Paraphrasing is often defined as putting a passage from an author into “your own words.” But what are your own words?
How different must your paraphrase be from the original?
The paragraphs below provide an example by showing a passage as it appears in the source, two paraphrases that follow the source too closely, and a legitimate paraphrase.
The student’s intention was to incorporate the material in the original passage into a section of a paper on the concept of “experts” that compared the functions of experts and nonexperts in several professions.
Field-specific common knowledge is “common” only within a particular field or specialty.
It may include facts, theories, or methods that are familiar to readers within that discipline.When using sources in your papers, you can avoid plagiarism by knowing what must be documented.If you use an author’s specific word or words, you must place those words within quotation marks and you must credit the source.In an intermediate position in the hierarchy is the resource nurse, a staff nurse with more experience than the others, who assumes direct care of patients as the other staff nurses do, but also takes on tasks to ensure the smooth operation of the entire facility.The writer has documented Chase’s material and specific language (by direct reference to the author and by quotation marks around language taken directly from the source).The nurse manager does not directly care for patients but follows the progress of unusual or long-term patients. The phrases in red are directly copied from the source or changed only slightly in form.On each shift a nurse assumes the role of resource nurse. Even if the student-writer had acknowledged Chase as the source of the content, the language of the passage would be considered plagiarized because no quotation marks indicate the phrases that come directly from Chase.Thus, even though the writer acknowledges the source of the material, the underlined phrases are falsely presented as the student’s own.In her study of the roles of nurses in a critical care unit, Chase (1995) also found a hierarchy that distinguished the roles of experts and others.Download this Handout PDF College writing often involves integrating information from published sources into your own writing in order to add credibility and authority–this process is essential to research and the production of new knowledge.However, when building on the work of others, you need to be careful not to plagiarize: “to steal and pass off (the ideas and words of another) as one’s own” or to “present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.”1 The University of Wisconsin–Madison takes this act of “intellectual burglary” very seriously and considers it to be a breach of academic integrity. These materials will help you avoid plagiarism by teaching you how to properly integrate information from published sources into your own writing.