How to Paraphrase Academic Sources?
Published byat August 13th, 2021 , Revised On February 9, 2023
Paraphrasing is a legitimate way of rephrasing someone’s original work, information, and ideas in your language and style. It conveys the same message of the original text in your words by crediting the primary source.
Is Paraphrasing Important While Citing Sources?
If you want to avoid plagiarism and are serious about your project’s credibility, paraphrasing may help you achieve the desired results.
Paraphrasing is the art of conveying someone’s ideas creatively.
You need to have a strong command of the language you are using as a source and the language in which you are paraphrasing.
You need to acquire highly advanced writing skills. However, writing improves with practice.
5 Steps to Paraphrase Sources
1. Read and Re-read
Please read the original content multiple times until you grasp the exact meaning of it.
2. Understand the Exact Meaning
Try to thoroughly understand the content and its context to extract the key information for your assignment to avoid incorrect paraphrasing.
3. Jot Down Important Points and Details of the Source
Write down all the essential points, dates, and key information you want to include in your assignment. Never forget to note down the author’s name, source, dates, and links if you have obtained the information from an online source.
4. Rephrase the Content Accurately
Rephrase the points you have noted correctly by using different sentence structures and synonyms. Try to write it naturally without forcing yourself to make it complicated by using complex words and language.
5. Check and Recheck
After completing the writing work, check and compare your written paper for similarities. Rewrite the points similar to the original content as it may help you avoid later revisions.
Important Tips for Paraphrasing
1. Use Synonyms
You can replace the words with their synonyms without changing the meaning of the text. It’s not enough to change synonyms to avoid plagiarism. You also need to change the structure and organization of the sentences, paragraphs, and headings.
|Original Text||Use Synonyms|
|When a person consumes more calories than they use as energy, their body will store the extra calories as fat. This can lead to excess weight and obesity. (Brazier, 2018)||If someone eats excess calories than the calories they burn, it will be stored as fat in their body. This can cause weight gain and obesity.|
In this example, we replaced words like when-if, consumes-eats, more-excess, energy-burn, excess weight-weight without changing their meaning.
2. Replace Parts of Speech
You can change the parts of speech to make your text look original, but your writing should resemble the original version in its meaning.
|Original Text||Replace Parts of Speech|
|When a person consumes more calories than they use as energy, their body will store the extra calories as fat. This can lead to excess weight and obesity. (Brazier, 2018)||If you consume excess calories than you use as energy, it will be stored as fat in your body, and you are more likely to gain weight and become obese.|
In this example, we replaced the noun with the pronoun – person=you, they=you, with other minor changes keeping the text’s original meaning.
3. Change the Tone
You can change the tone of the content by changing its style of addressing. If a text is written in the second person, you can change it to the first or third person or vice-versa. You can start the sentence from a different point.
|Original Text||Change the Tone|
|When a person consumes more calories than they use as energy, their body will store the extra calories as fat. This can lead to excess weight and obesity. ( Brazier, 2018)||According to doctors, your high body mass index leads to obesity. If you carry excess body fat or weight, then it can cause obesity which affects your health.|
In this example, we started from the second sentence and added (According to doctors, your high body mass index leads to obesity). We also converted these sentences into the second person. (If you carry excess body fat or weight then it can cause obesity which affects your health)
4. Change Word Forms
You can change the word forms of the content-ex: noun to adjective or adjective to noun and noun to verb etc. It helps in improving the structure of the sentence conveying the same message as the original text.
|Original Text||Change Word Forms|
|When a person consumes more calories than they use as energy, their body will store the extra calories as fat. This can lead to excess weight and obesity. ( Brazier, 2018)||The consumption of excess calories that your body utilizes for energy may lead to weight gain, and you can become obese. These extra calories are accumulated as fat in your body.|
In this example, we changed many word forms like consume-consumption, use-utilize, obesity-obese, stored-accumulated. Hence, the meaning of the text is the same.
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5. Change Active to Passive
You can change the sentence structure by converting an active sentence into a passive voice.
|Original Text||Change Active to Passive|
||The extra calories are stored as fat in their body.
Patients are expected to follow the prescription.
6. Use Antonyms
You can use antonyms or oppositely present your sentence to the original with the same meaning.
|Original Text||Use Antonyms|
|When a person consumes more calories than they use as energy.||When a person burns fewer calories for energy than the calories, they consume.|
In this example, we used the antonym of the word more-fewer and tried to convey the same meaning in a different original sentence-style.
7. Cite the Sources
It is essential to cite the source to make your paraphrased content plagiarism-free. If you rephrase the text entirely without crediting the source, then it will be considered plagiarism. There are various referencing styles such as APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago. You can choose one of these referencing styles according to the requirements of your assignment. You need to learn the proper referencing format you are following.
|Original Text||Cite the Sources|
|When a person consumes more calories than they use as energy, their body will store the extra calories as fat. This can lead to excess weight and obesity.( Brazier, 2018)||If someone eats excess calories than the calories they burn, it will be stored as fat in their body. This can cause weight gain and obesity. ( Brazier, 2018)|
This example is cited according to the APA referencing style.
What is Acceptable Paraphrasing?
- The meaning of the original text should not change.
- The original text is rephrased entirely without any grammatical error.
- It is cited accurately.
- It is appropriately organized without resembling the original content.
- You should include discussions and arguments to support your ideas.
Paraphrase Vs Summarize
Paraphrasing is entirely different from summarizing. You rephrase the content from various sources citing the sources in paraphrasing whereas in summarizing you extract the key information from the entire content and write it concisely. However, you need to credit the source while summarizing.
|Original Text||Cite the Sources|
|Starting your day with a healthy meal can help replenish your blood sugar, which your body needs to power your muscles and brain.
Eating a healthy breakfast is especially important on days when exercise is on your agenda. Skipping breakfast can leave you feeling lightheaded or lethargic while you’re working out.
Choosing the right kind of breakfast is crucial. Too many people rely on simple carbohydrates to start their day. A plain white bagel or doughnut won’t keep you feeling full for long.
In comparison, a fibre- and protein-rich breakfast may fend off hunger pangs for longer and provide the energy you need to keep your exercise going. (Kilroy, 2019)
|You need to start your day with a healthy breakfast. Consume a healthy protein and fiber-rich breakfast regularly instead of relying on simple carbohydrates. It keeps you full for a longer time, and you don’t feel dizzy while doing your workout. (Kilroy,2019)|
In the above example, you can see that we have written the same message precisely, extracting the key information.
Paraphrasing Vs Quoting
If you understand the whole concept and meaning of the content, you can paraphrase it to present it in your style. When you feel that you can’t rephrase the original content better than the author or want to argue or discuss it from the author’s perception, you might prefer quoting directly from the source. Paraphrasing reflects your ideas creatively, whereas quoting credits the source with original words dominating your words, voice and ideas.
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.
According to Oscar Wilde, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”
Tips to Avoid Plagiarism While Paraphrasing
- Please write your content without looking at the original content as it helps you write it more naturally without worrying about the similarities.
- Compare the paraphrased version with the original content and edit it wherever you feel necessary. Never forget to cite the sources after writing.
- Check your paper through a plagiarism checking tool to know whether your content matches any other sources. It highlights the plagiarised content in red colour if your paraphrased version matches with other material.
- You can make the necessary edits to make it plagiarism-free. It sounds weird that you need to rephrase your paraphrased content again, but it’s better to put in the extra effort than to get caught for accidental plagiarism.
What Requires Citation?
The content you use in your assignment, including written work, images, graphs, tables, and figures, needs to be cited properly, crediting the sources. The information obtained through lectures and verbal discussion also requires acknowledgement. You can’t skip it simply if it’s not available in printed form. It protects you from committing plagiarism.
It’s always better to present your ideas than blindly rephrasing other content. Sometimes it is necessary to paraphrase the information you want to include in your assignment. Always try to understand the concept and meaning of the entire content as it builds your knowledge and helps you express it in a better way.