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Martha S. Grafton Library

Research 101

How to paraphrase

When you paraphrase, you capture the information from a source by putting it into your own words instead of the author's. This involves taking a sentence or two from the original source and reworking the sentence structure and the wording using roughly the same amount of words as the author.

Key Points:

  • DO cite paraphrases.

  • DO introduce paraphrases in your writing by acknowledging the author. "Diana Hacker believes..." "According to Diana Hacker..."

  • DO capture the meaning and context of the original sentence.

  • DO NOT use the same words as the author. If you do, you must use quotation marks, otherwise it is plagiarism.

  • DO NOT substitute with your own words, but keep the author's sentence structure. This is also plagiarism. You need use your own phrasing.

Source: Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Sommers. The Bedford Handbook. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. Print.

Examples

Does anything (or anyone) matter if it (or she) does not show up on the first page of a Google search? Sentence from the book: The Googlization of Everything, by Siva Vaidhyanathan
Vaidhyanathan questions whether people using Google care about links displayed after the first page of results (Vaidhyanathan 7). Correct.  The author of the source is acknowledged in the beginning of the paraphrase, sentence structure and word differ from the orignal, and the source is cited at the end.
According to Vaidhyanathan, "the first page of a Google search" may be the only page of results that people care about (Vaidhyanathan 7). Correct. The author of the source is acknowledged. Quoted phrase is put into quotes, and the rest of the sentence is paraphrased. Source is cited at the end.
Does anything (or anyone) matter if it (or she) does not show up on the first page of a Google search? (Vaidhyanathan 7) Wrong. This is a quote from the source, and so it needs to include quotations marks, even though it is cited.
Do the results matter if they do not appear on the first page of a Google search? (Vaidhyanathan 7) Wrong. This sentence copies the original almost exactly except for a few word subsitutions. For a correct paraphrase, the word and sentence structure needs to be replaced with your own.
People only care about the first page of search results when using Google. Wrong. This is the author's observation/opinion and so it needs to be cited.
According to Vaidhyanathan, people only look at the first page of results when searching Google (Vaidhyanathan 7). Wrong. This paraphrase misrepresents the meaning of the original sentence. Be sure that your paraphrase captures the meaning and context of the original sentence.

 Vaidhyanathan, Siva. The Googlization of Everything: (and why we should worry). Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Print.

Adapted from: Lipson, Charles. Doing Honest Work in College. 2nd ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008. Print.

Summary vs Paraphrase

A summary takes a large piece of content, such as an article or  book chapter, and condenses it into a sentence or two on the content's main themes. It differs from a paraphrase in the amount of information that its trying to condense. A paraphrase takes a sentence or two and rewrites it using roughly the same number of words. A summary takes a large piece of content and reworks into a much smaller piece of writing.

 

Source: Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Sommers. The Bedford Handbook. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. Print.