Paraphrasing and Summarizing Practice Exercise

Recognizing Good and Bad Summarizing

Practice Exercise

Here are some examples to help you recognize the difference between correct summarizing and summarizing that is plagiarised. Read them over and see if you can decide yourself which version is the correct one and why.

Original:

From Bliss, Michael. The Discovery of Insulin. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1982.
Chapter 8, Section I, Paragraph 1, Page 190:
 
Most medical people despised the press, holding attitudes not totally unfamiliar today. Reporters tended to be suckers for every quack, half-quack, over-eager scientist, or naive country doctor who thought he had a serum to cure tuberculosis, a herbal remedy for cancer, or a new surgical procedure to rejuvenate the aged. When the newspapers were not wasting space on undeserving medical stories, they were over-playing legitimate news, getting their facts wrong, and generally making a nuisance of themselves interfering in the lives and practices of busy professionals. Doctors' deep suspicion of what they read in the newspapers and even in the less-carefully edited of the medical journals, helps to explain some of the early skepticism about insulin in countries like Britain: Oh, the Americans are always curing everything; this week it's diabetes. Even in Canada and the United States it was some months before there was enough confirmation of the unlikely news from Toronto to convince wire services and the more skeptical doctors and editors that insulin was, indeed, the real thing.

Version 1:

Most medical people hated the press, because reporters tended to believe every over-eager scientist or naive country doctor who thought he had a cure for something. Newspapers often over-played legitimate news, got their facts wrong, and interfered in the lives and practices of busy professionals. Doctors became deeply suspicious of what they read in the newspapers and less-carefully edited medical journals, therefore were skeptical about insulin in countries like Britain because it seemed the Americans were always curing everything.
 
Version 1 = Plagiarism: The student has attempted to disguise the fact that most of the words and all of the ideas in this passage have been copied directly from the original by altering verb forms and changing the original order of the ideas. The words highlighted are the only words not plagiarized from the original text. There is no citation.
 
Most medical people hated the press, because reporters tended to believe every over-eager scientist or naive country doctor who thought he had a cure for something. Newspapers often over-played legitimate news, got their facts wrong, and interfered in the lives and practices of busy professionals. Doctors became deeply suspicious of what they read in the newspapers and less-carefully edited medical journals, therefore were skeptical about insulin in countries like Britain because it seemed the Americans were always curing everything.

Version 2:

Most medical people hated the press, because reporters tended to believe every "over-eager scientist or naive country doctor" (p. 190) who thought he had a cure for something. Newspapers often over-played legitimate news, got their facts wrong, and interfered "in the lives and practices of busy professionals" (p. 190). Doctors became deeply suspicious of what they read in the newspapers and less-carefully edited medical journals, therefore were skeptical about insulin in countries like Britain because it seemed the Americans were "always curing everything" (p. 190).
 
Version 2 = Plagiarism: This version is much the same as #1, but is an attempt to mislead the reader to believe that the student is honestly citing the original by quoting from the original (with a page reference), while the rest of the of the text is largely plagiarised.
 
Most medical people hated the press, because reporters tended to believe every "over-eager scientist or naive country doctor" (p. 190) who thought he had a cure for something. Newspapers often over-played legitimate news, got their facts wrong, and interfered "in the lives and practices of busy professionals" (p. 190). Doctors became deeply suspicious of what they read in the newspapers and less-carefully edited medical journals, therefore were skeptical about insulin in countries like Britain because it seemed the Americans were "always curing everything" (p. 190).

Version 3:

Insulin as a treatment for diabetes was not widely accepted as "the real thing" (p. 190) by the medical profession for many months after "the unlikely news from Toronto" (p. 190). Doctors had become skeptical about the legitimacy of medical discoveries as reported both by newspapers, which tended to waste space on "undeserving medical stories" (p. 190), and by some less professional medical journals.
 
Version 3 = Paraphrase + Quotes: This version is acceptable from a plagiarism standpoint, but the passages the student chooses to quote from are not suitable. Quote only when the statement is by an acknowledged expert in the field or could not be phrased in a better or more succinct way. Otherwise, paraphrasing the idea is better. Note that the passages chosen for quotation here are banal and not important.
 
Insulin as a treatment for diabetes was not widely accepted as "the real thing" (p. 190) by the medical profession for many months after "the unlikely news from Toronto" (p. 190). Doctors had become skeptical about the legitimacy of medical discoveries as reported both by newspapers, which tended to waste space on "undeserving medical stories" (p. 190), and by some less professional medical journals.

Version 4:

Insulin as a treatment for diabetes was not widely accepted for many months because doctors had become skeptical about the legitimacy of medical discoveries as reported both by newspapers and by some less professional medical journals (p. 190).
 
Version 4 = Summary paraphrase: This is an acceptable summary. Insulin as a treatment for diabetes was not widely accepted for many months because doctors had become skeptical about the legitimacy of medical discoveries as reported in newspapers and by some less professional medical journals (p. 190).
 
Continue on to the Summarizing Quiz