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Online Guide to Writing and Research

Academic Integrity and Documentation

Practicing Academic Integrity

Managing Source Material

Paraphrasing Your Source

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is restating the ideas expressed in the source material using your own syntax in about the same length as the original source. 

Use paraphrasing in your writing to

  • demonstrate that you understand the original material 

  • maintain consistency of style throughout your paper

Remember that you must give credit to the original source following the preferred style guide (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.) of your instructor and/or academic discipline.

Here is an effective example:

“Our challenge, simply put, is to see the power and potential of the teenage brain and the emerging adolescent mind as assets rather than liabilities” (Siegel, 2013, p. 95).

Siegel (2013) believes adults would benefit from a positive view of the emerging strengths and endowments of a teen's brain and mind.

Formal Writing Habits

Notice the following:

  • Quotation marks are not used in the paraphrase because the writer is using his own phrasing

  • The writer still gives credit to the source material because the idea is not his own

  • It is okay to use key terms from the source material in the paraphrase (e.g., brain and mind)  

Ineffective Example

Paraphrasing is not just rewriting the words of the source in a different order or substituting different words. This rewording is considered plagiarism. 

“Our challenge, simply put, is to see the power and potential of the teenage brain and the emerging adolescent mind as assets rather than liabilities” (Siegel, 2013, p. 95).

Siegel says our struggle is simply to see the teenage brain’s and mind’s potential as positives rather than negatives.

Formal Writing Habits

Notice the following:

  • This is merely a restatement of the source material and not rephrased by the writer

  • There must be a citation that gives credit to the original author

Key Takeaway

Effective paraphrasing means putting the source material in your own words and syntax and still giving credit to the source material. 


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