Paraphrasing that makes teachers cringe (2016)

I often find myself reminding my Chemistry and Material Science students that they are not supposed to use direct “quotations” from scientific papers they read but they should paraphrase and cite what they consider the most important information element. I also give them a list of paraphrasing techniques simplifying them down to:

  1. Technical vocabulary (terminology) cannot always be paraphrased (e.g. mobile or stationary phase in chromatography)
  2. Using  synonyms or antonyms can be handy as long as you make sure the meaning is the same
  3. Transforming verbs into nouns (differ–difference) and adjectives into adverbs (and vice versa) can be very helpful
  4. Change the order of information or change from active to passive voice
  5. Acknowledge the authors or you will be plagiarising e.g. Smith et al. (2016) reported that…
  6. Summarise the content leaving out details (keep only what is really relevant to what YOU are trying to say)
  7. Add your own evaluative comments e.g. The main weakness in this report ¬†…

Then, I ask my students to choose one paragraph of their own from our textbook and paraphrase it legitimately. Yet, things do not always work as I have planned. Despite my sincere efforts to guide my students and hopefully contribute to more effective academic writing, I am always in for a surprise when some students still come up with texts like this:

Original paragraph
Adsorption chromatography was developed first. It has a solid stationary phase and a liquid or gaseous mobile phase. (Plant pigments were separated at the turn of the 20th century by using a calcium carbonate stationary phase and a liquid hydrocarbon mobile phase. The different solutes travelled different distances through the solid, carried along by the solvent.) Each solute has its own equilibrium between adsorption onto the surface of the solid and solubility in the solvent, the least soluble or best adsorbed ones travel more slowly. The result is a separation into bands containing different solutes. Liquid chromatography using a column containing silica gel or alumina is an example of adsorption chromatography. The solvent that is put into a column is called the eluent, and the liquid that flows out of the end of the column is called the eluate.

Paraphrase
Adsorption chromatography was developed first. It has a true to life hidden era and a cleaner or gaseous mobile period. (Plant pigments were summarize at the operation of the 20th century by employment a calcium carbonate hibernating phase and a Flakes hydrocarbon mobile phase. The choice solutes travelled option distances browse the existing, carried along by the douse.) Unexceptionally solute has its react to poise between adsorption onto the come overseas of the true and solubility in the animation, the smallest soluble or best adsorbed ones travel more slowly. The deliberation is a contravention into bands containing substitute solutes. soap powder chromatography application a cohort containing silica jell or alumina is an example of adsorption chromatography. The solvent cruise is pile into a cadre is suspect the eluent, and the liquid wind flows out of the repeal of the division is supposed the eluate.

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