- Study at Deakin
- Campus life
- Industry and community
- About Deakin
A distinctive characteristic of academic writing is that it is based on reading and research and it discusses the ideas and findings of other writers. As a student writer, therefore, it is essential that you know how to discuss the work of other writers and researchers and correctly acknowledge their contribution in the papers you submit for assessment.
This resource deals with discussing the work of others in your writing and uses a sample extract to demonstrate the various processes involved. Integrating information and ideas from sources into your writing is a complex task, involving several skills.
There are three ways of using the ideas, research findings and words of others in your writing. They are:
In your paper you should mainly summarise and paraphrase the writers you discuss and quote only sparingly.
It is necessary to reference, whether summarising, paraphrasing or quoting.
An extract from a text follows, with examples of summarising, paraphrasing and quoting, using the author-date (Harvard) style of referencing. Whichever referencing style is used, writers need to summarise and paraphrase their sources and correctly reference them.
To write successfully at university you need a sense of what the final product should look and sound like, so if possible, read model assignments or if these are not available, study the way in which journal articles have been written in your specific area. These articles may be lengthy and some may be based on research rather than a discussion of issues, but from them you will get a sense of how academic writing 'sounds', that is, its tone, and also how respected writers in your field assemble information. You will also gain a sense of the complexity of being an apprentice writer in an academic culture, or rather cultures, where expectations may vary from discipline to discipline, even subject to subject and where you can build a repertoire of critical thinking and writing skills that enable you to enter the academic debates, even to challenge.
(The entire extract is used in the discussion on summarising; the highlighted segment for quoting and paraphrasing.)
Source: Morley-Warner, T 2001, Academic writing is…: a guide to writing in a university context , 2nd edn, CREA Publications, University of Technology Sydney, Lindfield, NSW. (This extract is from page 6.)
A summary is a condensation of a passage, an article or a book. There is no correlation between the length of a text and the length of a summary of it. An entire book can be summarised in one sentence! It all depends on your purpose as a writer. Of course, it is essential to understand the text and have a clear purpose for summarising it, in whatever detail you choose to do so.
Here is a summary of the entire sample extract using the author-date (Harvard) style of referencing.
|Morley-Warner (2001, p. 6) suggests that for university students to convey the appropriate academic tone in their assignments, they should read sample assignments and study the way journal articles in their specific subjects are written. Through this process, she contends, students will develop the critical thinking and writing skills that will allow them to participate in academic debate.|
Points to note:
A paraphrase is the rephrasing of a short passage from a text, in about the same number of words. As a writer, you need to choose the passage or passages you wish to paraphrase - because of their importance or interest and relevance to your paper. Of course, you need to fully understand the passage and have a clear purpose for using it.
Here is an example of a paraphrase of the highlighted text in the sample extract using the author-date (Harvard) style of referencing.
|Studying how journal articles are written students will come to understand what is required of them in their writing (Morely-Warner 2001, p. 6). They will also become aware of the different demands of various disciplines and even the different requirements from subject to subject, argues Morley-Warner (2001, p. 6). Through this process, Morley-Warner maintains, students will develop critical thinking and writing skills that will allow them to participate in academic debate and even to challenge ideas.|
Points to note:
A short quote is a sentence or part of a sentence which is reproduced exactly. It consists of fewer than about 30 words when using the author-date (Harvard) style and fewer than 40 words when using the APA style. This example relates to the author-date (Harvard) style.
|Morley-Warner (2001, p. 6) acknowledges the challenges of writing at university. She describes the novice student writer as 'an apprentice writer in an academic culture, or rather cultures, where expectations may vary from discipline to discipline, even subject to subject'.|
Points to note:
A block quote is a longer quote. It consists of more than about 30 words when using the author-date (Harvard) system and more than 40 words when using the APA system. It is set off from the body of the paper by indenting. This example relates to the author-date (Harvard) style.
|Morley-Warner (2001) discusses how university students can learn to acquire and convey the appropriate academic tone in their assignments. She suggests that students should focus on how journal articles in their subject are written and structured. She describes another benefit of this process:
Reading is central to study at university. It is through reading that ...
Points to note:
Whether you summarise, paraphrase or quote, you should provide full details of each source in a reference list at the end of your paper.
The reference list should contain all the works cited in the paper and no works that are not cited. A work is listed only once in the reference list, regardless of how many times it is cited in text.
Here is the entry for the sample text in a reference list compiled according to the author-date (Harvard) style:
|Morley-Warner, T 2001, Academic writing is...: a guide to writing in a university context , 2nd edn, CREA Publications, University of Technology Sydney, Lindfield, NSW.|
|Morley-Warner, T||family name and initial of author|
|Academic writing is...: a guide to writing in a university context||title and subtitle in italics|
|2nd edn||edition (if not the first)|
|CREA Publications, University of Technology Sydney||publisher|
|Lindfield||city of publication|
|NSW||state (for relatively unknown city)|