Help me study for my English class. Im stuck and dont understand.
Learning how to effectively quote and paraphrase research can be difficult and it certainly takes practice. Hopefully, your abilities to make good use of your research will improve as you work through the exercises in part two and three of The Process of Research Writing, not to mention as you take on other research writing experiences beyond this class. The goal of this chapter is to introduce some basic strategies for summarizing, quoting and paraphrasing research in your writing and to explain how to avoid plagiarizing your research.
A summary is a brief explanation of a longer text. Some summaries, such as the ones that accompany annotated bibliographies, are very short, just a sentence or two. Others are much longer, though summaries are always much shorter than the text being summarized in the first place.
Summaries of different lengths are useful in research writing because you often need to provide your readers with an explanation of the text you are discussing. This is especially true when you are going to quote or paraphrase from a source.
Of course, the first step in writing a good summary is to do a thorough reading of the text you are going to summarize in the first place. Beyond that important start, there are a few basic guidelines you should follow when you write summary material:
Writers quote and paraphrase from research in order to support their points and to persuade their readers. A quote or a paraphrase from a piece of evidence in support of a point answers the readers question, says who?
This is especially true in academic writing since scholarly readers are most persuaded by effective research and evidence. For example, readers of an article about a new cancer medication published in a medical journal will be most interested in the scholars research and statistics that demonstrate the effectiveness of the treatment. Conversely, they will not be as persuaded by emotional stories from individual patients about how a new cancer medication improved the quality of their lives. While this appeal to emotion can be effective and is common in popular sources, these individual anecdotes do not carry the same sort of scholarly or scientific value as well-reasoned research and evidence.
Of course, your instructor is not expecting you to be an expert on the topic of your research paper. While you might conduct some primary research, its a good bet that youll be relying on secondary sources such as books, articles, and Web sites to inform and persuade your readers. Youll present this research to your readers in the form of quotes and paraphrases.
A quote is a direct restatement of the exact words from the original source. The general rule of thumb is any time you use three or more words as they appeared in the original source, you should treat it as a quote. A paraphrase is a restatement of the information or point of the original source in your own words.
While quotes and paraphrases are different and should be used in different ways in your research writing (as the examples in this section suggest), they do have a number of things in common. Both quotes and paraphrases should:
The method you should follow to properly quote or paraphrase depends on the style guide you are following in your academic writing. The two most common style guides used in academic writing are the Modern Language Association (MLA), and the American Psychological Association (APA). I discuss both of these different style guides in some detail in the Appendix of this book. Your instructor will probably assign one of these styles before you begin working on your project, however, if he/she doesnt mention this, be sure to ask.
The real art to research writing is using quotes and paraphrases from evidence effectively in order to support your point. There are certain rules, dictated by the rules of style you are following, such as the ones presented by the MLA or the ones presented by the APA. There are certain guidelines and suggestions, like the ones I offer in the previous section and the ones you will learn from your teacher and colleagues.
But when all is said and done, the question of when to quote and when to paraphrase depends a great deal on the specific context of the writing and the effect you are trying to achieve. Learning the best times to quote and paraphrase takes practice and experience.
In general, it is best to use a quote when:
In general, it is best to paraphrase when:
Here are four examples of what I mean about properly quoting and paraphrasing evidence in your research essays. In each case, I begin with a BAD example, or the way NOT to quote or paraphrase.
Heres the first BAD example, where the writer is trying to follow the rules of MLA style:
There are many positive effects for advertising prescription drugs on television. African-American physicians regard direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines as one way to educate minority patients about needed treatment and healthcare options (Wechsler, Internet).
This is a potentially good piece of information to support a research writers claim, but the researcher hasnt done any of the necessary work to explain where this quote comes from or to explain why it is important for supporting her point. Rather, she has simply dropped in the quote, leaving the interpretation of its significance up to the reader.
Now consider this revised GOOD (or at least BETTER) example of how this quote might be better introduced into the essay:
In her Pharmaceutical Executive article available through the Wilson Select Internet database, Jill Wechsler writes about one of the positive effects of advertising prescription drugs on television. African-American physicians regard direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines as one way to educate minority patients about needed treatment and healthcare options.
In this revision, its much more clear what point the writer is trying to make with this evidence and where this evidence comes from.
In this particular example, the passage is from a traditional print journal called Pharmaceutical Executive. However, the writer needs to indicate that she actually found and read this article through Wilson Select, an Internet database which reproduces the full text of articles from periodicals without any graphics, charts, or page numbers.
When you use a direct quote in your research, you need to the indicate page number of that direct quote or you need to indicate that the evidence has no specific page numbers. While it can be a bit awkward to indicate within the text how the writer found this information if its from the Internet, its important to do so on the first reference of a piece of evidence in your writing. On references to this piece of evidence after the first reference, you can use just the last name of the writer. For example:
Wechsler also reports on the positive effects of advertising prescription drugs on television. She writes
In this example, the writer is using MLA style to write a research essay for a Literature class. Here is a BAD example of a paraphrase:
While Gatsby is deeply in love with Daisy in The Great Gatsby, his love for her is indistinguishable from his love of his possessions (Callahan).
There are two problems with this paraphrase. First, if this is the first or only reference to this particular piece of evidence in the research essay, the writer should include more information about the source of this paraphrase in order to properly introduce it. Second, this paraphrase is actually not of the entire article but rather of a specific passage. The writer has neglected to note the page number within the parenthetical citation.
A GOOD or at least BETTER revision of this paraphrase might look like this:
John F. Callahan suggests in his article F. Scott Fitzgeralds Evolving American Dream that while Gatsby is deeply in love with Daisy in The Great Gatsby, his love for her is indistinguishable from his love of his possessions (381).
By incorporating the name of the author of the evidence the research writer is referring to here, the source of this paraphrase is now clear to the reader. Furthermore, because there is a page number at the end of this sentence, the reader understands that this passage is a paraphrase of a particular part of Callahans essay and not a summary of the entire essay. Again, if the research writer had introduced this source to his readers earlier, he could have started with a phrase like Callahan suggests and then continued on with his paraphrase.
If the research writer were offering a brief summary of the entire essay following MLA style, he wouldnt include a page number in parentheses. For example:
John F. Callahans article F. Scott Fitzgeralds Evolving American Dream examines Fitzgeralds fascination with the elusiveness of the American Dream in the novels The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, and The Last Tycoon.
Consider this BAD example in APA style, of what NOT to do when quoting evidence:
If the U.S. scallop fishery were a business, its management would surely be fired, because its revenues could readily be increased by at least 50 percent while its costs were being reduced by an equal percentage. (Repetto, 2001, p. 84).
Again, this is a potentially valuable piece of evidence, but it simply isnt clear what point the research writer is trying to make with it. Further, it doesnt follow the preferred method of citation with APA style.
Here is a revision that is a GOOD or at least BETTER example:
Repetto (2001) concludes that in the case of the scallop industry, those running the industry should be held responsible for not considering methods that would curtail the problems of over-fishing. If the U.S. scallop fishery were a business, its management would surely be fired, because its revenues could readily be increased by at least 50 percent while its costs were being reduced by an equal percentage (p. 84).
This revision is improved because the research writer has introduced and explained the point of the evidence with the addition of a clarifying sentence. It also follows the rules of APA style. Generally, APA style prefers that the research writer refer to the author only by last name followed immediately by the year of publication. Whenever possible, you should begin your citation with the authors last name and the year of publication, and, in the case of a direct quote like this passage, the page number (including the p.) in parentheses at the end.
Paraphrasing in APA style is slightly different from MLA style as well. Consider first this BAD example of what NOT to do in paraphrasing from a source in APA style:
Computer criminals have lots of ways to get away with credit card fraud (Cameron, 2002).
The main problem with this paraphrase is there isnt enough here to adequately explain to the reader what the point of the evidence really is. Remember: your readers have no way of automatically knowing why you as a research writer think that a particular piece of evidence is useful in supporting your point. This is why it is key that you introduce and explain your evidence.
Here is a revision that is GOOD or at least BETTER:
Cameron (2002) points out that computer criminals intent on committing credit card fraud are able to take advantage of the fact that there arent enough officials working to enforce computer crimes. Criminals are also able to use the technology to their advantage by communicating via email and chat rooms with other criminals.
Again, this revision is better because the additional information introduces and explains the point of the evidence. In this particular example, the authors name is also incorporated into the explanation of the evidence as well. In APA, it is preferable to weave in the authors name into your essay, usually at the beginning of a sentence. However, it would also have been acceptable to end an improved paraphrase with just the authors last name and the date of publication in parentheses.
Plagiarism is the unauthorized or uncredited use of the writings or ideas of another in your writing. While it might not be as tangible as auto theft or burglary, plagiarism is still a form of theft.
In the academic world, plagiarism is a serious matter because ideas in the forms of research, creative work, and original thought are highly valued. Chances are, your school has strict rules about what happens when someone is caught plagiarizing. The penalty for plagiarism is severe, everything from a failing grade for the plagiarized work, a failing grade for the class, or expulsion from the institution.
You might not be aware that plagiarism can take several different forms. The most well known, purposeful plagiarism, is handing in an essay written by someone else and representing it as your own, copying your essay word for word from a magazine or journal, or downloading an essay from the Internet.
A much more common and less understood phenomenon is what I call accidental plagiarism. Accidental plagiarism is the result of improperly paraphrasing, summarizing, quoting, or citing your evidence in your academic writing. Generally, writers accidentally plagiarize because they simply dont know or they fail to follow the rules for giving credit to the ideas of others in their writing.
Both purposeful and accidental plagiarism are wrong, against the rules, and can result in harsh punishments. Ignoring or not knowing the rules of how to not plagiarize and properly cite evidence might be an explanation, but it is not an excuse.
To exemplify what Im getting at, consider the examples below that use quotations and paraphrases from this brief passage:
Those who denounce cyberculture today strangely resemble those who criticized rock music during the fifties and sixties. Rock started out as an Anglo-American phenomenon and has become an industry. Nonetheless, it was able to capture the hopes of young people around the world and provided enjoyment to those of us who listened to or played rock. Sixties pop was the conscience of one or two generations that helped bring the war in Vietnam to a close. Obviously, neither rock nor pop has solved global poverty or hunger. But is this a reason to be against them? (ix).
And just to make it clear that Im not plagiarizing this passage, here is the citation in MLA style:
Lévy, Pierre. Cyberculture. Trans. Robert Bononno. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2001.
Heres an obvious example of plagiarism:
Those who denounce cyberculture today strangely resemble those who criticized rock music during the fifties and sixties.
In this case, the writer has literally taken one of Lévys sentences and represented it as her own. Thats clearly against the rules.
Heres another example of plagiarism, perhaps less obvious:
The same kind of people who criticize cyberculture are the same kind of people who criticized rock and roll music back in the fifties and sixties. But both cyberculture and rock music inspire and entertain young people.
While these arent Lévys exact words, they are certainly close enough to constitute a form of plagiarism. And again, even though you might think that this is a lesser form of plagiarism, its still plagiarism.
Both of these passages can easily be corrected to make them acceptable quotations or paraphrases.
In the introduction of his book Cyberculture, Pierre Lévy observes that Those who denounce cyberculture today strangely resemble those who criticized rock music during the fifties and sixties (ix).
Pierre Lévy suggests that the same kind of people who criticize cyberculture are the same kind of people who criticized rock and roll music back in the fifties and sixties. But both cyberculture and rock music inspire and entertain young people (ix).
Note that changing these passages from examples of plagiarism to acceptable examples of a quotation and a paraphrase is extremely easy: properly cite your sources.
This leads to the golden rule of avoiding plagiarism:
Always cite your sources. If you are unsure as to whether you should or should not cite a particular claim or reference, you should probably cite your source.
Often, students are unclear as to whether or not they need to cite a piece of evidence because they believe it to be common knowledge or because they are not sure about the source of information. When in doubt about whether or not to cite evidence in order to give credit to a source (common knowledge or not), you should cite the evidence.
Sometimes, I think the ease of finding and retrieving information on the World Wide Web makes readers think that this information does not need to be cited. After all, it isnt a traditional source like a book or a journal; it is available for free. All a research writer needs to do with a web site is cut and paste whatever he needs into his essay, right? Wrong!
You need to cite the evidence you find from the Internet or the World Wide Web the same way you cite evidence from other sources. To not do this is plagiarism, or, more bluntly, cheating. Just because the information is freely available on the Internet does not mean you can use this information in your academic writing without properly citing it, much in the same way that the information from library journals and books freely available to you needs to be cited in order to give credit where credit is due.
It is also not acceptable to simply download graphics from the World Wide Web. Images found on the Internet are protected by copyright laws. Quite literally, taking images from the Web (particularly from commercial sources) is an offense that could lead to legal action. There are places where you can find graphics and clip art that Web publishers have made publicly available for anyone to use, but be sure that the Web site where you find the graphics makes this explicit before you take graphics as your own.
In short, you can use evidence from the Web as long as you dont plagiarize and as long as you properly cite it; dont take graphics from the Web unless you know the images are in the public domain.
Why Work with Us
Top Quality and Well-Researched Papers
We always make sure that writers follow all your instructions precisely. You can choose your academic level: high school, college/university or professional, and we will assign a writer who has a respective degree.
Professional and Experienced Academic Writers
We have a team of professional writers with experience in academic and business writing. Many are native speakers and able to perform any task for which you need help.
Free Unlimited Revisions
If you think we missed something, send your order for a free revision. You have 10 days to submit the order for review after you have received the final document. You can do this yourself after logging into your personal account or by contacting our support.
Prompt Delivery and 100% Money-Back-Guarantee
All papers are always delivered on time. In case we need more time to master your paper, we may contact you regarding the deadline extension. In case you cannot provide us with more time, a 100% refund is guaranteed.
Original & Confidential
We use several writing tools checks to ensure that all documents you receive are free from plagiarism. Our editors carefully review all quotations in the text. We also promise maximum confidentiality in all of our services.
24/7 Customer Support
Our support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and committed to providing you with the best customer experience. Get in touch whenever you need any assistance.
Try it now!
How it works?
Follow these simple steps to get your paper done
Place your order
Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.
Proceed with the payment
Choose the payment system that suits you most.
Receive the final file
Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.
No need to work on your paper at night. Sleep tight, we will cover your back. We offer all kinds of writing services.
No matter what kind of academic paper you need and how urgent you need it, you are welcome to choose your academic level and the type of your paper at an affordable price. We take care of all your paper needs and give a 24/7 customer care support system.
Admission Essays & Business Writing Help
An admission essay is an essay or other written statement by a candidate, often a potential student enrolling in a college, university, or graduate school. You can be rest assurred that through our service we will write the best admission essay for you.
Our academic writers and editors make the necessary changes to your paper so that it is polished. We also format your document by correctly quoting the sources and creating reference lists in the formats APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago / Turabian.
If you think your paper could be improved, you can request a review. In this case, your paper will be checked by the writer or assigned to an editor. You can use this option as many times as you see fit. This is free because we want you to be completely satisfied with the service offered.