Professional Communication

Research Skills

It’s vital to present information in your own words, and credit your sources. This chapter teaches you how to summarize, paraphrase and credit your sources.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism includes:

  • Presenting other people’s work as your own
  • Using other people’s work without paraphrasing or summarizing it
  • Not citing work that you have paraphrased, summarized or quoted
  • In school, submitting work that you’ve already submitted in another course

How to Avoid Plagiarism

  1. Use valid resources
  2. As you read/watch/listen to the resources, make notes of the information that’s useful for your report
  3. Note the resource title, author, date of creation and URL if it’s online. You will use this later to cite your sources
  4. Organize your notes in the order that’s appropriate for your report
  5. Turn your research notes into full sentences and paragraphs

Paraphrasing and Summarizing

When you use facts, data or ideas from a resource, you can paraphrase or summarize the source.

How to Paraphrase

Paraphrasing uses key facts and data from the resource. Here’s how to paraphrase:

  1. Make point-form notes of the relevant facts and data in the valid resource
  2. Group and organize your notes so they make sense for your report
  3. Expand your notes into sentences and paragraphs
  4. Cite your source (details below)

Don’t just copy sentences from the resource and change a few words in each sentence – that’s plagiarism.

For example:

Original: Although the gender gap in educational attainment favours women, gender imbalances vary widely by degree level and discipline. Women continue to be significantly underrepresented in high-earning STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields. Just as gender inequities are present in post-secondary attainment, they are also evident in labour force participation and outcomes, with women consistently underrepresented in senior leadership positions. The structural barriers and gaps to post-secondary education and work are wider yet for Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, LGBTQ2S, and racialized Canadians.[1]

Paraphrased: Indigenous people, LGBTQ2S, people with mental and physical disabilities, and people of colour face significant barriers to higher education and professional employment. Gender inequalities are another problem; women are still underrepresented in STEM programs and C-suite positions, despite typically outperforming men scholastically. [2]

How to Summarize

Summarizing describes the key ideas of the resource. A summary is shorter than the original content and is written in your own sentences.

To summarize:

  1. Make point-form notes that describe the resource’s key ideas
  2. Organize your notes in a way that makes sense to your report
  3. Expand your notes into sentences and paragraphs
  4. Cite your source (details below)

For example:

Original: Although the gender gap in educational attainment favours women, gender imbalances vary widely by degree level and discipline. Women continue to be significantly underrepresented in high-earning STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields. Just as gender inequities are present in post-secondary attainment, they are also evident in labour force participation and outcomes, with women consistently underrepresented in senior leadership positions. The structural barriers and gaps to post-secondary education and work are wider yet for Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, LGBTQ2S, and racialized Canadians.[3]

Summarized: The article states that despite doing better in school than men, women are underrepresented in STEM programs and high-level professional positions. Indigenous people, racialized people, LGBTQ2S and people with disabilities have even harder times succeeding at school and in the workplace, because of systemic barriers and missing resources.[4]


Quotations

Very rarely, you will use a quotation. A quotation is the author’s words exactly as they were written or spoken. Use a quotation only when’s absolutely necessary.

We add quotation marks at the start and end of the quotation. For example:

Original: Women continue to be significantly underrepresented in high-earning STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields.

Quotation: “Women continue to be significantly underrepresented in high-earning STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields.”[5]

Keep quotations short, especially in reports. A good limit is about 100 words. Most of your writing should be in your own words; it’s not acceptable to submit work that’s mostly quotations.


Citations

What are Citations?

When you use information from sources other than your own experience, you need to state where you got the information. This is called a citation, or citing a source.

Why are Citations Important?

A citation tells the reader or listener:

  • That you did not create the information yourself
  • That you’re using real information, not something you made up
  • That your sources are valid and trustworthy
  • Where you got the information
  • Where to find more information

When Do I Include a Citation?

When you include information that you did not create, you must always cite the source.

The only time you don’t need to cite information is when it’s from your own experience, or is considered .

What to Cite:

  • Words, ideas, information
  • Images, video, audio
  • Conversations, lectures, presentations
  • Data, statistics
  • Charts, graphs
  • Content that you found online, including podcasts and social media
  • Course material

You Don’t Need to Cite:

  • Your own experiences, thoughts and ideas
  • Your own art: images, art, recordings or photos that you made (but it’s a good idea to credit yourself, so people know you didn’t plagiarize)

How Do I Cite?

In Business, we use Chicago Style Citations. Chicago Style citations use footnotes and a bibliography.

Chicago Style Footnotes

At the end of the paraphrased, summarized or quoted content, add a footnote. The footnote comprises two parts:

  1. A superscript number at the end of the content you’re citing. (Looks like this: 1)
  2. The footnote at the bottom of the page. Footnotes vary depending on whether the source is from a website, book, academic journal or personal conversation.

Citing a Website

A Chicago style footnote for a website uses this format:

Footnote number. Author’s Firstname Author’s Lastname, “Article Title,” Website Name, last modified (or accessed on) date, URL.

For example:

1. Martin Turcotte, “Volunteering and Charitable Giving in Canada,” Statistics Canada, last modified April 15, 2016, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-652-x/89-652-x2015001-eng.htm.

Citing Other Sources

These two resources show you how to cite any type of resource, including books, videos, conversations, or academic journals:


Tip: To add a footnote in Word or Googledocs, click “Insert footnote,” then enter the citation information. The superscript number automatically appears, and is linked to the footnote at the bottom of the page. (The footnotes will update automatically if you move content or add citations.)

Always check that the citation is correct; some word processing tools format incorrectly.


Chicago Style Bibliography

Chicago style citations include a bibliography. The bibliography is a list on the last page of your document that shows all the sources you cited. Sources are listed alphabetically by author’s last name, with a space between each source.

Chicago style bibliography sources look very similar to footnotes, except:

  • The author’s last name goes first
  • Periods replace the commas
  • Sources aren’t numbered

For example:

Bibliography

Bariso, Justin. “What is Emotional Intelligence?.” Inc. Last accessed Dec 23, 2019. https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/what-is-emotional-intelligence-exactly-heres-the-entire-concept-summed-up-in-1-s.html 

Conference Board of Canada. “Gender Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Business and Higher Education Perspectives.” Conference Board of Canada. Last accessed February 26, 2020. https://www.conferenceboard.ca/edu/research/gender-equity-diversity-and-inclusion

Mediasmarts. “On The Loose: A Guide to Life Online For Post-Secondary Students.” Mediasmarts. 2016. https://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/guides/on_the_loose.pdf

Turcotte, Martin. “Volunteering and Charitable Giving in Canada.” Statistics Canada. Last modified April 15, 2016. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-652-x/89-652-x2015001-eng.htm.

 


  Self-assessment 


  Canadian Workplace Quiz 


  1. Conference Board of Canada, "Gender Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Business and Higher Education Perspectives", Conference Board of Canada, Last accessed February 26, 2020, https://www.conferenceboard.ca/edu/research/gender-equity-diversity-and-inclusion
  2. Conference Board of Canada, "Gender Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Business and Higher Education Perspectives", Conference Board of Canada, Last accessed February 26, 2020, https://www.conferenceboard.ca/edu/research/gender-equity-diversity-and-inclusion 
  3. Conference Board of Canada, "Gender Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Business and Higher Education Perspectives", Conference Board of Canada, Last accessed February 26, 2020, https://www.conferenceboard.ca/edu/research/gender-equity-diversity-and-inclusion
  4. Conference Board of Canada, "Gender Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Business and Higher Education Perspectives", Conference Board of Canada, Last accessed February 26, 2020, https://www.conferenceboard.ca/edu/research/gender-equity-diversity-and-inclusion
  5. Conference Board of Canada. “Gender Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Business and Higher Education Perspectives.” Conference Board of Canada. Last accessed February 26, 2020. https://www.conferenceboard.ca/edu/research/gender-equity-diversity-and-inclusion

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Professional Business Practice by Lucinda Atwood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.