FROM THE WRITING CENTER
@ THE A.R.C.
What is Paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing is to borrow from one source in a legitimate way.
The writer is taking important information expressed by another source and offering a new
presentation of the information.
Paraphrasing deals with a particular passage of text and it’s more concise focus on a singular main
A paraphrase should contain information from the original source, but it should be conveyed in your
In this Module you will:
Learn why paraphrasing is a useful tool.
Determine how to paraphrase in your writing
Develop an understanding of what should and shouldn’t be in a paraphrase.
Why is Paraphrasing Useful?
To present information from a text that has so much information it cannot be unpacked into a single
Offering variance in the presentation in your work. You want to avoid quoting too much
Paraphrasing helps you process information and grasp the meaning more clearly than when you use
the original quote.
How to Paraphrase Effectively
Write down the original quote on a separate sheet of paper and read it multiple time(s) until you
understand the information!
Put away the passage and write down your paraphrase. Offer any and all information in your own
Reread the original passage. Make sure that you add in any additional information or words that you
are missing from the quote that are important. Put these words into quotations or italics.
How to Paraphrase Effectively
At the end of the paraphrase, offer the citation appropriate to the paper style.
For shorter papers, the writer may want to include some analysis in the paragraph before they move
on. When writing a longer paper, the analysis should be offered in a subsequent paragraph.
What to Avoid When Paraphrasing
A summary is to condense three in order to make one. A paraphrase is not an exact 1 to 1 ratio but
all information conveyed in the original document should be in a paraphrase.
Avoid using a thesaurus when paraphrasing. The paraphrase should not look as if the writer just
went through and replaced the verbs using a thesaurus.
Do not just go through and redo the structure of the information. A paraphrase should not just
rearrange the clauses in the course information.
Examples- The Original Passage
Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in
the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly
quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source
materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47
Example- A Legitimate Paraphrase
In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a
desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the
material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).
• It should be clear that there is no specific information that should be universally paraphrased
whenever writing a paper. The writer can decide what information should be paraphrased or directly
quoted in his or her own paper. It is the writer’s choice to decide what information is important or
useful in their paper in the form of a paraphrase or quote. The topic, as well as, the passages and
readings used in said paper should be read and understood well enough for the writer to have a good
idea of what form the information should be in.