Paraphrasing refers to the act of using the content or materials of another writer in your own words (UNSW para. 1). By and large, a paraphrase often tends to be a shorter version of the original text, with additional insights and points of views from the writers, ultimately culminating in a logical piece of writing that has a flow.
Other writers have the tendency to forget the use of quotation marks when they have used the words or ideas or another author in their own work. As a result, they end up committing plagiarism (University of Virginia Honor Committee Supplement 2).
It is important to note that even though a good paraphrase should be ideally your own work, nonetheless, you still need to cite the original work or materials from where you obtained the ideas. A majority of the students fails to realize that they need to give credit to the original author even when they have paraphrased their work. Otherwise, such a piece of work is regarded as plagiarism.
There are instances when paraphrasing may be justified. For example, assume that a student has to complete a term paper on the incidents of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among war veterans. In this case, it is important to note that this is a scientific term paper and as such, there are certain key words or scientific terms that cannot be substituted in their meaning.
For this reason, paraphrasing could be justified. In addition, paraphrasing may be necessary when the writer has been requested by an instructor to summarize a given article (for example, in the case of an annotated bibliography) within a limited number of words.
In this case, the student has little choice of adding their own incites and observation into such a piece of work. In addition, in case a writer feels that they are in a position to represent the contents of a given source in a more coherent manner in their own words, other than those of the author such as in the use of quotation marks, it becomes necessary therefore to paraphrase such a piece of work (University of Virginia Honor Committee Supplement 2).
A proper paraphrase is one in which the writer has successfully managed to bring forth the idea(s) of another author is a more coherent and clear manner, better that the original writer (UNSW para 1). Even so, it is always important for the writer to give credit to the original authors of the ideas.
For example, let us assume that a student has paraphrased the work of another writer using their own words but has failed to cite the original source. If the instructor manages to match some of the writer’s content with the work of the original author whom the writer failed to give credit by proper citing, the instructor would in such a case deem the student to have committed an act of plagiarism, as opposed to paraphrasing.
We need to realize that there is nothing wrong with using the ideas of other writers in our own work. However, when we fail to realize the need to give credit to the paraphrased work from another author, then we are indeed committing an act of plagiarism, and this is unethical. Therefore, discipline and the issue of ethics are important in academia because without these, we would not give credit to the authors attributed to the original ideas of our work.
University of Virginia Honor Committee Supplement. Understanding Plagiarism and Paraphrasing. January 2010. 02 December, 2010.
UNSW. Paraphrasing, Summarizing & Quoting. 2010. 02 December, 2010.