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What is paraphrasing?

Why and how do you paraphrase? This short video gives you an introduction to paraphrasing as a way of using references in your academic writing, including how to use reporting and linking words.

So, what is paraphrasing? When you paraphrase, you rewrite something you’ve read in your own words.

Why do I paraphrase? Paraphrasing is better than just adding quotes to your writing, because it is easier to read. 

How do I do it? To paraphrase well, you need to do more than just change the words. You have to change the sentence structure as well! Let’s look at an example… Look at the original text:

“A business firm’s obligation, beyond that required by the law and economics, is to propose long-term goals that are good for society” (Robbins et al. 2003, p. 138).

Now, look at the paraphrase: Business should focus on objectives that are not only legally and financially appropriate, but are of long range benefit to society (Robbins et al. 2003).

And notice how the key words and sentence structure have been changed.

How do I put paraphrases into my writing? Your writing needs to flow, so you need to use the right reporting words and linking words. The right reporting words introduce your reference.

Reporting words example: Burrows (2010) predicts that there will be no further interest rate rises until late next year.

In this example, using “predicts that” is appropriate because you’re writing about the future. Some other reporting words include: “Asserts that”... “Suggests that”... “Argues that”... “Reports that”... “Maintains that”... and “concludes that”.

Linking words example: Therefore, team cohesiveness enhances team effectiveness.

And linking words such as “therefore” link the ideas in the paragraph. Again, there are many different linking words you can use in your writing, such as: “Furthermore”... “Consequently”... “Nevertheless”... “Clearly”... and “in addition”...

Look at this example, and notice how the paraphrase has been added using linking words and reporting words.

Paraphrase example: One factor within the team that seems to be important is the notion of team cohesiveness. Team cohesiveness enables a diverse group of individuals to work towards common goals. Addison (1996, p. 107) argues that highly cohesive teams ‘are more effective at achieving goals they set for themselves, and have higher member satisfaction’. For example, cohesive 

teams are more likely to have high morale (Smith 1996) and the ability to cooperate, and work effectively together (McAlfee & Champagne 1987). Therefore, team cohesiveness enhances

team effectiveness.

For more information about paraphrasing, try the tutorial.

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Paraphrasing basics
This tutorial gives a step by step guide on how to paraphrase with lots of examples and practice activities. It also covers how to synthesise and summarise.