Author: Connie B. Dowell
Genre: Non-Fiction, Educational
How would you like to
- perform with the passion of an Oscar winning actor,
- compete with the drive and fervor of an Olympic athlete, or
- teach like you’ve got a Nobel Prize slung around your neck
all while doing your homework?
Believe it or not, you can do all of this and much more in the course of writing your college papers. This book takes you through the overlapping stages of the writing process, using game mechanics, cooperation, and learning styles to help you have as much fun as possible and take charge of your own education. With exercises and activities for groups and individuals, this text focuses on the meat of writing, the big picture elements that matter most in both college papers and real world writing situations, all with an eye toward enjoyment.
Sit down, crack open this guide, and give your favorite notebook a big hug. You may not have a choice about writing your papers, but who says you can’t love them?
Connie B. Dowell is a writing center coordinator and freelance editor. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Library and Information Science from Valdosta State University. She lives in Virginia with her husband, where they both consume far more coffee than is probably wise
Twitter at @ConnieBDowell
Facebook at facebook.com/editorcbdowell
There’s a tour-wide giveaway for “Break Your Block” Cards.
Excerpt: Avoiding Accidental Plagiarism
Now, I’m sure don’t need to tell you that you shouldn’t present other people’s writing or ideas as your own. That’s like stealing multiplied by cheating, and your grandma would be disappointed in you. But plagiarism can be more subtle and even accidental. One of the most common ways people accidentally plagiarize is to forget to cite their sources, so being meticulous about crediting as you go is vital, but people also accidentally plagiarize by paraphrasing incorrectly. It’s not enough to change two or three words in a sentence; you have to really and truly restate something in your own words. Sometimes this can be challenging, especially when using certain words and phrases that are have specific meanings and can’t be changed. Here are examples of good and bad paraphrasing from our penguin story above.
I saw a penguin once. It was gosh darn adorable. Penguins rock my socks. I guess I must have been near a zoo and the penguin escaped. I don’t think penguins live in Virginia, but there it was, in the middle of the road, waddling along. I forgot all about what I was doing and stared at it. It waddled up to a car. Then, it pulled wire clothes hanger out of its little backpack and picked the lock. It drove away. The penguin stole my car. But it was so cute. Have you seen their little faces? How could I be mad?
Dowell (2014) explains how she was so mesmerized by a penguin’s unexpected appearance and cute nature, she didn’t notice the penguin was stealing her car. Despite the incident, she remains positive in her attitude toward penguins.
Dowell (2014) discusses seeing a penguin in Virginia. She supposes she must have been near a zoo and the penguin escaped. The penguin was in the middle of the road. Dowell simply stared at it until it waddled up to a car and picked the lock with a wire clothes hanger. It was Dowell’s car. She couldn’t be angry, however, because of the cuteness of the penguin’s little face.
In the bad example, this person has changed quite a few words, but really the structure is exactly the same and there are still a lot of the original phrases. In the good example, this person has completely restated in a different structure and different words. The writer has some exact terms that can’t change (one can’t get away from saying penguin or car, for example), but it’s still a different writing of the same idea. Also notice that the good paraphrased example is considerably shorter than either the original sentences or the poorly paraphrased example. It hits relevant points, but doesn’t include all the details (like the clothes hanger). Summarizing often means creating a different structure as well.