Direct quoting simply means using the exact words of the original author verbatim and without making any alterations to the meaning or structure of the text. Short quotes are generally placed between 2 quotation marks and must be followed by an in-text citation (author’s last name, page number). For longer quotes you do not need to include quotation marks, but the text itself must be indented and centered. This is also known as a block quote (Applicable to MLA and APA). [ilink url=”http://academicplagiarism.com/index.php/resources/students/how-to-use-quotations-in-your-writing/”]Click here[/ilink] for more details on direct quotes.
Unlike quoting, summarizing requires that you extract the meaning of the author’s text and use your own words and sentence structure to restate the author’s idea. Summaries focus on the main idea and not so much on the details the author used to support that idea. The summary, therefore, is a brief statement that encapsulates the author’s main point, without including the minor details.
Now let’s look at an example of a summary:
According to Mast and Kawin (2008) the American film industry experienced a significant drop in revenues in the late 1950s, which coincided with an increase in production cost.
Short History of the Movies, A (10th Edition) (9780205537556): Bruce F. Kawin, Gerald Mast: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2012.
The authors of the above quote discussed how the American film business went through a period of great success in the mid 1940s, but those achievements were short lived. The late 1950s witnessed a steep decline in the box-office revenues that fell by nearly 25% compared to 1948. Therefore, our summary reflects the gist of the information without going into the details associated with the key idea.
Like summarizing, paraphrasing involves capturing the author’s ideas and presenting them in a different form and sentence structure. Paraphrasing, however, goes a step further by identifying the details and nuances of the original text. By effectively paraphrasing what you have read, you are able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the subject matter as you internalize and synthesize the content of a given text. This is an essential skill for any college student to have and a reliable tool to prevent inadvertent plagiarism.
When paraphrasing, you must ensure that your words and sentence structure are unique and do not mimic those of the original author. In other words, switching a few words here and there using synonyms is not enough. A good strategy to adopt when paraphrasing is to read the original text, while taking notes on a separate document. These note should be your own words (comments, interpretations..etc). When you feel confident that you have a good understanding of the idea that the author is trying to convey, put the original text away and try to restate that idea using your own words with the help of the notes you took earlier. The next step is to go back to the original text and compare it to your own paraphrase. Make sure that:
1- Your paraphrase captures all the important details of the original text.
2- Your paraphrase has a unique sentence structure and uses different words and phrases.
3- Cite the author’s last name
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