RESEARCH SKILLS: Paraphrasing or plagiarism: what's the difference?
This lesson is designed to help students learn to paraphrase information properly. We all know that the Internet has made research infinitely easier; but it has also made it so much easier for kids to plagiarize Sadly, this turns the research process into an exercise in cutting and pasting, or in using a thesaurus to change a few words here and there.
It’s my experience that students do a lot of unintentional plagiarizing. One reason for this is that they just don’t know how to go about paraphrasing properly, so I designed this lesson to teach them how to, and then to give them practice doing it.
I start with the Research Quiz. I have them answer the questions on their own (I often just project the quiz to save paper), and then we discuss it together. The answers are all the same: yes, it’s plagiarism, and the only item that does not have to be cited in part B is, of course, facts that are common knowledge. Usually, my students are quite surprised by the answers, and it always leads to great discussion about paraphrasing versus plagiarizing.
Then, I use the sideshow to walk them through the process of paraphrasing properly. I have provided corresponding student handouts, as well as three short exercises that allow them to practice this important research skill.
If you want to do more work on research skills, you might like to check out Embedding Quotations.
I also have an easy-to-use reference for students called If you want to do more work on research skills, you might like to check out The English Student's Guide to Writing, Research and Analysis.
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