a court case. They will briefly highlight their opponent's case in key points. For example, they might say, "The defendant in this case is going to tell you they were out of town at a party with 100 guests when the crime took place." The lawyer will then tell you he is going to prove to you the individual actually was not at the party because all 100 guests say they never saw the individual there. And then the lawyer will briefly state another fact he has uncovered that will show he was somewhere else.
Summarizing is giving the reader enough background so they will have the needed information to understand the point or points you are trying to make within your paper.
Paraphrasing means restating information using your own words. It is not a summarization of the facts but is a rewriting of all the information in a format that suits your academic paper and fits your own style of writing. When summarizing you must remember to cite the source in the proper format for the style of paper you are writing.
Now, follow these seven steps and your professor will not have any grounds to accuse you of plagiarism.
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