Deep Reading

You did not get into college without learning to read.  You can read. You also cannot expect to do well in college without being willing to learn to read some materials that seem very challenging to you today. Taking on those challenges with your sources for your research projects can be especially satisfying for a number of reasons, and the understanding you gain of your material will give you a chance to demonstrate your command of the subject.

Some tips:

  • Ask your self questions about what you read. Read the passage again to see if the answers are there. If not, try looking looking for answers from other sources or discussing your question with others.
  • Determine the author's purpose and reason for writing.
  • Summarize paragraphs or longer passages.
  • When reading a research article, pay attention to the research design, methodology or any other account of what the author has done to build new knowledge
  • Work to learn new vocabulary, especially if you see the new words coming up frequently.

One final tip: Sloppy and awkward reuse of source material raises suspicions of plagiarism.

Note Taking

Taking accurate notes is the first step in avoiding accidental plagiarism. Good note-taking skills allow you to identify exactly what information came from what source, and will help prevent any last minute misunderstandings, lapses in memory, or confusion over the origin of a given point, quotation, or idea. Good notes can also save a lot of time because they provide a reliable record for double checking sources.

To take better notes, it is important to:

  • Record all bibliographic information in your notes to avoid having to go back and search for the source when you're in the process of writing your essay/assignment.
  • Make it clear when you are using your own words and when you are citing a source directly (you may want to color code your notes to indicate this important distinction).
  • Keep track of what ideas and quotations go with what source and where (even when paraphrasing a source, be sure to keep an accurate record of page numbers!).

--Plagiarism Resource Site

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Parts of this work were adapted from the Plagiarism Resource Site (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). The rest of this work was created by Jim Nichols, a former librarian at Oswego, and is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license. If you have questions, please contact