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Paraphrasing - an overview

Paraphrasing, Academic writing, Citing and referencing

The Do's

  1. The first step in paraphrasing is to read the original text and get a full grasp of it. You may need to read the original text a few times and check the meaning of key words to fully understand it.
  2. While you are reading, think about the overall meaning of each paragraph or section - don’t just focus on the individual words and sentences.
  3. After each paragraph or section, put the reading aside and state it in your own words.
  4. When you can do this, you are ready to write your paraphrase.
  5. Finally, proofread, revise and edit your paraphrase as necessary.

(Monash University, 2022).

The Don'ts

  1. Don’t paraphrase without really reading and understanding the source. This is a dealbreaker. You can’t paraphrase an idea that you don’t fully understand. You’ll need to read carefully, and you might need to read the source several times.  
  2. Don’t look at the original as you try to paraphrase. Focus on capturing the idea, not the sentences. Imagine you’re explaining it to a friend. 
  3. Don’t change the meaning of ideas or take them out of context. If the authors crept up behind you and read your paraphrase, would they think it was accurate?
  4. Don’t change only a few words here and there. Copy no more than 3-4 words in a row (except for technical terms that can’t be paraphrased.
    Make sure you have copied no more than 20% of the original language).
  5. Remember, in a paraphrase, you’ve got to change the structure of the original and as many of the words as possible.

(University of Guelph, 2021).

How to Paraphrase

(University of Guelph Library, 2014) 

The Library, Technological University of the Shannon: Midwest