Avoiding Plagiarism - Choosing Whether to Quote or to Paraphrase

Sometimes students are not sure when to quote directly and when to paraphrase.

Quote only if the language is particularly expressive and/or adds weight to your argument.


Example of a good use of quotation:

After the Challenger disaster of 1986, it was learned that NASA was so anxious to launch the shuttle that it had overlooked certain safety measures. Nobel physicist Richard Feynman later observed that "for a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled" (cited in Katz, 1999).


Feynman's credentials and fine wording of his comment deserve quotation here.

(Source: Katz, J. (1999, May 13). Retrieved July 6, 2005 from http://wuphys.wustl.edu/~katz/naturefooled.html.)


Example of unnecessary quotation, a paraphrase would be better:

In January 2012, the World Health Organization published a set of recommendations for policy-makers regarding marketing food and beverages to children.  The report noted that “In Norway, the Broadcasting Act bans advertising directed at children and advertising in connection with children’s programming on television and radio.  The ban applies to the advertising of any products, including food and beverages.”  (p. 22)

The wording of this information is not particularly noteworthy.  In this case, it would be better to paraphrase:

In January 2012, the World Health Organization published a set of recommendations for policy-makers regarding marketing food and beverages to children.  The report noted that the country of Norway has enacted a law that prohibits all advertising to children, including advertisements for drinks or food. (p. 22)

(Source:  World Health Organization (2012).  A framework for implementing the set of recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children. Marketing Framework 2012. PDF file. Retrieved from www.who.int.)