Paraphrasing is writing someone else’s ideas into your own words. This can be difficult when you can’t think of another way of saying it, or you feel you can’t write it better than the original; however, paraphrasing is vital as it allows you to demonstrate your understanding of a topic.
When trying to paraphrase, imagine you are re-telling a part of what you’ve read to someone else. As you do this, you’ll change not only the words the original author used, but also the structure as you incorporate the information into your own narrative. The meaning of the original shouldn't alter and the length of the information shouldn’t change significantly.
The main purpose of paraphrasing in academic writing is to use evidence published by reliable sources to support your argument in your assignment. To do this effectively, this evidence needs to be written in your own voice, with an in-text referencing citation, so your reader can connect with the original source.
Recap - Rewind
Paraphrasing in the note-making stage is a key way to ensure your own understanding of a topic and avoid plagiarism. If you need a refresher, check out the Taking Note and Making Notes section of our Reading Module.