How to Avoid Plagiarism

Guidelines for Avoiding Paraphrasing and Summarizing Errors

Guideline VII...

Is the following statement true or false?

When you paraphrase, you need to change all of the source's words, including the jargon or technical terms.


The statement is false.

Terms like "data processing," "energy crisis," "Oedipus complex," or "strategic planning process" are widely understood technical terms that will not be mistaken for your own original expressions. Use such terms in your own text without paraphrasing them and enclosing them in quotations.

Guideline VII: In paraphrasing or summarizing technical materials, you may need to preserve some of the technical terms and expressions of the original.

Here is an example of a summary using a word or term common to a particular field of study:

In The Emotional Life of Toddlers, Lieberman points to a child's temperament in addition to other characteristics to help in understanding his or her responses to the world (1993).


The word "temperament" is frequently referred to in the study of early childhood development and does not need quotation marks around it, even though the word is borrowed directly from the text.

However, even though a word may be commonly used and understood, the student who practices good scholarship may want to clarify the precise meaning of a term with quotation marks and a definition that is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized from the source text.