If I paraphrase, do I still need to cite the source?
Paraphrasing involves restating another person’s thoughts or ideas in your own words, using your own sentence structure. A paraphrase is normally about the same length as the original. A paraphrase must be cited.
Can you give me some tips for paraphrasing?
A paraphrase is when you write the ideas of published authors in your own words without changing the original meaning. It is usually about the same length as the original. It is important that the sentence structure and the vocabulary are not too similar to the original.
To paraphrase, follow these steps:
- Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.
- Set the original aside and write down the main points or concepts. Do not copy the text verbatim.
- Change the structure of the text by varying the opening, changing the order of sentences, lengthening or shortening sentences.
- Replace keywords within the sentences with synonyms or phrases with similar meanings.
- Check your notes against the original to ensure you have not accidentally plagiarised and you have not left anything out.
- Reference the source within the text.
- Record the source in your reference list.
How do I reference tables and charts?
There are only two categories : tables and figures. Graphs, photographs, images etc. are figures. Tables are anything organised in rows and columns. Make reference to any tables and figures within your text e.g. Table 1 shows FTSE data at close of trading.
Table 1: FTSE Market Indicators on 5 May 2012
Source: Moneyextra (2012)
- Keep titles brief but informative.
- Don’t forget to label axes on graphs and include legends.
- Include a list of the tables and figures on a separate page following your table of contents.
- Include any sources in the reference list
Can I use the first person in academic writing?
Traditional academic writing discourages the use of first or second person (‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, etc.). This is because it does not sound objective. Instead, it sounds as though you have only a very limited, personal view of the issue you are discussing, rather than a view of the broader picture. First and second person pronouns can also make your work less concise.
In some circumstances it is appropriate to write in the first or second person, according to the writing style of your discipline or the subject matter. For example, reflective writing relies on personal experience, so it is necessary to use first person. If you are unsure, check with your lecturer/tutor.
When do I use appendices?
Appendices are most commonly used in reports. They are used when the integration of material in the body of the work would make it poorly structured or too long and detailed. Appendices may be used for supporting material that would otherwise break up the flow of the writing or be distracting to the reader.
- Appendices must be referred to in the body of the text, for example, ‘Details of the questionnaire are attached as appendix 2’ (Note: One appendix, two appendices).
- Appendices normally follow the reference list.
- Each appendix must begin on a new page.
- The order they are presented in is dictated by the order they are mentioned in the text of the report.
- The heading should be APPENDIX or Appendix, followed by a letter or number e.g. APPENDIX A or Appendix 1 followed by the title. Headings should be centred. For example: Appendix 1: Action Plan
- Appendices must be listed in the table of contents as the final items (but not numbered).
- The page number(s) of the appendix/appendices will continue on with the numbering from the last page of the text.
Should I use headings in my essay?
In the main, essays are expected to be written as an extended piece of prose without headings. Seek advice from your lecturer/tutor, as some may accept headings in longer assignments. Including a heading may help you keep to the point. However, you will need to remove them from your final draft if traditional essay format is required.
Are direct quotes part of the word count?
Appendices, abstract/executive summary and the reference list/bibliography are not usually counted as part of the word limit. Quotations in the body of your paper are. However, check with your lecturer or tutor about what is included in the word limit for a particular assignment.
Can you recommend an effective method of taking notes?
The Cornell method provides a practical way of ensuring that you take clear notes, engage with them actively, and have clear material from which to revise.
Before the lecture:
- Get a large (A4) notebook.
- Rule off a section at the bottom of each page to create a ‘summary’ space.
- Divide each page into two vertical columns. The left-hand column should be one third of the page wide, with the right-hand column taking up the remaining two thirds.
- Label the left-hand column ‘KEY WORDS/QUESTIONS’, the right-hand column ‘NOTES and the space at the bottom ‘SUMMARY’.
During the lecture:
- Record your notes in the right hand side column. Don’t attempt to write everything down, but aim to capture the general ideas, arguments, facts, etc.
- Do use abbreviations, and paraphrase (i.e. use your own words) wherever possible.
- Do leave spaces in between your notes, so that you can amend and add to them later.
After the lecture (within 24 hours):
- Read through your notes. Make any amendments or additions whilst the material is still relatively fresh in your mind.
- Summarise the main points in the space at the bottom of each page. In the left-hand column, note down the key ideas or words from your notes on the right. Formulate these into questions.
- Cover up your notes in the right-hand column, and see how well you can answer the key questions from memory. This will help when it comes to exam revision.
Should I use or cite Wikipedia?
You should NEVER cite Wikipedia in an academic paper. Without a known author, Wikipedia articles cannot be considered authoritative. However, it is a useful starting point for your research. At the bottom of every article is a list of external links. These sites are often articles or respected authorities that you can cite.
Can you provide some advice on how to proofread my work to spot unnecessary errors?
- Print it off. It can be much more difficult to read on screen.
- Leave it a day. If you can, leave time between finishing your full draft and proof reading. It’s easier to read critically when it’s not so fresh.
- Read aloud. Errors of expression are more likely to become obvious if you read aloud.
- Punctuate your reading. Put pauses in for punctuation, timed differently for different punctuation marks – so take a breath for commas, come to a halt for full stops. This is a good way to see if your sentences are too long or too short. A common mistake is using commas when you should use full stops.
- Take care with cut and paste. If you decide to move things about, don’t forget to check the whole sentence again afterwards to make sure all the tenses, genders and plurals agree.
- Check your referencing. Check the Harvard and APA referencing guides you have been given.
- Get another view. Ask a friend or relative to read through your work. Sometimes you read what you think you’ve written, rather than what you have written.
- Use your feedback . Always read and learn from your academic feedback. Use it to make a list of the things you often get wrong. Look out for these especially. They should start to disappear as you get used to doing them right.