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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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3 Reproducing information from sources

In the previous activity you practised identifying a summary, a paraphrase and a quotation. In particular, you have seen how they can transform the original text into different texts.

The diagram below (Figure 3) illustrates this transformation process:

A diagram of transformation process
Figure 3 Transformation process

In the following activity you will look at this transformation process in more detail.

Activity 5

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Read the original text, the summary, the paraphrase and the quoted phrase again and then answer the questions that follow.

Original text

Musical connections are particularly significant for migrants. The music they bring with them provides an important way of remembering home culture. But it can also be a form of connection to the culture they are coming to. For instance in Britain people arriving from the Caribbean between the 1940s and the 1960s brought music, notably reggae, which was enthusiastically taken up by young people already living in the UK. Today the descendants of these migrants maintain links with the Caribbean, and this continues to have a major impact on British musical culture.

(The Open University, 2014, p. 82).

Paraphrase

Reggae, a type of Caribbean music which was brought to the UK by immigrants in the period from the 1940s to the 1960s, became very popular among the British youth (The Open University, 2014).

Summary

Music is of fundamental importance to migrants as it allows them to retain connections to their country of origin while at the same time culturally influencing their new country (The Open University, 2014).

Quotation

To migrants, music can ‘be a form of connection to the culture they are coming to’ (The Open University, 2014).

  • In what ways has the writer transformed the original text in each case?
  • How much content has been taken from the original text?
  • What type of language has the author used?
  • How has each text been structured? Do they differ from the original? If yes, in what ways?
  • Does each text acknowledge the author of the original text?

Make some notes in the box before comparing your answers with mine.

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Answer

Paraphrase

The writer has chosen to use only the example. This text conveys the same meaning as the original but has been reworded and structured differently. They have placed the name of the author of the original text in brackets at the end of the summary.

Summary

The summary is shorter than the original text. It contains the key points but not the examples. The writer has organised the text differently and chosen different words. They have placed the name of the author of the original text in brackets at the end of the summary.

Quotation

The writer has extracted just part of one sentence from the original text and included it in their own sentence without making any changes and within inverted commas. They have acknowledged the name of the author by placing it in brackets at the end of the quotation.

The transformation process normally involves choosing the amount of the original text that will be reused. The content (the ideas, theories and data) is never changed but it is usually reported in the writer’s own words. The only exception is the quotation but, in this case, the writer uses the inverted commas to indicate that the quoted word or sentence has been written by somebody else. The name of the person or organisation who wrote the original text is always acknowledged in brackets in the written text, together with the date when the original text was published.

The next three sections explain in more detail how to paraphrase, summarise and quote texts.