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In a master's degree thesis, is it best to paraphrase or directly quote? Which should we use, more quotes or paraphrasing?

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accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Yes - originality is the all-important goal here. Obviously to state your original thoughts and ideas you have to refer to those ideas of others that you wish to build upon or criticise, and you will do so through using both quotes and paraphrasing, but remember - one of the biggest problems with quoting is that so many students quote unnecessarily large chunks of text without justification where they could have far more fruitfully paraphrased. If you are going to use quotes you HAVE TO justify the use of quotes by making sure you analyse them and spend some time looking at them. If not, just paraphrase.

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lfawley eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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You should use quotes when they are appropriate - when what you have discovered in your research is stated so well by the author to whom you are referring that you could not possibly state it any better than that. And, when you quote, you should keep it short. If you are simply summarizing and alluding to the research of other critics or scholars, paraphrase. Whatever you do, always cast your research in context of your own ideas, Show the relevance of the research to your thesis and do not relyt solely on the theory of other scholars.

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linda-allen eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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What you should use is your own thoughts. Whichever way you decide to go, use quotations and paraphrases sparingly. Your thesis needs to be your own work and not a rehash of what someone else has written.

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akplotkin eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The advice you have received is comprehensive and well-written. My addition is a similarity between paraphasing and using quotations. Both require CITATIONS. When using a direct quote, you need to include the (Author, Date of the publication, and exact page number). When paraphasing, your citation, requires just the (Author, Date of publication)....no page number is required. Paraphasing has the advantage in my opinion because it becomes stronger with the increased number of authors. If you find three authors who write similar interpretations of a piece of literature, then you can include all three authors in one citation. This provides evidence that what you write has been supported by others, and not just you.

There are guidelines put out by The American Psychological Association (APA Publication Manual) which specify how to use citations when paraphasing and quoting.  Check to see if your college/university abides by the APA Manual.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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You already have many answers giving a good general overview, but in light of the request you sent me, perhaps I can add a little more clarity. There is a basic difference in terminology used in British-based education systems and American-based systems. It may not be of great significance, but then again, it may be worth at least mentioning. In British-based systems, a postgraduate thesis generally refers to the two or three papers written for each class in a "taught" postgraduate program. The final M.A. qualifying paper is then called a "dissertation." In American-based systems, the "thesis" is the final qualifying paper and is equivalent to the M.A. "dissertation" of British-based systems.

This may have bearing on the answer to your question because of the British-based thesis length. In general a thesis in this definition is restricted to somewhere around 2,000 to 3,000 words, though of course the length limit varies. However since two or three thesis papers may generally be due per each of six taught courses, the word limit is significant as time is a governing factor.

In a paper of academic significance that has a narrow word limit and a predetermined framework that may include background, theoretical and/or situational sections, evaluation of...

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dreams99 | Student

What is the best font size for a thesis in literature is it 12 or 14 new times roman?. There are sites which say 12 and others say 14!!!.

Or Does it depend on supervisor's advice?

When doing a paraphrase, do I have to document and how if it is from an article or an essay?

 

Thanks

 

Feel free to correct my English please.

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dreams99 | Student

I am meant when the master's thesis is concerned with literature in general whether poems or novels

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