Friday, 16 September 2016

Writing in Your Own Words – A Guide

Learning Research & Organisational Skills

Build a well written argument with logical progression, using supporting evidence.
Supporting evidence includes:

  • Quoting: directly from another academic’s book or article.
  • Paraphrasing: describing the academics work by putting it into your own words.
  • Referencing: acknowledging the information you have and where you found it. See Guide to Creating Your Referencing List.  

For tasks that require you to make an argument for a particular theory or approach, ensure that:

  • Your argument is balanced.
  • Use evidence to support your argument.
  • Provide competing material, ensuring that you understand the differences between fact and conjecture.

If your discussion is not definitely true, or possibly true, you can use phrases such as: ‘This suggests that…’ or ‘It is possible that…’. This is an academic requirement and is especially important in science and technology subjects.

To express someone else’s argument by reformulating the words of the original author, improves your understanding of the subject and avoids plagiarism.

How you reformulate the words depends on your writing style and the subject. The following points will help:

  • Change the structure of the argument and sentences. Choosing the appropriate/relevant elements of the original argument to suit the aims of your task/objectives.
  • Choose elements from the original published work that is pertinent to your needs.
  • Provide evidence and reasons to indicate and support your opinions/conclusions.

As you study and write your notes, do not  just copy the text directly, write in your own words, phrasing and interpreting it in your own way.