How to Paraphrase Sources - Essential Rules to Avoid Plagiarism


How to Paraphrase Sources - Essential Rules to Avoid Plagiarism

Academic writing often comes with the integration of information from already published posts into your own words to make your paper credible and authoritative. No doubt, it is simply impossible to write a good research paper or an outstanding critical review without referring to external sources. However, you should be very careful when “using” the works of others in order not to plagiarise. In this post, we are going to talk about how to properly integrate “someone’s sayings” into your own writing without being suspected or accused of plagiarising

How to Cite a Paraphrase

Let's say that you want to add some information from another source to your paper. One way is to quote the work directly, which is an easy thing to do. But there is an alternative solution - you can convey the information by paraphrasing it in your own words. 

Need an extra eye on your paraphrased text? Looking for a professional writer that will take care of source material and its integration into your work? No worries - let us step in and do the magic for you.

Paraphrasing is a valuable skill, which helps you keep the temptation to quote too much under control. Of course, it can be a difficult and time-consuming thing if you have never done it before. To make things easier for you, we have outlined some useful recommendations that will guide you. So how to successfully paraphrase the data taken from a source that is not your own?

Step 1 - Understand the Meaning of the Text

Start with attentively rereading the original material that you are going to employ in your paper. Your main goal is to understand the key message and rewrite it in your own words.

To succeed in paraphrasing, you should ask yourself why particular source material is so important:

  • What am I trying to achieve with this information?
  • Why is the exploitation of the source so important for my writing project?
  • How does this example influence my writing, and how does it help me reach the outcome?

By answering all the above questions, you will get an idea of the practical value of the rephrased text and how to work with it in the most effective way.

Step 2 - Use Your Own Words

Put the original passage away and write a paraphrased text. It is crucial that you express the main thought as you understand it with your own voice. Consider each object of the source material and think how could you change it. Here are a few paraphrasing tricks that will make it easier for you to work with the text:

  • Use synonyms;
  • Change the order of some words;
  • Chance the sentence structure and mix clauses in sentences;
  • Move sentences around in a passage;
  • Make grammatical alterations - change a word form, active/ passive, positive/ negative, statement-question.

The more you can change the original text without altering the original meaning, the better.

Step 3 - Polish the Statement

Give yourself some time to digest the information and find a proper formulation. Re-read the paraphrased statement and polish the text. Does it reflect the original message? Is it written in your own words and voice? Are all the key statements and essential data covered in your piece? 

Step 5 - Mark the “Borrowed” Text

It is sometimes impossible to rephrase 100% of the text from the external source. That’s why it is extremely important to mark the “borrowed” text with quotation marks. Thus, the reader will know which wording is yours and what part of the text belongs to a different writer. Integrate an in-text citation into your writing according to the certain formatting style, be it APA, Chicago, or MLA. 

Step 6 - Give Credit to the Source

Even if you perfectly paraphrase the text, we recommend that you record the source, including the source title and page number. Thus, in case you potentially decide to make the source content a part of your piece, you can credit it easily.

Paraphrasing vs. Quoting

Whenever you use someone else’s words in your writing, you are quoting. The main difference between paraphrasing and quoting is that the former requires your own formulations, while quitting comes with “borrowing” words from the original text.

Generally, if more than four-five words are used in the same order as the original text, it is considered a quote. Putting the “borrowed” words in quotation marks signals that the text is quoted. According to some formatting standards, it is sometimes necessary to include a source title, writer name, and page numbers just after the quote. Using just quotes in your project is not the best approach; professional writers recommend finding a balance between the different reference types based on the paper you are working on. 

As a result, quoting can become a powerful tool if you want to:

  • Add the power of KOL’s words to support your argument;
  • Oppose an author’s argument;
  • Focus on eloquent or powerful phrases or passages from the original text;
  • Compare/ contrast specific points of view;
  • Add important research data that precedes your own.

Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing

Paraphrasing and summarizing are very similar in their nature. Both involve writing the main idea(s) from the source text into your own words. However, the latter includes only the man points of the cited text, which means that you paraphrase not every sentence from the original passage but summarize main ideas of the original source. 

You should summarize in case you aim to:

  • Establish background or provide an overview of a topic;
  • Demonstrate your knowledge about a topic;
  • Determine the main ideas of a particular source.

Writing a summary can be a challenge even for talented writers. It requires a lot of time, critical thinking, in-depth understanding of the subject. In case you do not have any of these, your chances for success are minimal. At EssayDragon.com, we do not want this to happen to you. Therefore, we can summarize any text for you.

Avoiding Plagiarism

There are completely different approaches to using the above three reference types. The key is to keep in mind your argument development. At some points, you will want concrete, firm evidence. Quotes are perfect for this. At other times, you will want general support for an argument and may apply the paraphrasing technique. Sometimes you may need to refer to a whole article or book to support your statements. And it is wise to summarise a few key sentences or paragraphs. 

Play with your argument development strategy and mix different reference types to deliver powerful works baked with rock-solid evidence. All the approaches will help you prevent the cases of high plagiarism percentage and avoid a lot of problems.