Paraphrasing & Rewriting

In your assignments you will be expected to draw on the writing of experts in your field of study to demonstrate your understanding of key concepts, ideas and debates. You will also use this material as evidence to support your arguments and justify your claims.

Care is needed when incorporating the work of others into your assignments to avoid plagiarism. The techniques that will assist you to achieve this are: paraphrasing, summarising and quoting combined with correct referencing.

A successful paraphrase is your own explanation or interpretation of another person’s ideas. Paraphrasing in academic writing is an effective way to restate, condense, or clarify another author’s ideas while also providing credibility to your own argument or analysis. While successful paraphrasing is essential for strong academic writing, unsuccessful paraphrasing can result in unintentional plagiarism. Look through the paraphrasing strategies below to better understand what counts as an effective paraphrase.

Effective Paraphrasing Strategies

If you’re having trouble paraphrasing a text effectively, try following these steps:

  1. Reread the original passage you wish to paraphrase, looking up any words you do not recognize, until you think you understand the full meaning of and intention behind the author’s words.
  2. Next, cover or hide the passage. Once the passage is hidden from view, write out the author’s idea, in your own words, as if you were explaining it to your instructor or classmates.
  3. After you have finished writing, check your account of the author’s idea against the original. While comparing the two, ask yourself the following questions:Have I accurately addressed the author’s ideas in a new way that is unique to my writing style and scholarly voice? Have I tried to replicate the author’s idea or have I simply changed words around in his/her original sentence(s)?
  4. Last, include a citation, which should contain the author’s name, the year, and the page or paragraph number (if available), directly following your paraphrase.