Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Write it Right - A guide to Harvard referencing style

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is expressing someone else’s writing in your own choice of words, while keeping the same essential meaning. As Pears and Shields (2019, p. 15) explain, it is ‘an alternative way of referring to an author’s ideas or arguments without using direct quotations from their text’. 

Paraphrasing is generally more highly valued by academics than direct quoting because it allows you to demonstrate a greater understanding of your source and helps you to maintain your personal writing style and the smooth flow of your essay.

Don’t forget to include in-text citations (author and date) in the text of your assignment and full references at the end of your assignment every time you paraphrase someone else’s words or ideas.

Examples of Paraphrasing

The example below (Handley and Cox, 2007) shows extracts from two student essays, both based on the same original text. The first extract demonstrates unacceptable paraphrasing and referencing, while the second extract demonstrates acceptable paraphrasing and referencing.

Example - The influence of Karl Marx

First, here is the original extract, taken from the book, Marx and Marxism, by Peter Worsley:

Karl Marx has probably affected the course of twentieth-century history more than any other single thinker. Because of this, his ideas have generated a vast output of writings, ranging from texts written by revolutionaries aimed at telling people how to do revolution - how to carry on Marx's work of demolishing capitalism and creating a new socialist society - to the many hundreds of volumes dedicated to proving that Marx was wrong about practically everything (Worsley, 2002, p. 1).

Here's what two students wrote in their dissertations: 

                            Karl Marx, the inspiration for revolutionary activity in many countries, has probably affected the course of 20C history more than almost any other thinker. Because of this, his ideas have generated a vast output of writings, ranging from books written about revolution - how to demolish capitalism and create a new socialist society - to books dedicated to proving that Marx was wrong about practically everything.

Reference: Worsley, P. (2002) Marx and Marxism. 2nd edn. London: Routledge.  

Worsley (2002) suggests that Karl Marx has had a significant impact on the course of twentieth-century history. He argues that Marx's ideas have led to a great deal of writing, across a spectrum from promoting his call for revolution to trying to show he was wrong in his analysis and predictions.

Reference: Worsley, P. (2002) Marx and Marxism. 2nd edn. London: Routledge. 

 

Read more

The Library, Technological University of the Shannon: Midwest