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How to Paraphrase to Avoid Plagiarism

paraphrasing meaning in research

What is Paraphrasing?

“Paraphrasing” means expressing the meaning of someone else’s words in your own words instead of quoting directly. Paraphrasing is applied both by the author of the text and by editors during the proofreading process .

By paraphrasing the work and arguments of others effectively, you can:

  • save space and keep your study more focused
  • distill complex information into language that general readers can understand
  • avoid plagiarism (including self-plagiarism ) and provide your own authorial voice in your paper

How to Paraphrase in Research

Direct Quote:  simply a “copy-and-paste” of the original words and/or word order. In all research papers with formatting guidelines (APA, AMA, MLA, etc.), quoted text must be accompanied by quotation marks and in-text citations.

Paraphrasing:   can include some key terms from the original work but must use new language to represent the original work—DO NOT COPY THE ORIGINAL WORK. When you paraphrase–that is, rewrite the text you want to use–you do not need to include quotation marks, but you must still cite the original work.

Paraphrasing Source Text

Step 1 : Read important parts of the source material until you fully understand its meaning.

Step 2 : Take some notes and list key terms of the source material.

Step 3:  Write your own paragraph without looking at the source material, only using the key terms.

Step 4:  Check to make sure your version captures important parts and intent of the source material.

Step 5:  Indicate where your paraphrasing starts and ends using in-text citations.

When to Paraphrase vs Use Direct Quotes

how to paraphrase direct quotes

Paraphrasing Examples in Research Writing

Use the following methods to make your paraphrases even stronger. Note that you should not apply only one of these rules in isolation—combine these techniques to reduce your chances of accidental plagiarism.

*Text in red indicates key changes from the source material.

Change the source text voice : active vs. passive voice

By changing the voice of the sentence (active voice to passive; passive voice to active—have a look at this article for details on the different roles of both voices in scientific writing), you can alter the general structure of your paraphrase and put it into words that are more your own.

how to paraphrase passive voice

Use a thesaurus to find synonyms and related terms

A thesaurus can be an excellent resource for finding terms that are synonymous with or similar to those in the original text, especially for non-native English speakers. However, be careful not to use terms that you don’t fully understand or that might not make sense in the context of your paper.

Include introductory phrases with signaling terms

Signaling terms (e.g., “they write ,” “Kim notes that…” “He believes that…”) help smoothly introduce the work of other studies and let the reader know where your own ideas end and where the cited information begins.

how to paraphrase direct quotes, examples

Use specific signaling verbs to show your position

Authors also show their positions regarding the original content by using verbs that are neutral , that show agreement , or that show disagreement . A relative pronoun (“that,” “how,” “if”) is also used in many instances. Include these terms to introduce your position in paraphrased content.

different methods of paraphrasing quotes

Merge multiple sentences into a one- or two-sentence paraphrase

One major reason for paraphrasing is to capture the main idea of the original text without using so many words. Use only one sentence or two in your paraphrase to capture the main idea—even if the original is an entire paragraph.

Original Source Text :

The journal primarily considers empirical and theoretical investigations that enhance understanding of cognitive, motivational, affective, and behavioral psychological phenomena in work and organizational settings, broadly defined. Those psychological phenomena can be at one or multiple levels — individuals, groups, organizations, or cultures; in work settings such as business, education, training, health, service, government, or military institutions; and in the public or private sector, for-profit or nonprofit organizations. (Source: Journal of Applied Psychology Website  http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/apl/ )

Paraphrased Source Text :

The Journal of Applied Psychology accepts studies that increase understanding of a broad range of psychological phenomena and that apply to a variety of settings and levels, not limited by subgroup, institution, or sector (JAP, 2015).

Combine quotes and paraphrased text in the same sentence

Too often, research writers separate information from the current work and information cited from earlier studies into completely different sentences. This limits the dialogue between the works, makes it boring for readers, and can even create issues of plagiarism if the paper is composed of too much quoted material. Include direct quotes within your paraphrased sentences to fix all of these issues and make your research writing much smoother and more natural.

Some details from the original source are quoted because they are taken directly from the text. They provide important information that readers might need to know and it thus makes more sense to use quotes here.

Cite your sources, create a References list, and copy your citations to MS Word using the following Wordvice Citation Generators:

how to paraphrase citations

Although paraphrasing can be very helpful in helping to reduce instances of plagiarism, writers still need to follow the rules of citation and referencing carefully. Here are a few rules to keep in mind when paraphrasing any original material, whether from someone else’s published work or your own work.

Here are a few things you must keep in mind when paraphrasing any original material, even your own earlier publications.

  • When you paraphrase, use your own terms along with the key terms from the source material.
  • Even when you paraphrase using your own terms, you still must provide in-text citations (according to the specific formatting requirements—APA, AMA, MLA , etc.).
  • If you are quoting or paraphrasing your own previous work, treat it as another person’s work (i.e., you must still use quotation marks and/or citations).

Example of Plagiarism in Paraphrasing

The following example is an attempt to paraphrase the above source text taken from the Journal of Applied Psychology website . Note that the author does not follow the above-mentioned rules to avoid plagiarizing the work.

Plagiarized Source Text

The Journal of Applied Psychology (JAP 2015) accepts empirical and theoretical investigations that increase knowledge of motivational, affective, cognitive, and behavioral psychological phenomena in many settings, broadly conceived. These phenomena can be at several levels—individual, teams, or cultures; in professional settings like business, education, training, health, government, or military institutions; and in either public or private sector, in nonprofit or for-profit institutions.

Some of the source text words have been changed or removed, but the underlined terms are identical to the original; overall the meaning and even the grammar structures have been copied. Finally, quotation marks are missing. Do not copy passages like this unless you put quotation marks around the content.

Examples of Multiple Attribution Methods:

In this paraphrase example, the details in the source text and how they have been changed in the paraphrase are indicated in red. Note the usage of signaling terms in each version to introduce the author’s content.

Original Source Tex t:

Fully grown penguins generate pressures of around  74 mm Hg  to excrete liquid material and  430 mm Hg  to excrete material of higher  viscosity similar to that of oil. ”

Direct Quote

In her study of Antarctic penguin defecation habits, Brooks (1995, p.4) wrote, “fully grown Chinstrap penguins generate pressures of around  74 mm Hg  to excrete liquid material and  430 mm Hg  to excrete material of higher  viscosity similar to that of oil. ”

*Quotations around quotes; citations included; many details provided; a complete sentence is quoted.

Paraphrased Text

When studying Chinstrap penguin defecation habits, Brooks (1995, p.4) observed that fully grown penguins generate a  much higher  pressure when excreting  more viscous  fecal matter.

*No quotation marks; citations included; the most important data fact is highlighted: “Penguins use more pressure to excrete thicker poo.”

Quote/Paraphrase Combination

When studying penguin defecation habits, Brooks (1995, p.4) observed that fully grown penguins vary in how they excrete waste, generating “pressures of around 74 mm Hg to excrete liquid material and 430 mm Hg to excrete material of higher viscosity similar to that of oil .”

*Quotation marks only around directly quoted information; citations included; the most important data fact is paraphrased; additional details provided by direct quote.

More Paraphrasing Examples for Reference

The following paraphrasing examples do not include citations and are therefore better used for reference when learning how to paraphrase original text. Therefore, the tips mentioned earlier in this article should be applied when paraphrasing published academic work.

Paraphrasing Checklist

  • Write the paraphrased text in your own words.
  • Always include a citation with a paraphrase—you are still using someone else’s ideas
  • When you use a direct quote, be sure to clarify the quote to show why you have included it.
  • Avoid using blocks of quoted text, especially in papers in the natural sciences. You can almost always use a paraphrase/quote combination instead.
  • Overall, focus on your study first—any extra information should be used to enhance your arguments or clarify your research.

Wordvice Resources

After paraphrasing the source text in your research paper, be sure to use a plagiarism checker to make sure there are no overt similarities in your paper. And get English proofreading and academic editing for your journal manuscript or essay editing for your admissions essay to ensure that your writing is ready for submission to journals or schools. Finally, visit our academic resources pages to get more tips beyond how to paraphrase, including common academic phrases , the best transition words in academic papers, verbs for research writing , and many more articles on how to strengthen your academic writing skills.

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paraphrasing meaning in research

To avoid plagiarizing, you must change  both  the sentence structure and the words of the original text.

paraphrasing meaning in research

How to paraphrase

  • Read the original text until you grasp its meaning; then set it aside.
  • Using your memory, write down the main points or concepts. Do not copy the text verbatim.
  • When reading a passage, try first to understand it as a whole, rather than pausing to write down specific ideas or phrases.
  • Be selective. Unless your assignment is to do a formal or "literal" paraphrase, you usually don't need to paraphrase an entire passage; instead, choose and summarize the material that helps you make a point in your paper.
  • Think of what "your own words" would be if you were telling someone who's unfamiliar with your subject (your mother, your brother, a friend) what the original source said.
  • Remember that you can use direct quotations of phrases from the original within your paraphrase, and that you don't need to change or put quotation marks around shared language or  common vocabulary shared by a community of scholars.
  • Check your notes against the original to ensure you have not accidentally plagiarized.

paraphrasing meaning in research

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Paraphrasing - an overview

Paraphrasing is ..., what are the differences between quoting, paraphrasing & summarising .

  • Why Paraphrase?
  • Paraphrasing versus Plagiarism
  • The Do's and Don'ts of Paraphrasing
  • Paraphrasing - examples
  • Further Information

paraphrasing meaning in research

Paraphrasing is 'a restating of someone else’s thoughts or ideas in your own words. You must always cite your source when paraphrasing’ (Pears & Shields, 2019 p. 245).  

(Solas English, 2017)

  • Quoting means using someone else’s exact words and putting them in quotation marks.. 
  • Paraphrasing means expressing someone else’s ideas in your own voice, while keeping the same essential meaning.
  • Summarising means taking a long passage of text from someone else and condensing the main ideas in your own words.

Watch the video below for more information.  

(UNC Writing Center, 2019)

  • Next: Why Paraphrase? >>
  • Last Updated: Sep 8, 2023 9:42 AM
  • URL: https://lit.libguides.com/paraphrasing

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  • How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

Published on April 8, 2022 by Courtney Gahan and Jack Caulfield. Revised on June 1, 2023.

Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas into your own words. Paraphrasing a source involves changing the wording while preserving the original meaning.

Paraphrasing is an alternative to  quoting (copying someone’s exact words and putting them in quotation marks ). In academic writing, it’s usually better to integrate sources by paraphrasing instead of quoting. It shows that you have understood the source, reads more smoothly, and keeps your own voice front and center.

Every time you paraphrase, it’s important to cite the source . Also take care not to use wording that is too similar to the original. Otherwise, you could be at risk of committing plagiarism .

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paraphrasing meaning in research

Table of contents

How to paraphrase in five easy steps, how to paraphrase correctly, examples of paraphrasing, how to cite a paraphrase, paraphrasing vs. quoting, paraphrasing vs. summarizing, avoiding plagiarism when you paraphrase, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about paraphrasing.

If you’re struggling to get to grips with the process of paraphrasing, check out our easy step-by-step guide in the video below.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Putting an idea into your own words can be easier said than done. Let’s say you want to paraphrase the text below, about population decline in a particular species of sea snails.

Incorrect paraphrasing

You might make a first attempt to paraphrase it by swapping out a few words for  synonyms .

Like other sea creatures inhabiting the vicinity of highly populated coasts, horse conchs have lost substantial territory to advancement and contamination , including preferred breeding grounds along mud flats and seagrass beds. Their Gulf home is also heating up due to global warming , which scientists think further puts pressure on the creatures , predicated upon the harmful effects extra warmth has on other large mollusks (Barnett, 2022).

This attempt at paraphrasing doesn’t change the sentence structure or order of information, only some of the word choices. And the synonyms chosen are poor:

  • “Advancement and contamination” doesn’t really convey the same meaning as “development and pollution.”
  • Sometimes the changes make the tone less academic: “home” for “habitat” and “sea creatures” for “marine animals.”
  • Adding phrases like “inhabiting the vicinity of” and “puts pressure on” makes the text needlessly long-winded.
  • Global warming is related to climate change, but they don’t mean exactly the same thing.

Because of this, the text reads awkwardly, is longer than it needs to be, and remains too close to the original phrasing. This means you risk being accused of plagiarism .

Correct paraphrasing

Let’s look at a more effective way of paraphrasing the same text.

Here, we’ve:

  • Only included the information that’s relevant to our argument (note that the paraphrase is shorter than the original)
  • Introduced the information with the signal phrase “Scientists believe that …”
  • Retained key terms like “development and pollution,” since changing them could alter the meaning
  • Structured sentences in our own way instead of copying the structure of the original
  • Started from a different point, presenting information in a different order

Because of this, we’re able to clearly convey the relevant information from the source without sticking too close to the original phrasing.

Explore the tabs below to see examples of paraphrasing in action.

  • Journal article
  • Newspaper article
  • Magazine article

Once you have your perfectly paraphrased text, you need to ensure you credit the original author. You’ll always paraphrase sources in the same way, but you’ll have to use a different type of in-text citation depending on what citation style you follow.

Generate accurate citations with Scribbr

Scribbr citation checker new.

The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:

  • Missing commas and periods
  • Incorrect usage of “et al.”
  • Ampersands (&) in narrative citations
  • Missing reference entries

paraphrasing meaning in research

It’s a good idea to paraphrase instead of quoting in most cases because:

  • Paraphrasing shows that you fully understand the meaning of a text
  • Your own voice remains dominant throughout your paper
  • Quotes reduce the readability of your text

But that doesn’t mean you should never quote. Quotes are appropriate when:

  • Giving a precise definition
  • Saying something about the author’s language or style (e.g., in a literary analysis paper)
  • Providing evidence in support of an argument
  • Critiquing or analyzing a specific claim

A paraphrase puts a specific passage into your own words. It’s typically a similar length to the original text, or slightly shorter.

When you boil a longer piece of writing down to the key points, so that the result is a lot shorter than the original, this is called summarizing .

Paraphrasing and quoting are important tools for presenting specific information from sources. But if the information you want to include is more general (e.g., the overarching argument of a whole article), summarizing is more appropriate.

When paraphrasing, you have to be careful to avoid accidental plagiarism .

This can happen if the paraphrase is too similar to the original quote, with phrases or whole sentences that are identical (and should therefore be in quotation marks). It can also happen if you fail to properly cite the source.

Paraphrasing tools are widely used by students, and can be especially useful for non-native speakers who may find academic writing particularly challenging. While these can be helpful for a bit of extra inspiration, use these tools sparingly, keeping academic integrity in mind.

To make sure you’ve properly paraphrased and cited all your sources, you could elect to run a plagiarism check before submitting your paper. And of course, always be sure to read your source material yourself and take the first stab at paraphrasing on your own.

If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • ChatGPT vs human editor
  • ChatGPT citations
  • Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
  • Using ChatGPT for your studies
  • What is ChatGPT?
  • Chicago style
  • Critical thinking


  • Types of plagiarism
  • Self-plagiarism
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Academic integrity
  • Consequences of plagiarism
  • Common knowledge

To paraphrase effectively, don’t just take the original sentence and swap out some of the words for synonyms. Instead, try:

  • Reformulating the sentence (e.g., change active to passive , or start from a different point)
  • Combining information from multiple sentences into one
  • Leaving out information from the original that isn’t relevant to your point
  • Using synonyms where they don’t distort the meaning

The main point is to ensure you don’t just copy the structure of the original text, but instead reformulate the idea in your own words.

Paraphrasing without crediting the original author is a form of plagiarism , because you’re presenting someone else’s ideas as if they were your own.

However, paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you correctly cite the source . This means including an in-text citation and a full reference, formatted according to your required citation style .

As well as citing, make sure that any paraphrased text is completely rewritten in your own words.

Plagiarism means using someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own. Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas in your own words.

So when does paraphrasing count as plagiarism?

  • Paraphrasing is plagiarism if you don’t properly credit the original author.
  • Paraphrasing is plagiarism if your text is too close to the original wording (even if you cite the source). If you directly copy a sentence or phrase, you should quote it instead.
  • Paraphrasing  is not plagiarism if you put the author’s ideas completely in your own words and properly cite the source .

To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.

It’s appropriate to quote when:

  • Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
  • You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
  • You’re presenting a precise definition
  • You’re looking in depth at a specific claim

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Gahan, C. & Caulfield, J. (2023, June 01). How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/how-to-paraphrase/

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How to Effectively Paraphrase in a Research Paper

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When writing a research paper , a researcher will often need to refer to a previous publication and summarize the findings in a paraphrase . Why? Because quoting the entire passage of interest will take up too much space and may contain much information that is not relevant. Also, the original passage might be written in a style or language not readily understood by the intended readers . Here are some guidelines for paraphrasing correctly.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Instead of rewriting an entire passage of a paper, it may be possible to cut and paste selected parts, stringing them together in a way that presents the gist of the passage and still sounds natural. But this is not paraphrasing. This is plagiarism . If you copy from another work, you must cite the author and then place the copied parts in quotation marks. This generally proves to be a clumsy and intrusive method in a research paper , which is why paraphrasing is so useful. One can avoid committing the misconduct of plagiarism by using plagiarism checker tools.

How to Paraphrase?

In a paraphrased passage, you should still start out by referring to the original author, then summarize the relevant passage of the author’s work in your own words and in your own style.

Example of paraphrase, “In his 1989 paper, Robinson concluded that . . .“ There should be nothing in the paraphrased passage that was obviously lifted from the original.

Related: Preparing your manuscript for submission? Check out this post to avoid journal rejection!

Give Credit where Due

Although the original authors should be given credit for the gist of the paraphrased passage, don’t give them more credit that they deserve. If a previous work supports your own there is a temptation to oversell the earlier work, as in the authors “proved” this or that. But scientific experiments cannot prove anything; they can only support a hypothesis or disprove alternatives. Better to use a more neutral statement such as “Robinson’s 1989 paper strongly supports the proposed mechanism, since it reports that . . .”

Don’t Overuse

When I began freelance writing, I found that the issue of “fair use” was of great concern to authors. In an original work of your own, you are allowed to quote a certain amount from a previously written copyrighted work, but if you quote too much you can get in trouble for copyright infringement. How much is too much? Nobody knows. Only the haziest guidelines exist. The situation is somewhat similar in the use of paraphrases. Paraphrases are supposed to be a small proportion of an original work. If the paraphrased material is a major portion, the new work risks being seen as derivative of the original, a weak paper riding on the back of a stronger one. A good paper stands on its own , and any paraphrased passages should be there only to clarify and support it.

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Paraphrasing, Summarising and Quoting

Much of the work you produce at university will involve the important ideas, writings and discoveries of experts in your field of study. Quoting, paraphrasing and summarising are all different ways of including the works of others in your assignments.

Paraphrasing and summarising allow you to develop and demonstrate your understanding and interpretation of the major ideas/concepts of your discipline, and to  avoid plagiarism.

Paraphrasing and summarising require analytical and writing skills which are crucial to success at university.

What are the differences?


  • does not match the source word for word
  • involves putting a passage from a source into your own words
  • changes the words or phrasing of a passage, but retains and fully communicates the original meaning
  • must be attributed to the original source.


  • involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, but including only the main point(s)
  • presents a broad overview, so is usually much shorter than the original text
  • match the source word for word
  • are usually a brief segment of the text
  • appear between quotation marks

What is a quotation?  

A quotation is an exact reproduction of spoken or written words. Quotes can provide strong evidence, act as an authoritative voice, or support a writer's statements. For example:

Bell and Bell (1993) point out in their study of Australian-American cultural relations: "culture is never simply imposed 'from above' but is negotiated through existing patterns and traditions." (Bell & Bell 1993, p. 9)

Use a quote:

  • when the author's words convey a powerful meaning
  • when the exact words are important
  • when you want to use the author as an authoritative voice in your own writing
  • to introduce an author's position you may wish to discuss
  • to support claims in, or provide evidence for, your writing.

How to quote

Quoting should be done sparingly and support your own work, not replace it. For example, make a point in your own words, then support it with an authoritative quote.

  • appear between quotation marks (" ")
  • exactly reproduce text, including punctuation and capital letters.
  • A short quotation often works well when integrated into a sentence.
  • If any words need to be omitted for clarity, show the omission with an ellipsis ( ... ).
  • If any words need to be added to the quotation, put them between square brackets ([ ]).
  • Longer quotations (more than 3 lines of text) should start on a new line and be indented on both sides. 

What is paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is a way of using different words and phrasing to present the same ideas. Paraphrasing is used with short sections of text, such as phrases and sentences.

A paraphrase offers an alternative to using direct quotations and allows you to integrate evidence/source material into assignments. Paraphrasing can also be used for note-taking and explaining information in tables, charts and diagrams.

When to paraphrase

Paraphrase short sections of work only i.e. a sentence or two or a short paragraph:

  • as an alternative to a direct quotation
  • to rewrite someone else's ideas without changing the meaning
  • to express someone else's ideas in your own words

How to paraphrase

  • Read the original source carefully. It is essential that you understand it fully.
  • Identify the main point(s) and key words.
  • Cover the original text and rewrite it in your own words. Check that you have included the main points and essential information.
  • Ensure that you keep the original meaning and maintain the same relationship between main ideas and supporting points.
  • Use synonyms (words or expression which have a similar meaning) where appropriate. Key words that are specialised subject vocabulary do not need to be changed.
  • If you want to retain unique or specialist phrases, use quotation marks (“ “).
  • Change the grammar and sentence structure. Break up a long sentence into two shorter ones or combine two short sentences into one. Change the voice (active/passive) or change word forms (e.g. nouns, adjectives).
  • Change the order in which information/ideas are presented, as long as they still make sense in a different order.
  • Identify the attitude of the authors to their subject (i.e. certain, uncertain, critical etc.) and make sure your paraphrase reflects this. Use the appropriate reporting word or phrase.
  • Review your paraphrase to check it accurately reflects the original text but is in your words and style.
  • Record the original source, including the page number, so that you can provide a reference.

What is a summary?

A summary is an overview of a text. The main aim of summarising is to reduce or condense a text to its most important ideas. Leave out details, examples and formalities. Summarising is a useful skill for making notes, writing an abstract/synopsis, and incorporating material in assignments.

When to summarise

Summarise long sections of work, like a long paragraph, page or chapter. 

  • To outline the main points of someone else's work in your own words, without the details or examples.
  • To include an author's ideas using fewer words than the original text.
  • To briefly give examples of several differing points of view on a topic.
  • To support claims in, or provide evidence for, your writing.

How to summarise

The amount of detail you include in a summary will vary according to the length of the original text, how much information you need, and how selective you are.

  • Start by reading a short text and highlighting the main points.
  • Reread the text and make notes of the main points, leaving out examples, evidence, etc.
  • Rewrite your notes in your own words; restate the main idea at the beginning plus all major points.
  • Transition signals in writing
  • Quotations and paraphrases
  • Punctuation
  • Paraphrasing, summarising, quoting
  • ^ More support

News and notices

UNSW's Education Festival 2023 Published:  6 Nov 2023

Paraphrasing in Academic Writing: Answering Top Author Queries

paraphrasing meaning in research

One of the most important skills for scholars to master is paraphrasing in academic writing. This is because research is built on previously published articles, which means you will often need to incorporate existing knowledge into your own work. That being said, scientific writing demands originality, which means that academics must be capable of expressing thoughts and ideas in their own words. This highlights the importance of paraphrasing in research, which allows authors to avoid plagiarism while leveraging available evidence and insights to support their research arguments.

While effective paraphrasing in research is an important skill for students and researchers, especially those who have English as a second language, this can often be a challenging task. Many academics are unsure of what needs to be reworded, while others are uncertain about how to start paraphrasing in academic writing or how to do this without changing meaning. In this article, we explain paraphrasing in research and answer the most common author queries to empower academics achieve academic writing excellence.

Table of Contents

What is paraphrasing in academic writing, how is paraphrasing different from summarizing and quoting, when should i use paraphrasing in research papers, how do i properly paraphrase a source in my research paper, how do i know when to cite a paraphrased source in my research paper, how much of my research paper should be paraphrased, what are some common mistakes to avoid when paraphrasing in a research paper, how paperpal simplifies paraphrasing in academic writing.

Paraphrasing in academic writing is when you rewrite someone else’s ideas or information in your own words while retaining the intended meaning. It is a fundamental skill for academics as it emphasizes their understanding of the material, allows them to integrate important information effectively, and also allows them to maintain academic integrity. By presenting information from existing sources differently, without using the same words or sentence structure, it also allows authors to avoid plagiarism and ensure clarity and flow in their writing.

paraphrasing meaning in research

Authors should know that while concepts are common in academic writing, the three concepts are quite different . When quoting a passage, the exact words from the original source are used within inverted comma to indicate that the information is a direct quote. On the other hand, paraphrasing involves restating existing information in your own words. Summarizing involves condensing the main points of a source into a brief overview. While all three techniques are useful, when using external sources, paraphrasing is considered the best option when if you want to retain the original meaning and avoid plagiarism.

Paraphrasing in research is best used when you want to incorporate relevant evidence or information from an external source to support your arguments or provide context for your own research. It can be used to explain a complex concept or idea in a way that your audience will clearly understand. This includes writing in an appropriate academic tone, condensing lengthy text to ensure clarity, and capturing key points from earlier sources into your work. The importance of paraphrasing in research cannot be ignored when it comes to creating a cohesive, well-supported argument while avoiding plagiarism and showcasing your mastery of the subject matter.

Remember that paraphrasing in academic writing is not just about changing a few words; it’s about expressing the original content in your unique way while respecting the source’s meaning. To properly paraphrase a source in your research paper, you should take time to read and understand the source thoroughly, make notes on the top points, and then rewrite this in your own words. It is important to be careful not to copy any phrases or sentences directly from the original source, check to ensure that the paraphrased text accurately reflects the original meaning and provide citations where needed. Take time to refine and review your research paper to ensure clarity, flow, and cohesiveness with your own work and writing style.

Authors must always cite paraphrased sources accurately in your research paper to avoid being accused of plagiarism. This is important because even if you rewrite text in your own words, you still need to give credit to the original author to lend credibility to your work and maintain research integrity. Whether it’s research papers, theses or dissertations, or even academic essays, don’t forget to check your work and ensure that you have provided all in-text citations required, with the full links in the references or bibliography section.

The amount of paraphrasing in academic writing depends on the purpose of your paper and the specific assignment or guidelines from your instructor. As a general rule, a significant portion of your paper should reflect your original ideas and contributions, including your own analysis, interpretation, and synthesis of the research, with paraphrasing of research content only used to support your arguments. It’s essential to strike a balance between your original work and the use of paraphrased sources to maintain the integrity and authenticity of your research.

While paraphrasing in academic writing, authors need to be vigilant and avoid copying phrases or sentences directly from the source. Take care not to change the original meaning of the source text, and also check that you are correctly citing the original source when paraphrasing in research. Focus on showcasing your own original ideas and contributions in your research paper instead of just relying on paraphrasing earlier research. Finally, it’s critical to ensure you are integrating the paraphrased text smoothly into your own writing; be sure to refine and retain your own voice and style to avoid unintended plagiarism.

Academics have been increasingly relying on AI tools to help them with paraphrasing in academic writing, but these generic AI tools may not be secure and often provide outputs that could be misleading. It’s also important to remember that academic writing requires specialized support, which is exactly what Paperpal offers. Trained on millions of published scholarly articles and built on 20+ years of academic expertise, Paperpal is a complete AI writing toolkit that helps students and researchers paraphrase, enhance language and grammar, and ready their work for submission.

With its deep understanding of academic writing conventions, Paperpal helps authors instantly rewrite complex text , ensure a formal academic tone, and trim length to meet strict word count limits, all without changing the essence of the original work. Refine this paraphrased text to include your own authentic writing style and avoid plagiarism, then use Paperpal’s in-depth language, grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and consistency checks to polish your academic writing in minutes. If you haven’t tried Paperpal yet for paraphrasing in academic writing, this is your chance. Sign up now to try Paperpal for free!

Paperpal is an AI academic writing assistant that helps authors write better and faster with real-time writing suggestions and in-depth checks for language and grammar correction. Trained on millions of published scholarly articles and 20+ years of STM experience, Paperpal delivers human precision at machine speed.     

Try it for free or upgrade to  Paperpal Prime , which unlocks unlimited access to Paperpal Copilot and premium features like academic translation, paraphrasing, contextual synonyms, consistency checks, submission readiness and more. It’s like always having a professional academic editor by your side! Go beyond limitations and experience the future of academic writing.  Get Paperpal Prime now at just US$19 a month!  

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7 ways to improve your academic writing process.

  • Chemistry Terms: 7 Commonly Confused Words in Chemistry Manuscripts
  • Paperpal Copilot is Live: Experience The Generative AI Tool Academics Can Trust
  • How to Write a Conclusion for Research Papers (with Examples)

How Paperpal’s Built-In Academic Writing Prompts Make it a Better Alternative to ChatGPT

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