Since academic writing always builds on previous research, you must learn how to indicate your sources clearly in your work. Different fields of study have different customs. Be attentive when you read academic articles and books within your subject. Note how the authors include the work of other researchers in their texts. The way you work with quotations etc. depends on your field of study.
The examples of quotation, paraphrasing and general references below come from: Giger, Peter (2010). Conversation and figuration from the horizontality of the 2.0 decade. Diss. Karlskrona : Blekinge tekniska högskola, 2010
A common way of referring to a text is to paraphrase, which means that you summarize and rewrite (synthesize) a text in your own words.
Here are some tips which will help you to paraphrase with your own words.
- Make sure that you fully understand the text before you start writing
- Take notes while you read and base your summary on your notes
- Imagine that you want to explain the text for someone who does not understand the original text
It is important that you name the source from where you got the information for your paraphrase.
You can find another example of how to paraphrase in the anti-plagiarism tutorial Refero. You find it in the section on paraphrasing. (Open the guide, switch to English and use the Table of contents to find the section)
When someone has expressed something very well or striking, or if you risk altering the meaning by rephrasing it, there may still be reason to use a direct quotation with the exact same wording as in the source. A shorter run-in quotation should be placed within quotation marks, and can be part of the text. Example of a run-in quotation:
Longer quotations, or block quotations, often do not have quotation marks, but are placed separately, and with both left and right indentations. Sometimes you can also choose a slightly smaller font for the text quoted. Example of block quotation:
You use quotes to support your own ideas and arguments. Look at the examples above and see how the author uses the quotes together with his own text.
When you want to give a broader picture of a research question, you can refer to one, or several, more important sources that you used, without using a direct quotation or a paraphrase. Also in such cases, you must state clearly what you are referring to.
You will plagiarize if you pass of the work of others as your own. If you don’t show clearly where you have found the information you are using, you can be accused of plagiarism. This applies to published and unpublisheds works and even ideas. You must show where in your text you use the materials of others, it’s not enough to only add a source in the list of references. To avoid unintentional plagiarism, it is important that you make clear references to your sources, whether you make a direct quote from a source, or if you write a paraphrase in your own words.
When you paraphrase a text, it is important that you use your own words. If your paraphrase is too close to the original text, it is plagiarism. Also remember that you plagiarize if you include a quote that is several pages long, even if you name the source.
Already from the beginning of your work you should make sure that you note which sources you use and where in the text you need to add a reference to a source.
Watch a film about plagiarism from the SLU University Library.
Refero is a web based guide which was developed to help you, as a student, to understand what plagiarism means. You also get tips on how you can quote and paraphrase correctly, in order to avoid plagiarizing.
You can read more about copyright here in the Writing guide.