Skip to main content OPRFHS Library Home Page

Stovall/Farrow/McMurray - Jr. Theme: Quotation, Summary, Paraphrase

Quotation, Summary, Paraphrase

Quotation, Summary, and Paraphrase:  Avoiding Plagiarism

Copy and cite direct quotations from the sources into your research paper ONLY for the following reasons:

●Accuracy: when the phrasing of the original is significant

●Authority: when the exact words of a particular authority quoted in the source carry more weight than a summary or paraphrase

●Conciseness:  when a quotation states an idea in fewer words than a summary or paraphrase would

●Vividness:  when the language of a source is more colorful or more descriptive than a summary would be.

 

OTHERWISE, summarize/paraphrase information from sources.

To summarize is to restate concisely the main facts or ideas of a longer work. You can summarize entire books, whole articles or essays, or just portions of your sources. Television guides often describe full-length movies and other programs, for example, with summaries of one or two sentences. When you summarize, you state the major concepts in your own words and sentence style, omitting some of the original detail.

 

To paraphrase is to restate a shorter passage-usually a sentence or two-in your own words and sentence style. Unlike a summary, a paraphrase does not necessarily shorten the original passage or omit any of the original ideas.

 

A good paraphrase or summary meets these criteria:

•   It accurately reflects the intention of the original without changing the meaning.

•   It is completely reworded in your own words and sentence structure.

 

The most blatant form of plagiarism is following too closely the wording of another writer while giving the impression that the wording is your own. To avoid plagiarism in your paraphrases or summaries, consider the following suggestions:

1.

2.

3.

4.

 

Let’s Practice:  Examine the examples below to determine whether or not the summary is acceptable.

Original: It would make more sense if the military took advantage of perceived, and actual, differences between men and women. When soldiers complain about the problems of integration and the resentment on both sides, these are management and leadership problems, and not the fault of women. An army that accommodates women and uses them to best advantage rather than wasting time making excuses will find integration far less painful. (taken from page 196 of Robert Muir's book In the Military.)

 

Summary 1: Women in the military continue to cause problems for leaders and enlisted soldiers, resulting in painful integration (Muir 196).   Acceptable or Not Acceptable?   Why?

 

Summary 2: When soldiers complain about the problems of integration and resentment of both sides, the leaders and managers should view it as an issue worth addressing (Muir 196).    Acceptable or Not Acceptable?   Why?

 

Summary 3: The solution for women's assimilation into the army is to encourage leaders to embrace gender distinctions, instead of justifying gender segregation.    Acceptable or Not Acceptable?          Why?

 

 Documenting Summary/Paraphrase (with Lead-ins)

Since you must acknowledge the source of all ideas that are not your own, you must provide documentation  (citation) with all summaries and paraphrases. Source information  can be identified with your choice of one of three stylistic options. Documentation can be placed (1) entirely in the narrative of the text, (2) partly in the text and partly in parentheses, or (3) entirely in parentheses.

 

OPTIONS FOR LEAD-INS

As explained earlier, whenever you place information about the source in the narrative of your paper, you are creating a lead-in or tag. The first time you cite a source, it is preferable to give both first and last name and some information about the author or speaker. A lead-in can be placed at the beginning, as in the following paraphrase (lead -in is underlined):

MLA:  James Prochaska, a professor at Harvard's medical school, states that more than 300,000 Americans die annually as a direct result of tobacco smoking (31).

 

A lead-in can be placed in the middle (lead-in is underlined):

MLA:  Despite the fact that the U.S. public has been warned for years about the serious health threat posed by tobacco smoking, James Prochaska, a professor at Harvard's medical school, believes that more than 300,000 Americans die annually as a direct result (31).

 

Or a lead-in can be placed at the end (lead-in is underlined):

MLA:  More than 300,000 Americans die annually as a direct result of tobacco smoking, asserts James Prochaska. a professor at Harvard's medical school (31).

 

 

Note:  Literary Present Tense

Even though most sources have been written in the past, it is preferable to cast all lead-ins in "literary present tense." Note that any number of active verbs can be used. Avoid repetition and be exact in your word choice. Consider the following list:

 

accepts

concedes

negates

comments

acknowledges

declares

notes

confirms

adds

denies

observes

contends

affirms

describes

outlines

contradicts

agrees

disagrees

proposes

highlights

argues

discusses

refutes

implies

asserts

disputes

rejects

insists

believes

emphasizes

reports

maintains

cautions

endorses

responds

urges

challenges

explains

shows

verifies

claims.

grants

suggests

writes