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Most often, we incorporate the ideas of the sources we read by paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is where you rewrite someone else's ideas or words in your own words. This gives your writing consistency of language and sentence construction so that it flows with your own "voice" or style.

Paraphrasing is valued because it demonstrates more than just an understanding of ideas. Skills of analysis and synthesis are required to effectively incorporate the ideas of others with our own.

When you paraphrase the ideas of others, you must still acknowledge the source by citing in the text.

Steps to effective paraphrasing and summarising

  1. Clarify your reason or purpose for paraphrasing the text in question.
  2. Read and reread the passage until you understand it thoroughly.
  3. Jot down the main points. Perhaps make a mind map.
  4. Set aside the original and rewrite the text in your own words. Quotation of a short pertinent phrase may be included in your paraphrase.
  5. Check your version with the original.
  6. Record the source, including author, title, page number, publisher, and publication date.

Paraphrasing checklist

Make sure your paraphrase:

  • Includes a reference.
  • Is written in your own words.
  • Accurately reflects the author's original meaning.
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