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Academic Writing: Reading/Paraphrasing

This guide provides information about academic writing resources

Reading Comprehension Books


The paraphrase

Paraphrasing is when you take an author’s ideas and put them into your own words. It is an accepted scholarly practice. It is important for you to train yourself to redraft other people’s ideas into your own words – to paraphrase. It is one of the ways in which you can see for yourself whether you have really understood what the author is saying.

When you paraphrase from a source (that is, when you put someone else’s ideas into your own words), you must signal this to the reader by providing a reference. Put the author’s surname and the year of publication in the brackets.

An example of a paraphrase: XXXXXADD QUOTE

The following paragraph is a paraphrase of the previously given direct quote.

Over recent years many products have been marketed as ‘interactive’. Beveridge (2007) questions the definition of interactivity used by marketers, and asks whether the interactivity we are sold is real or illusory.


• The writer of this paragraph, while using Beveridge’s work, has substantially rephrased the original quote.

• The author’s surname and the year of publication have been given.

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

ECU Academic Tip Sheets

Books with chapters on paraphrasing

Critical Reading videos and tutorials

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