Paraphrasing

Your paper should not include too many direct quotations. To avoid this, you can use paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is restating the author’s ideas by using your own words and your own sentence structure.

Don’t forget to include the citation for the text that you have paraphrased.

How to paraphrase

  • Read the text several times to be sure that you understand it. You can now put it aside.
  • For the next steps, do not look at the original text. Jot down the main words representing the ideas expressed in your source.
  • Now, reformulate the author’s ideas in your own words. Imagine that you’re explaining the text to a friend. Feel free to use synonyms.
  • Once you’re done writing your version, go back to the original text and compare it with your paraphrase. Did you manage to express the author’s ideas? Did you make sure you used a different sentence structure?

Example

 Original excerpt

“They usually stay for a few weeks in New York and then move on to Boston or Philadelphia, only to circle back to New York before the end of summer. This type of nomadic behavior makes it especially difficult for these young people to maintain consistent contact with social service providers. In effect, they must move on long before they can make their way through the paperwork and waiting lists that usually accompany any sort of public aid.” (Gibson 117)

Citation:  Gibson, Kristina E. Street Kids: Homeless Youth, Outreach, and Policing New York’s Streets. New York: New York University Press, 2011.

 Paraphrase

Gibson remarks that because many New York street kids are constantly moving from one city to another, it is difficult to keep track of them. It then becomes problematic for these youths to make use of available social services (117).

Citation:  Gibson, Kristina E. Street Kids: Homeless Youth, Outreach, and Policing New York’s Streets. New York: New York University Press, 2011.

Tip: Always remember that even when you paraphrase, you must cite your sources.

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