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Tutoring Service: Paraphrasing

Overview of the Avondale University Tutoring Service.

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is to put something previously written or said, by someone else, into your own words. It is a way of rewriting someone else’s ideas without changing the original idea, and if done well, will often result in a summary that is more succinct than the original text (University of Adelaide, 2014). Learning how to paraphrase is an important skill toward developing your academic autonomy.

Academic Integrity

Almost all of what you write at a tertiary level will call on the body of work by experts in your particular field of study. Their work will “provide you with information, evidence and ideas, but must be incorporated into your work carefully. Quoting, paraphrasing and summarising are all different ways of including the works of others in your assignments” (University of NSW, n.d., p. 1).

Why Paraphrase?

Paraphrasing allows you to:

  • Demonstrate that you understand the subject you are writing about.
  • Explain difficult concepts and technical language in a way that is easier to understand.
  • Avoid overuse of direct quotes (they should make up no more than 10% of your paper).
  • Emphasise the parts of the original text that are most relevant to your paper.

How to Paraphrase

The key to paraphrasing is making sure you understand the original material you are reading before you attempt to rewrite it in your own words. Read it through carefully and explain it to someone else. Then, write the paraphrase without looking at the original to help ensure you use your own words and sentence structure.

  1. Read the text you plan to paraphrase through a number of times to make sure you understand the original material.
  2. Explain what you have read to someone else.
  3. Write your version of the text without looking at the original.
  4. Cite the original material.

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(The Paraphrase Comics)