writing task usually implies reading. Whether it's an academic paper,
blog post or newspaper article, it rarely gets written from scratch.
Even subject matter experts consult sources and other experts before
this situation, how do you draw the line between original and
borrowed ideas? And if an external text has been rewritten in other
words rather than simply copied, is it still plagiarized? Finally, do
require citation? In this article, we’ll give the answers to these
and other important questions.
is a paraphrase?
a paraphrase is “a restatement of a text, passage, or work giving
the meaning in another form.” In other words, authors who want to
paraphrase someone's ideas should interpret them in a new way, yet
keep the original meaning.
academic papers, paraphrasing is preferred over quoting. By avoiding
copying the exact wording, students get (and demonstrate) a deeper
understanding of the subject. It makes sense to use quotation instead
of paraphrasing only when an original text is so impactful that it
would lose its value when rewritten.
text is plagiarized when
It doesn't contain proper acknowledgement. By
re-expressing someone's idea in our own words, we don't make it ours.
A reader should be able to distinguish our insights from those that
belong to someone else. The right way to do that is to provide proper
attribution to the relevant source. If authors don't give credit,
they end up taking it and thus plagiarizing, whether it's been done
intentionally or by accident.
It's too close to the original version. Paraphrasing
is a fresh expression of an idea, not a trivial rewording. It's not
enough to change some words here and there and leave the main text
unaltered. Instead, authors should completely restate the original
passage using their own vocabulary.
changes often consist of a simple synonym replacement or altered
sentence order while keeping the original sentence structure. In
academic writing, this situation may show that students don't have a
significant understanding of the subject.
an author fails to articulate an idea in a new way, then he is
plagiarizing even if he's provided a reference.
As a rule, good rewriting implies that there are no identical
sequences consisting of 7 or more words. When checking for plagiarism
with PaperRater's plagiarism checker,
you can find a list of such matching phrases.
text is NOT plagiarized when
It's formatted properly. On
the contrary, paraphrasing cannot be considered plagiarism when
applied correctly. This means that an author should both cite an
external source and
as few words as possible from it.
often, rephrasing leads to a reinvention of the original idea.
Therefore, when checking provided sources, it's a good idea to see if
an author has actually succeeded in conveying the original meaning.
It describes widely-known facts
pretty clear that ideas and interpretations need to be cited, but
what about well-known facts that can't be attributed to anyone? Let's
say a paper contains this sentence: "Gravity was discovered by
Sir Isaac Newton, an English mathematician and physicist who lived
from 1642-1727." Yes, there are many similar and even identical
phrases on the Internet, yet it cannot be considered plagiarized, as
it's common knowledge.
there's no clear boundary on what common knowledge is, the two
general criteria are ubiquity and anonymity. Before considering a
fact common knowledge, try to find it on five independent and
reputable sources. If none of them gives a credit to a certain
author, then it's common knowledge.
can be both plagiarism and a way to avoid it. When correctly cited
in original words,
paraphrasing is absolutely legit and even welcome. If any of these
conditions hasn't been met, then plagiarism has taken place. For
example, if an author provides
but his language is too close to the original, it's plagiarism.
Alternatively, even if an author distills a borrowed idea into his
own words, he still needs to give credit rather than take it.
the same time, paraphrased well-known facts can be used without
citation and shouldn't be considered plagiarism, as they convey
common knowledge. Practically everything we know and write about is
somehow based on these facts. That's why when getting a plagiarism
report, it's wise to check if matching phrases express stolen ideas
or well-known facts.
blog article was written by Linda Emerson from iSpringSolutions,
an e-Learning software development company.