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Plagiarism Detection & Revision Skills: Plagiarism Examples: Insufficient Paraphrasing

Last updated 5/6/2020

 

Visual: Screen opens to a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The title Walden University Writing Center and tagline “Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears on the screen. The screen changes to show the series title “Plagiarism Detection & Revision Skills” and the video title “Plagiarism Examples: Insufficient Paraphrasing.”

Audio: Guitar music

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a slide with the following title and content: Insufficient Paraphrasing

  • Paraphrasing: Restating a source’s ideas in your own (1) sentence structure and (2) word choice.
  • Sentence Structure: The way a writer arranges the grammatical elements of a sentence.
  • Word Choice: The vocabulary a writer uses within a sentence

Audio: While paraphrasing is a writing skill—and is often discussed separately from plagiarism—paraphrasing becomes a plagiarism issue if it is done insufficiently, resulting in passive plagiarism. Because of this connection, it’s important for writers to understand and practice paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing is when you are restating a source’s ideas in your own sentence structure and word choice. Sentence structure refers to the way a writer arranges the grammatical elements of a sentence, while word choice refers to the actual vocabulary within a sentence. These two elements—the unique sentence structure and word choice—are important in paraphrasing. Both are essential to fully paraphrase, and when one element is missing, the result is insufficient paraphrasing.

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a slide with the following title and content: Insufficient Paraphrasing

Original Source

  • “High-speed telehealth will allow healthcare providers to care for patients in ‘real time’ and will expand access to specialty providers, thereby increasing timely follow-up, improving health outcomes, and reducing rural health disparities.” (Ford et al., 2019, para. 3)

Insufficient Paraphrase

  • Very quick telehealth will help doctors care for patients immediately and will expand admission to unique providers, thereby allowing timely responses, better health results, and lowering rural health differences (Ford et al., 2019). 

Audio: Let’s look at an example. On the left we have a quote from the original source, Ford et al. On the right, we have an insufficient paraphrase of this original source: “Very quick telehealth will help doctors care for patients immediately and will expand admission to unique providers, thereby allowing timely responses, better health results, and lowering rural health differences.” The insufficient paraphrase uses both the same sentence structure and word choice of the original source, which we can see when we compare the two.

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a slide with the following title and content: Insufficient Paraphrasing

Original Source Insufficient Paraphrase
"High-speed telehealth "Very quick telehealth
will allow healthcare providers to care for patients will help doctors care for patients
in ‘real time’ immediately
and will expand access to specialty providers, and will expand admission to unique providers,
thereby increasing timely follow-up, thereby allowing timely responses,
improving health outcomes, better health results,
and reducing rural health disparities.” (Ford et al., 2019, para. 3) and lowering rural health differences (Ford et al., 2019). 

 

Audio: In this comparison, we can see how the insufficient paraphrase presents the same information in the same order as the original source—using the same sentence structure. Additionally, the insufficient paraphrase uses some of the same word choice as the original or, when the word choice is different, the wording is simply a series of synonym replacements. These two elements together—the same sentence structure and the same word choice—results in the insufficient paraphrase.

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a slide with the following title and content: Insufficient Paraphrasing

Original Source

  • “High-speed telehealth will allow healthcare providers to care for patients in ‘real time’ and will expand access to specialty providers, thereby increasing timely follow-up, improving health outcomes, and reducing rural health disparities.” (Ford et al., 2019, para. 3)

Insufficient Paraphrase

  • Very quick telehealth will help doctors care for patients immediately and will expand admission to unique providers, thereby allowing timely responses, better health results, and lowering rural health differences (Ford et al., 2019).

Revised Paraphrase

  • Healthcare for rural patients will expand and improve with increased access to telehealth, resulting in better outcomes (Ford et al., 2019).

Audio: Now let’s look at a new, revised paraphrase: “Healthcare for rural patients will expand and improve with increased access to telehealth, resulting in better outcomes.” In reading this revised paraphrase aloud, we can already hear the difference. This revised paraphrase uses a different sentence structure than the original, along with unique word choice, which together results in creating the author’s own voice in this paraphrase. Notice that in each case, even with an effective paraphrase, the citation of the Ford et al. source is an essential element.

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a slide with the following title and content: Paraphrasing Strategies

  • Read Critically
  • Take Your Time
  • Paraphrase in Your Notes
  • Focus on Ideas

Ask for our support!

Audio: We’ve explored insufficient paraphrasing and how to appropriately paraphrase an original source, but paraphrasing can be a difficult writing skill to learn. With practice and intention, however, all academic writers can successfully paraphrase, and to do so, we recommend the following strategies.

First, ensure you read your sources critically. Insufficient paraphrasing can result from a lack of understanding of the original source. As you read, actively engage in the ideas and work to relate what you’re reading with your own experience and compare the ideas to other research you’ve read. This critical engagement will help you more easily paraphrase the ideas in your own writing.

Second, take your time as you read and as you paraphrase. When you’re in a rush, you’re more likely to insufficiently paraphrase. Paraphrasing takes time and intention to do well.

Third, paraphrase in your notes as you read. Instead of copying and pasting important quotes into your notes, paraphrase those important ideas immediately. By placing those ideas in your own words, you can easily incorporate those paraphrases into your writing at a later stage.

Finally, as you paraphrase, focus on the ideas in the source. Don’t focus on individual sentences and translating them into your own voice; paraphrasing is about representing ideas in your own voice, not translating a source, word-for-word. As you paraphrase, identify the main idea you want to include and focus on it as you paraphrase.

And of course, reach out to us in the Writing Center for our support. Send us an e-mail or visit us at our Live Chat hours to talk through your plagiarism questions; we’re here to support you throughout your Walden program.

 

Visual: The screen changes to an ending slide with slide a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The email address writingsupport@waldenu.edu appears on the screen.