How can you incorporate information into your essay without plagiarizing?
You can paraphrase or quote (See definition in glossary.) the actual words used in the original text. This involves analysis. Some hints on analyzing an article is given below. For an example of synthesizing ideas from two newspaper articles, click here.
Analysis is one approach to writing an essay. Analysis involves discussing and examining a problem that has been represented by someone else’s thought. For example, select a problem or concept that interests you as it is represented in one article and analyze its constituent parts, its meanings and its larger implications.
Take a look at the excerpt from a sample essay analyzing an article on homelessness published in The New Yorker. Note that anecdotes and concepts from the article have been used but have been placed within an original analytical framework. Other editorial notes are made in brackets.
The Homeless: an Urban Population or Real People?
Homelessness is a serious problem, especially in urban environments. City officials often need to count how many homeless individuals and families populate their areas so they can develop adequate assistance programs and shelters. They must also be able to determine if homeless numbers are increasing so they can plan appropriately. However, counting the nomadic and occasionally fugitive homeless population is not an easy task, as New York City has discovered.
Shadow Count is based upon a model known as “plant-capture”: [An explanatory sentence ending with a colon introduces the long quotation.]
McGrath, Ben. “Dept. of Calculation CRED.” The New Yorker 14 Mar. 2005: 56-58.
The sample essay employs the following strategies:
- Paraphrase – Translate the concept or idea into your own words and then cite the source of the idea.
- Introduce quotations by a signal phrase.
- Short quotations – A phrase from the source must be word for word and enclosed by quotation marks.
- Long quotations should be indented on the left margin and introduced by an explanatory sentence that ends with a colon.
To see an explanation and example of Synthesis click here.