I'm taking part -- a bit abruptly, actually -- in a funded study on how to avoid plagiarism. I say "abruptly" because I found out on Tuesday evening and received the materials on Wednesday evening for the first session on Thursday. Consequently, the Thursday session was a bit rough because I wasn't thoroughly prepared, but I actually learned some important techniques for paraphrasing a passage. Take this nonsense passage, for instance, which I've just now patched together from some sample words, clauses, and sentences that I initially came up with for class last Thursday:
Profound and humorous is the evidence that supports their interpretation. To express this in a different way, "To be, or not to be," for the data show a causal relation. Thus, the coward dies a thousand deaths; a brave man dies but one. However, therefore, let us now conclude.That's my patched-together nonsense passage. Let's now look at a list of paraphrasing techniques that was given to me on Wednesday evening, and for which I came up with those sample words, clauses, and sentences:
1. Change to synonyms.Such techniques was I given to work with. Well, let's apply these to avoid plagiarism:
2. Change word forms.
3. Change from a clause to a phrase.
4. Change from quoted speech to indirect speech.
5. Change from active voice to passive voice.
6. Interpret meaning / Identify the underlying meaning of a statement.
7. Change transitions.
Deep and funny is the evidence through which their interpretation receives support. In other words, to continue living, or to kill oneself, for a causal relation is shown by the data. Thus, a brave man may die, though only one physical death, but a coward dies in many ways even if he escapes physical death. But so, let us now end.I've applied these techniques rather mechanically, somewhat as a translation engine might, so this is rather crudely done. Does this paraphrase escape plagiarism? Not entirely, for it reproduces the sequence of clauses in the original, and some of the sentences are too close as well.
For that reason, the material that I was given last Wednesday also adds a few paraphrasing strategies, one of these being:
Reordering: Paraphrase by reordering word(s) or phrase(s) of source texts.I won't bother with that in today's post, but that would be necessary -- though a "thorough rewriting" (as the material suggests) would also prove beneficial in avoiding plagiarism.
I might return to this issue of paraphrase over the next four weeks.