How to Summarize an Article Without Plagiarizing

November 13th, 2016

Reading time about 13 min

People often misinterpret the implications of the word plagiarism. The term is not only limited to the copying of exact terms and phrases. It also includes summarizing or paraphrasing ideas of another writer. Learn the art of  how to summarize an article without plagiarizing to save yourself from the trouble of unintentional plagiarizing.

You’ve got days or even hours until that three-page paper is due on that really obscure event in history that seems to be haunting you. While the assignment isn’t that difficult, you need to provide a summary without actualizing plagiarizing words from one or more authors. Here’s how to do it without getting in trouble.

Summarize

Plagiarism is a common and glaring instance of careless copying of others’ work. However, it is always not done intentionally. Writers, especially beginners like students who are very new to writing and preparing papers, are vulnerable to making such mistakes.

To avoid plagiarism while summarizing an article, the writers need to familiarize themselves with the dos and don’ts of writing. 

Let Us Begin With the Question—Why Summarizing Is Considered to Be Plagiarism at All?

To seek the answer, we first have to understand what can be considered as good quality writing? A well-researched, well planned, well elaborated, and original content can be considered good quality writing. The creator goes through different stages while preparing any content. 

The entire process includes tremendous effort starting from looking for ideas to putting that idea into pages. So even what we consider simple summarizing or paraphrasing, without giving the author the credit they deserve, the work becomes duplicate of the original source.

Why and When Do We Plagiarize?

  • The act of writing includes investing one’s considerable time. When we face an immediate deadline, we often tend to hurry to get done with the work. Facing such a challenge of completing a tedious task in a short time, one looks for easy ways to complete it. Thus they make use of others’ work and involve in plagiarizing.
  • Lack of proper planning also results in plagiarizing. One may start with a great idea, but without a proper plan of action may lose track. Such instance compels the writers to look for alternative ideas already available. 
  • Using an author’s ideas, views, and quotes without giving him or her proper credit is plagiarizing. 
  • Using digital content like articles, journals, and images, and other such things. With mentioning the source and proper citation is nothing but unauthorized access to an organization’s private data and security breach. 

What Does Plagiarism Lead To?

  • In the academic field, plagiarism is a looming problem. Let alone ideas and themes. Sometimes answers are also used without citing the source. Such instances do not only damage the reputation of the writer but also lead to the cancellation of the entire research paper
  • Duplicated publication of research papers leads to the deduction of marks and grades. 
  • Digital or printed content bearing copyright over it may also lead the offender to face legal actions if unauthorized access over the content. 

Learn About the Effective Ways of Summarizing an Article Without Plagiarizing:

Start with an Idea

Decide on the idea you are looking to summarize. Whether it’s about specific people, places, or an event that took place it is important to home in on the exact idea you are looking to capture and form as a cohesive statement.

Start with an Idea - How to summarize an article without plagiarizing

Read the Information and Sources

If you are provided multiple sources to work with, it’s imperative to read everything over and understand which passages you are looking to connect your own thoughts with. It can also help to highlight (on physical paper or online) to see which text is most relevant.

Think and put into your own words

Now that you’ve seen the work you’re referencing, it’s important to write in your own voice. The most obvious way for others to catch plagiarism is when a different voice is used. Even if the paper is academic, don’t use many high-level words if you normally don’t, as it can look suspicious. Also, be sure that you are inserting your own thoughts and citing the source that you are working with. Summarizing in your own words is easy when you know the best practices. Before you hand in your paper, be sure to scan it for plagiarism online with Copyleaks Plagiarism Detector.

Why use Online Tools?

With the availability of the latest online plagiarism checker tools online, it is now easier to avoid plagiarism. These tools aptly detect plagiarism by highlighting similar and dissimilar words in two or more documents. 

The software also saves one from the chances of self-plagiarism. Other than that, it identifies the repetition of words, spelling, and construction errors making the content compact and more relevant. 

  • Summarizing and paraphrasing: 

While the task of summarizing and paraphrasing remains crucial and controversial, one may reread the original piece multiple times to gain a clear idea about it. If the written piece is entirely comprehensible to the reader, they will frame their idea based on it instead of blind copying. Write a summary replacing all the original piece words, even if someone makes use of a summary maker.

To summarize the text, one has to keep in mind that a written piece aims to address the readers. An original work provides readers an insight into the writer’s thought process and opens up new avenues for the readers to explore for further reading. Learn the art of summarizing an article without plagiarizing for creating flawless papers.

  • Why use Citation?

The safest way to use other writer’s ideas, views in your writing is by learning the art of proper citation. It saves the written work from the trouble of being labeled as a plagiarized or copied work and offers the appropriate credit to the original creator’s hard work. 

The simple task of mentioning the source and using the original words in quotes are the secrets of writing an errorless paper. For an academic paper, different citation styles are available such as Chicago, MLA & APA. The citation styles are easy to refer to and apply. 

While paraphrasing, summarizing or quoting a sentence directly from the original piece, the citation is an absolute must.

FAQ:

How Can I Take Notes Without Plagiarizing?

While taking notes, the writer must ensure that they are using enough information in the note, and not just the name of the article, or the title of the book they are reading as a reference. 

Apart from that, the writer must take note of the source from where the information is taken and then cite it in the research paper to avoid producing duplicate content.

Is It Plagiarizing If You Change the Words?

Yes, it is if the writer is changing a word or two, here and there. The idea of the writer should be unique. Only then can the writer develop a unique write-up where every word is written by him/her, and other sources are there only to support the argument.

Do You Have to Cite Your Source If You Rewrite the Sentence in Your Own Words?

Yes, definitely. Any idea that does belong to the author should have a citation. In this way, the author gives credit to another person’s hard work and thoughts, and they are saved from copyright infringement as well.

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