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Plagiarism and Citing Sources (Health Affairs): Terms

Paraphrasing

When you summarize a written passage in your own words while maintaining the meaning of the passage, you are paraphrasing.

Restating or summarizing someone else's ideas is often necessary when proving evidence to support your own argument.

When paraphrasing another author's words, you must give credit to the author even though you have not directly quoted his or her work.

Even if you cite your source, paraphrasing can still be plagiarism if all you do is rearrange the author's words, delete a phrase or two, or insert a few synonyms and claim the passage as your own.

Good paraphrasing should truly be your own words, with proper credit going to the source from which you got the ideas.

Example

Original Passage

The struggle to desegregate Warm Springs and to vanquish racism in polio care and specialist training was a difficult battle fought at a time when polio, race, and politics converged on a national stage.
From Rogers, N. (2007). Race and the Politics of Polio, Warm Springs, Tuskagee and the March of Dimes. American Journal of Public Health, 97(5), 784-795.

In Paper

Desegregating Warm Springs and conquering racism in polio care was not easy at a time when polio, race, and politics converged on a national stage.

This attempt at paraphrasing is considered plagiarism because the language is too close to the original and no source is cited.

Example

Original Passage

Yet clinically, the utility of the admission assessment for planning discharge is questioned as changes in the patient's function during hospitalization may significantly alter the discharge plan.
From Nsameluh, K., Holland, D., & Gasper, P. (2007). Patient Functional Status Changes During Hospitalization: Impact on Early Discharge Planning. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 21(4), 214-219. Retrieved September 26, 2007 from http://gateway.uk.ovid.com/gw2/ovidweb.cgi.

In Paper

However, because the patient's function may change, requiring major adjustments to the discharge plan, others question whether basing the plan on the admissions assessment is really useful (Nsameluh et. al, 2007).

This attempt at paraphrasing is not plagiarism because the passage is in the author's own words and includes a citation.

Quoting

When you use a quotation, you use someone else's exact words and surround the statement with quotation marks. You must also cite your source for the quote.

Use quotations sparingly in your paper. Your professor wants to read your words, not someone else's.

Example

Original Passage

Visiting a doctor's office can make you nervous, impatient, or even scared. You may have only a few minutes with your health care provider. Later, you might remember something you forgot to ask. Or you may forget what the doctor or nurse said.
From Talking with Your Doctor. MedlinePlus. Retrieved September 26, 2007 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/talkingwithyourdoctor.html.

In Paper

Visiting a doctor's office can make you nervous, impatient, or even scared. You may have only a few minutes with your health care provider, so bringing a list of your symptoms and questions you have can be helpful.

This is considered plagiarism because the author has copied the source's words without quotation marks or a citation.

Example

Original Passage

What [RC/AL] was not promoted as--but what it has increasingly become--is a residential setting for individuals with dementia.
From Zimmerman, S., Sloane, P.D., Williams, C.S., Dobbs, D., Ellajosyula, R., Braaten, A., et al. (2007). Residential Care/Assisted Living Staff May Detect Undiagnosed Dementia Using the Minimum Data Set Cognition Scale. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 55(9), 1349-1355. Retrieved September 26, 2007 from Synergy.

In Paper

Zimmerman, et al. (2007) note, "What [RC/AL] was not promoted as--but what it has increasingly become--is a residential setting for individuals with dementia."

This is not plagiarism because the author has acknowledged the source and used quotation marks where needed.    

Original Ideas

An original idea is one that you form on your own, independently of other authors. When you put your original ideas into words and include them in your work, you do not need to cite a source.

To avoid plagiarism, it must be clear which ideas are your original thoughts and which ideas come from others. Making a clear distinction between the two will show your professor that you have thought about material learned in class and are able to form your own thoughts on what you have learned.