How to Avoid Plagiarism

Guidelines for Avoiding Paraphrasing and Summarizing Errors

Guidelines V through VIII deal with paraphrasing and summarizing.

Is the following statement true or false?

Citation is required only when you reproduce a person's exact words, not when you paraphrase or summarize them.

 

The statement is false.

Quotations, paraphrases, and summaries all need to be introduced and then cited. Place a citation at the end of the paraphrase or summary, just as you would after a quotation.

Guideline V: Introduce your source before you restate its words or ideas in a paraphrase or summary. Then when you finish your paraphrase or summary, cite the source.

Here is an example of an incorrect summary:

The stories of Sherlock Holmes celebrate the notion of home, reassuring us that our lives are not boring.

Explanation:

The above is a very common mistake. The student here has condensed a couple of pages from the source but has not acknowledged the author.

This may look like a simple case of mediocre analysis, but many teacher will correctly see it as plagiarism. The student is passing off the author's ideas as his or her own.

Here are examples of a correct summary:

The stories of Sherlock Holmes celebrate the notion of home, reassuring us that our lives are not boring (Harbison, 1970, pp. 25-26).

Harbison (1970) believes that the stories of Sherlock Holmes celebrate the notion of home, reassuring us that our lives are not boring (pp. 25-26).