Tag Archives: academic research tips

Paraphrasing Passages in Research Writing: How Is It Done?

How do you paraphrase passages? This article explains and provides examples to illustrate how it is done.

This is a sequel of an article entitled, “Writing a Research Article: How to Paraphrase” in which the steps are explained on how to paraphrase sentences. But, how about when you paraphrase a passage? Will the steps be the same?

Yes, all the steps previously discussed can be used in passage paraphrasing. To start with, I will present a passage taken from the article of Dr. Regoniel entitled, “How to Conduct a Focus Group Discussion”. This particular passage is under the sub-topic, a trained moderator or facilitator.

“The moderator may not necessarily be the researcher himself but someone familiar with the issues to be discussed. Hence, he should confer with researcher before conducting the FGD process. He should have a good background knowledge of the participants and must not involve himself in the discussion, such as arguing with the participants. His main role is to introduce and explain the questions, clarify the issues raised, confirm responses, encourage the expression of ideas, among other related functions. He summarizes the process at the end of the discussion”.

So, how can we do it?

Since that passage is taken from a reliable source, your next step is to get the key words. From there, you can get the main idea and the supporting details. The use of T-chart can help you figure it out. Please see the sample below:

Use Key Words

The key words are focus group discussion (FGD), trained moderator (though the word trained is not present in the passage, it is part of the key word because the passage described not only a mere moderator but a trained one, and it is stipulated in the sub-topic), qualities and roles of moderator.

 Get Main Ideas

The main idea of the passage is the qualities and roles of a trained moderator in focus group discussion. But, we can chunk the main idea into two: the qualities and the roles of a trained  moderator.  Below right are the illustrations:T chart

Use Synonyms When Appropriate and Have your Own Grammatical Structures

The passage below has been paraphrased for you. Can you guess the synonyms being replaced and the grammatical structures used?

“The moderator does not need to be the researcher himself but someone who is aware of the issues to be presented. So, he should discuss first to the researcher the process for focus group discussion before conducting it. Likewise, he must know the background of his participants so that he can have a meaningful interaction with them. It is also suggested that the moderator must avoid discussing and arguing with the participants. His main role is to introduce and explain the questions, clarify issues raised, confirm responses, encourage expression of ideas and summarize the process at the end of the discussion”.

One of the ways to have your own grammatical structure is the change the sequence of information.  This was not discussed in my previous article because I believe that this is more appropriate in passage rather than in sentence paraphrasing.

Cite the Author or the Source of Information and Change the Sequence of Information

 In order to have a legitimate paraphrase and not a plagiarized version, the possible paraphrase of the original passage would be the following:

According to Dr. Regoniel, the moderator must avoid discussing and arguing with the participants. His main role is to introduce and explain the questions, clarify issues raised, confirm responses, encourage expression of ideas and summarize the process at the end of the discussion.

 It is also suggested that he need not be the researcher himself but someone who is aware of the issues to be presented. In this case, the moderator should discuss first with the researcher the process for focus group discussion before conducting it. He must also know the background of his participants so that he can have a meaningful interaction with them.

Therefore, the plagiarized version of a paraphrase is when you failed to acknowledge the author or source; when you directly translated the words from one form of English wording to another, when you used the same sequence of information or in some cases, the same words and phrases.

References:

1. Jameson, J. (2004). Researching and reporting.  Saudi Arabia: University English Program King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

2. Purdue OWL. Paraphrase: write it in your own words. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/619/

© 2013 October 17 M. G. Alvior

Five Memory Improvement Tips for Researchers

Field encounters become more meaningful when you gather and recall as much detail as you can. If you do not have a system or technique to do it, it will be difficult. Here are five memory improvement tips that work.

Good researchers need a sharp memory; if not, then they will be losing valuable information from field encounters. The ability to recall things is not a matter of genes alone. It can be developed with practice and through the use of creative means.

If you have trouble recalling things, then the following memory improvement tips will help you remember those things observed in the field.

Five Memory Improvement Tips

1. Bring your notes and pencil/pen with you.

Notes are indispensable tools to help you recall things. Jotting a few words or phrases on a small notebook will remind you of important statistics such as the number of people who benefited from a project, the number of animals that your interviewee spotted, or the frequency of sightings. When your automatic audio or video recorder fails, you always have your notes to write on.

2. Always tote the indispensable camera.

For the modern researcher, the camera tells a thousand words. You can describe the study site by just a quick shot of the landscape. Or document a new species which cannot be easily trapped. Setting it in video mode will help you capture people’s conversations and reactions useful making those available during post-field work analysis. Just make sure you have the memory card inserted inside the camera and the battery is full.

If your camera is not weatherproof or waterproof, bringing along thick, transparent plastic bags to wrap your camera in when unexpected rains come. You will need a rubber band to seal it dry.

3. Always bring a young assistant with you.

Why do you need a young assistant with you? Well, that’s simple. Younger people tend to recall things better than aging researchers who spent most of their time studying and narrowing their frame of mind as a result of specialization. If you are a professor, choose a student who performs well in class.

4. Consciously mark things with objects and arrange them in pairsbottle and twin

It is easy to recall things when you associate them with something. For example, you can represent a series of numbers with the following objects: 1 – a bottle, 2 – a twin, 3 – a tree, 4 – a paper clip, 5 – a hand, 6 – a man with six-pack abs, 7 – a sickle, 8 – a twisted tire, 9 – a cat, and 0 – an egg.

How do you use these numbers to represent a series of numbers say a telephone number? Easy. If you want to recall 432-7812, associate this number in pairs of objects representing the numbers in the previous paragraph. This number converts into the following symbol combinations: paper clipped on a tree, tree hugged by a twin, one of the twins holding a sickle, sickle cutting a twisted tire, tire containing a bottle, and bottle with two small twins inside.

Now, imagine those objects and their relationships in your mind. Whether you recall them forwards or backwards, it is easy to get back to the numbers. Else, you lose an extension of your memory.

5. Associate events that you want to recall with a traumatic incident.

Traumatic incidents in your life are easily recalled. Associate an important event in your investigation with a traumatic incident in your life. Although recalling that unpleasant experience in your life can make you feel bad, it can help you recall important things. In so doing, you will also allay that horrible, nasty, obnoxious or bad experience of yours.

Try these memory tips and see a difference in your research output.

© 2013 September 19 P. A. Regoniel

Making Your Research Count

Good quality research is the key to many aspects of work, academia, and life in general. Whether you’re researching scholarly texts for a dissertation, industry facts and figures for a work presentation, or simply hunting for a bargain online, the ability to seek out and effectively use relevant information is a fantastic life skill.

There are some simple techniques you can follow to make sure that your research is relevant, high quality, and doesn’t take an age to find the information you need. Whatever research task is facing you, these tips should help to make the process smoother, easier and more productive.

Keep An Open Mind

Open-mindedness is crucial to good research. If you go into your research task having already decided what you want the result to be, this can prevent you from considering other options and using them to help you come to a more accurate conclusion.

You also face the problem of what’s known as confirmation bias, which is the idea that people pay more attention to information that agrees with their own original ideas. If, for example, you’re searching for alcohol rehab centers in Florida but already have a choice in mind, you’ll be less likely to pay attention to the other options that are available to you. If you’re able to begin your research task with an open mind, you’ll be more likely to come to an accurate conclusion.

Learn To Make The Most Of Search Engines

Search engines are a valuable tool for doing research, but it’s possible to get a bit lost in the huge amounts of information that a general search can return. One way to cut down the irrelevant results which may crop up from a general search term is to put quotation marks around the phrase you’re searching on. This makes the search engine look for sites which contain that specific term, rather than a combination of some or all of the individual words.

Another tool offered by search engines, particularly Google, is the ability to search only on one particular type of site. Google has search options for books, academic texts, news, shopping, images and a whole host of other categories. These can be particularly useful if you know what type of information you’re looking for.

Take A Systematic Approach To Your Research

One of the main problems facing researchers, particularly in the Internet age, is the sheer volume of information available. It can be tricky to keep track of everything you’ve researched if you don’t create an organized system for storing the information once you find it. Doing the best research in the world is no use if you cannot effectively catalogue, access, and use the information afterwards. Try a spreadsheet or database to keep all your information in order.

Once you know how to research effectively, you can make your work easier and find higher quality information. Taking the time in improving your research ability will always pay off.