Paraphrasing is an act of tasking in information comprehending, synthesising and expressing it originally. An ability to paraphrase in writing or even orally depends much on the understanding of the material by the reader.
It also relates to skill. Modern communication is causing a steep decline in the use of formal language. Proper punctuation, capitalisation and complete sentences are some of the aspects that characterise formal language.
The penchant of informal abbreviation when texting, use of emojis for text and social media messages might help to increase efficiency in modern communication, but it is not entirely complete. This trend is making it more difficult for students to learn and practice necessary skills for writing academic skills.
Academic work requires writers to incorporate work by published authors into their material to reflect a comprehensive understanding of published material they use for supporting their ideas but in an original manner. Paraphrasing is difficult but a skill that every student should learn because it builds critical thinking skills and ability for self-expression in a way that carries weight.
Online paraphrasing tools
People will always try to create a simpler way of doing difficult things such as paraphrasing. Paraphrasing tools are the alternative to reading the text and rewriting it to retain original meaning. They are the latest means to avoid actual writing and avoiding outright plagiarism or relying on online writing services.These tools can paraphrase anything be it a simple sentence or an essay. The latest name foe this practice is spinning.
These tools might seem helpful to the students especially the non-native English speakers, but the reality is that they are inaccurate, flawed and students should not consider it a substitute for learning to paraphrase. Some students still consider them to be an acceptable form of help because reliance on the machines saves them from much of the brain work. Those who advocate for the use of paraphrasing tools should know that it is essential to think about proper citation of the source. There is no comparable mechanism to detect the use of a paraphrasing tool is a reader suspects that the content is not original and that there is no citation of the source material.
Plagiarism and Techniques for Paraphrasing
A handbook for university and college student should include a section that discusses plagiarism. It should identify the criteria use for its assessment and outline the penalties for this infringement. Higher education, in general, has zero tolerance for plagiarism. A significant concern is whether online paraphrasing tools constitute of plagiarism. It is if the paraphrase does not cite the source material and readers should regard it as plagiarism if presented as an academic paper.
Using a paraphrasing tool generally means that the writing is not original and does not acknowledge the author in the absence of citation. The use of paraphrasing tools has not turned to a grey area and another frontier for plagiarism. Universities and colleges should revise their handbooks to include a policy about the use of paraphrasing tools. According to library resource of Simon Fraser University, students should take caution together with these techniques.
- Change words from apart of speech to another.
- Change percentage and numerals to a different form
- Use synonyms
- Interchange the order of words
- Use various attribution indicators
- Try different definition structures
- Change the structure of sentences and use various connecting words.
Paraphrasing also has a limit and should not involve changing everything. Something like proper nouns and key terms should not change when paraphrasing.
Seasoned authors liken the use of paraphrasing tools to patch writingin which someone patches original text with language that is not cohesive. These paraphrasing tools will always tempt students who doubt their writing skills. They think that because of changing order of words no software will detect source material from the paraphrased output. Since the bibliographical information does not change much if, at all, originalitychecking software such as Turnitin can match the output to a source using the reference data.
It is essential for educators and students should begin to have a candid discussion about paraphrasing tools to avoid improper use. Educators should teach their student’s paraphrasing techniques, and learners should use them without relying on paraphrasing tools.