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Academic Writing

This guide provides information about academic writing resources

What is Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is when you take an author’s ideas and put them into your own words to restate the information in a new way.   It is an accepted scholarly practice and it is important for you to train yourself to redraft other people’s ideas into your own words. Paraphrasing is a way to see whether you have really understood what the author is saying.  Examples include writing a sentence into your own words, or a summary of authored information.

For a paraphrased citation in an assignment you need to cite the author and the year of publication in brackets. For long and complex texts, include the page number / location information to assist the reader to locate the relevant passage in the original text.

Original Text:

Just as Sherlock Holmes investigates a case, psychologists must evaluate all the available data before making a deduction, lest they jump to an erroneous conclusion on the basis of insufficient evidence (Bram & Peebles, 2014, pp. 32–33).


Bram and Peebles (2014) advocated for psychologists to evaluate all the available data before making a deduction, just as Sherlock Holmes investigates a case, lest they jump to an erroneous conclusion on the basis of insufficient evidence (pp. 32–33).

Some tips for learning how to paraphrase:

  •  Read the piece you want to paraphrase carefully, making sure you understand it.
  • Cover it up and try to rewrite it in your own words, allowing yourself 2-3 keywords.
  • Check your own work, changing any words or phrases that you have reproduced from the original.
  • Look for synonyms: different words with the same meaning.
  • Change the sentence structure/the voice/the part of speech. Reduce a clause to a phrase.
  • Link the paraphrased sentence smoothly into your own text.

Obviously, when we paraphrase, we cannot change the technical words, numbers, and so on, used in the original source.

To conclude, when paraphrasing you must:

  • Understand the original text.
  • Change both words and sentence structure
  • Cite correctly

From the ECU Academic Tip Sheet: Referencing

Lee, C. (March 3, 2015). APA Style Blog: When and how to include page numbers in APA Style Citations. Retrieved from

Reading Effectively

During your studies you will be required to read extensively so that you can develop knowledge that you obtain from attending lecture, tutorials and labs. You are expected to have critical reading skills so that you can understand the author's intent,  evidence and ideas and be able critically evaluate what you have read.

To read academic texts effectively will require you to consider the purpose and approach to reading and learn effective reading strategies. These include: scanning, skimming, reading topic sentences, reading in detail and reading to improve writing.

Active reading techniques and skills are how you engage with the text and includes:

  • underlining/highlighting key ideas;
  • varying your pace as you read;
  • reading parts aloud;
  • summarising as you read (using your own words when making notes);
  • forming questions;
  • annotating the text; and
  • stopping at strategic points to review and consolidate what you’ve read before reading further.

Effective Reading Checklist

  • Have you established a positive reading environment?
  • Have you established the purpose for your reading?
  • Are you using the appropriate reading strategy?
  • Are you using active reading techniques?
  • Are you reading critically?

From the ECU Academic Tip Sheet: Reading Effectively

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