Written resources have become readily available on the internet, and as a student, you may not be sure how to avoid plagiarism. When you summarize text, you basically condense it down to just the most significant points. You usually do so in your own words, but it’s easy to use too many of the words or ideas in the original text without realizing it. Plagiarism often happens accidentally due to carelessness or ignorance. Here are some ways to summarize text without plagiarizing.
Paraphrase or reword the text
When you paraphrase, you don’t use the words the original writer uses. You take the idea and put it into your own words. This means you have to clearly understand the text you want to paraphrase. Read the text through a couple of times to make sure you grasp what the writer is saying.
If you can figure out the writer’s central message, it is easier to put the original text aside and rewrite it using your own words. Copying and pasting text and then just swapping around or changing a few words is not the best idea. Unsuccessful paraphrasing can easily result in being flagged as plagiarizing.
Use a plagiarism checker
As a student studying at college, you need to learn the importance of original text and how to avoid plagiarism. One way to do this is to use an online plagiarism checker. FixGerald is a free plagiarism checker where you can paste your text, and there is no check limit. A report highlights all possible plagiarism issues so you can make adjustments where necessary. You can edit your text during the check and see your progress. This ensures mental peace for you and also high grades on your papers.
A strategy for paraphrasing
Try focusing on a couple of sentences at a time. Read them through a few times and then wait a while. Don’t look back at the original text but try to state the main idea in the sentences in your own words.
Compare what you have written with the original. Your paraphrased text should ideally be shorter than the original text, and no words or phrases should be identical. You should never add extra information when you’re paraphrasing. Keep doing this until you have summarized all the text. This will ensure that you use your own words, and your voice will come through rather than the author’s voice.
Attribute direct quotes to the author
When you quote, you must enclose the text you copy in quotation marks and attribute it to the original author. In general, you should not quote too often. A quote is appropriate when you can’t rephrase the original text without losing its meaning. You can use a quote when you want to retain the authority of the author’s words. You can also quote if you want to keep an author’s original definition.
Cite your sources
Using someone else’s ideas, concepts or words without citing your sources is plagiarism. This can result in receiving a failing grade or receiving further disciplinary action. If you forget where you got an idea, you may end up presenting it as your own.
You can prevent this by keeping your notes organized and making a list of your citations as you go.
Every time you paraphrase or quote, you must include an in-text or footnote citation that corresponds to your references at the end of the paper. There are many different citation styles, and they all have their own rules.
Review your work
You need to read through your summary and make sure you have included all the main points. By comparing your summary with the original text, you can make sure that you haven’t inadvertently copied an idea, sentence or phrase from another writer’s content. Most universities use plagiarism checkers to detect plagiarism.
When you use a good plagiarism checker, it will pick up forgotten citations, missing quotation marks or paraphrasing that’s too similar to the original text. You can work on these to ensure that your summary is unique.
A summary has to be concise yet comprehensive. It should contain only the main points of the article. It is possible to inadvertently use the same words or phrases as the original author when writing your summary. The best ways to avoid this is to paraphrase or reword text, put quotes in quotation marks, correctly cite your sources, and review your work. Finally, the use of a reliable plagiarism checker can help you to fix any issues and make sure your work isn’t flagged for plagiarism.
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