By the time you finish High School, you would be equipped with essential research skills which actually last for a life time. Much of the work you produce at High School, be it coursework, research paper or projects, will involve the important ideas, writings and discoveries of experts in your research study.
Due to the demand and effort required in this undertaking, I have compiled TWO brilliant posts on Research Paper at High School. The first post defined a research paper as well as looking at the different types of research papers. It can be accessed here and is entitled Research Paper: Brilliant Ways To Write An Excellent Paper
In this post, my focus is on:
- Paraphrasing, Summarizing and Quotations
- In-Text Citation
Quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing are all different ways of including the works of others in your assignments. Harnessing and implementing in-text citation will be of great benefit to you, especially in avoiding plagiarism.
High School teachers expect you to demonstrate an understanding of the major ideas/concepts in you research papers. Paraphrasing and summarizing allow you to develop and demonstrate your understanding and interpretation of a text as well as helping you avoid plagiarism.
These are important tools for reshaping information to suit the many varied writing tasks at your disposal. They require analytical and writing skills which are crucial for success in your High School years.
Paraphrasing, Summarising and Quotations
Paraphrasing is a way of presenting information, keeping the same meaning, but using different words and phrasing. Paraphrasing is used with short sections of text, such as phrases and sentences.
REMEMBER that, It . . .
- does not match the source word for word.
- involves putting a passage from a source into your own words.
- changes the words or phrasing of a passage, but retains and fully communicates the original meaning.
- must be attributed to the original source.
A paraphrase may result in a longer, rather than shorter, version of the original text. It offers an alternative to using direct quotations and helps students to integrate evidence/ source material into assignments.
Paraphrasing is also a useful skill for making notes from readings, note-taking and explaining information in tables, charts and diagrams.
When to Paraphrase
Paraphrase short sections of work only; a sentence or two or a short paragraph:
- As an alternative to a direct quotation.
- To rewrite someone else’s ideas without changing the meaning.
- To express someone else’s ideas in your own words.
- To support claims in, or provide evidence for your writing.
How to paraphrase
- Read the original source carefully. It is essential that you understand it fully.
- Identify the main point(s) and key words.
- Cover the original text and rewrite it in your own words.
- Next, check that you have included the main points and essential information.
- Write the paraphrase in your own style. Consider each point; how could you rephrase it?
- Meaning: Always ensure that you keep the original meaning and maintain the same relationship between main ideas and supporting points.
- Words: Use synonyms (words or expression which have a similar meaning) where appropriate. Key words that are specialised subject vocabulary do not need to be changed.
- If you want to retain unique or specialist phrases, use quotation marks (“…”).
- Change the grammar and sentence structure. Break up a long sentence into two shorter ones or combine two short sentences into one. Change the voice (active/passive) or change word forms (e.g. nouns, adjectives).
- Change the order in which information/ ideas are presented (as long as they still make sense in a different order).
- Identify the attitude of the authors to their subject (i.e. certain, uncertain, critical, etc) and make sure your paraphrase reflects this. Use the appropriate reporting word or phrase.
- Review your paraphrase checking that it accurately reflects the original text but is in your words and style.
- Record the original source (including the page number) so that you can provide a reference.
A summary is an overview of a text. The main idea is given, but details, examples and formalities are left out. Used with longer texts, the main aim of summarising is to reduce or condense a text to its most important ideas. Summarising is a useful skill for making notes from readings and in lectures, writing an abstract/synopsis and incorporating material in assignments.
When summarizing note that it . . .
- does not match the source word for word.
- involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, but including only the main point(s).
- presents a broad overview, so is usually much shorter than the original text.
- must be attributed to the original source.
When to summarize
Summarize long sections of work, like a long paragraph, page or chapter.
- To outline the main points of someone else’s work in your own words, without the details or examples.
- To include an author’s ideas using fewer words than the original text.
- To briefly give examples of several differing points of view on a topic.
- To support claims in, or provide evidence for, your writing.
How to summarize
The amount of detail you include in a summary will vary according to the length of the original text, how much information you need and how selective you are:
- Start by reading a short text and highlighting the main points as you read.
- Reread the text and make notes of the main points, leaving out examples, evidence, etc.
Without the text, rewrite your notes in your own words; restate the main idea at the beginning plus all major points.
A quotation is an exact reproduction of spoken or written words. Quotes can provide strong evidence, act as an authoritative voice, or support a writer’s statements.
REMEMBER . . .
When using quotations always make it a point that they . . .
- match the source word for word.
- are usually a brief segment of the text.
- appear between quotation marks.
- must be attributed to the original source.
When to quote
- when the author’s words convey a powerful meaning.
- when the exact words are important.
- when you want to use the author as an authoritative voice in your own writing.
- to introduce an author’s position you may wish to discuss.
- to support claims in, or provide evidence for, your writing.
How to quote
Make sure that you have a good reason to use a direct quotation. Quoting should be done sparingly and should support your own work, not replace it. For example, make a point in your own words, then support it with an authoritative quote.
- Every direct quotation should:
- appear between quotation marks (“…”)
- exactly reproduce text, including punctuation and capital letters.
- A short quotation often works well integrated into a sentence.
- If any words need to be omitted for clarity, show the omission with an ellipsis ….
- If any words need to be added to the quotation, put them between square brackets […].
- Longer quotations (more than 3 lines of text) should start on a new line and be indented on both sides.
IN-TEXT CITATION – Citing Sources In The Body Of Your Research Paper
MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. In MLA style, referring to the works of others in your text is done by using what is known as parenthetical citation. This method involves placing relevant source information in parentheses after a quote or a paraphrase.
You have to harness this skill very well to produce a paper that is free from plagiarism:
The MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author’s last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. For example:
- Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (p263).
- Romantic poetry is characterized by the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (Wordsworth, p263).
- Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (p263).
The author’s name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence.
Both citations in the examples above, (p263) and (Wordsworth, p263), tell readers that the information in the sentence can be located on page 263 of a work by an author named Wordsworth. If readers want more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page, where, under the name of Wordsworth, they would find the following information:
- Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads. Oxford UP, 1967.
In-text citations for print sources with no known author – When a source has no known author, use a shortened title of the work instead of an author’s name. Place the title in quotation marks if it’s a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it’s a longer work (eg. plays, books, television shows, entire websites) and provide a page number if it is available.
- We see so many global warming hotspots in North America likely because this region has “more readily accessible climatic data and more comprehensive programs to monitor and study environmental change . . .” (“Impact of Global Warming”).
Citing a work by multiple authors – For a source with two authors, list the authors’ last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:
- Best and Marcus argue that one should read a text for what it says on its surface, rather than looking for some hidden meaning (p9).
- The authors claim that surface reading looks at what is “evident, perceptible, apprehensible in texts” (Best and Marcus, p9).
Citing indirect sources – Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited in another source. For such indirect quotations, use “qtd. in” to indicate the source you actually consulted. For example:
- Ravitch argues that high schools are pressured to act as “social service centers, and they don’t do that well” (qtd. in Weisman, p259).
Note that, in most cases, a responsible researcher will attempt to find the original source rather than citing an indirect source.
Common sense and ethics should determine your need for documenting sources. You do not need to give sources for familiar proverbs, well-known quotations or common knowledge.
Plagiarism is presenting another person’s work or ideas as your own. Plagiarism is a serious breach of ethics and is not taken lightly. So, how is it shown in research papers? And how do you avoid it? These are some of the questions emanating from plagiarism.
Examples of Plagiarism
Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. It is a serious offence in academic circles.
You will be plagiarizing if you do one of these:
Copying – Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written documents, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person’s assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement.
Inappropriate paraphrasing – Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement.
This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.
Collusion – Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:
- students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time.
- paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own.
- stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it.
- offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work.
However, collusion, should not be confused with academic collaboration.
Inappropriate citation – Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the ‘secondary’ source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.
Self-plagiarism – ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially.
Self-plagiarism is also referred to as ‘recycling’, ‘duplication’, or ‘multiple submissions of research findings’ without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.
Checking Your Plagiarism
The most used database to check on plagiarism score is http://www.turnitin.com – a database with multiple applications used by most High School and universities around the world on research papers. Turnitin.com checks for plagiarism off the internet, from other schools, and from other students.
There are some user-friendly – like, Plagiarism Checker, Plagium or PaperRater – which are entirely free plagiarism detection tools to check whether content is plagiarized but one has to be extremely careful as once your work has been checked you cannot re-submit for another check. The plagiarism score will go up!
The research done at High School is not as intense as to what you will do at college or university but what we have done and learnt here will put you in good stead. I hope your research paper this year will reflect thorough knowledge and best effort in paraphrasing, summarizing, selecting quotations, in-text citations and, ultimately getting a plagiarism score you will be proud of.
Good luck in all your endeavours.
As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!