There are different ways to reference someone’s unique copyright material such as citing, paraphrasing, summarizing. Citing means simply copying another’s phrases without changing anything, word-for-word. In this case, you should always mention the name of the cited author and the title of the work you took a part of the material from. Otherwise, it can be considered as plagiarism, which is unethical and even illegal. Summarizing it, there is a way less strict than citing, it contains only the main ideas of a text written in your own words. It should be much shorter than the original text but also can have correctly formalized quotes in it.
So let’s talk about paraphrasing now
Paraphrasing is retelling ideas, thoughts, conclusions from another original text with your own words. Also, it can be defined as reformulating someone’s material. The main idea of paraphrasing is expressing the meaning of original work with different words and phrases. Unlike direct quoting of a source, while you are working with paraphrasing you do not need to completely copy the author’s words and put them in the quotation marks. Nevertheless, you should still indicate the title and the author’s name in your writing to make it clear that you are using original copyright material.
Purpose and advantages of paraphrasing
Writing that type of material may be a little harder than just copying some text word-for-word, but it surely less difficult when it comes to formalizing the paper. When you are citing you should write down plenty of unnecessary data in order to follow citing rules. For example, you even have to specify page numbers of the book you are quoting. It can be quite annoying especially when you are using a lot of information from the different pages.
While paraphrasing you pay attention to the main aspects of content and the whole point of the material, not only to the written words. It helps you understand the main ideas and thoughts of the material you are using and gives you a reason to deeply think about them over. Furthermore, it’s easier to integrate paraphrasing in your text in comparing to citing. Also, you can replace some difficult words from the original text with a more understandable one. It works especially with science articles, old papers with knotted vocabulary or some materials written for the experts.
You can make your version of the text much shorter than the original one if you think that it will work better. The main point is to keep the most important key ideas and statements. Remember your purpose – not to copy someone’s words and phrases but to express an idea, understand the meaning of the original text and properly retell it.
Steps of work with paraphrasing
Understand the original text
You should clearly get the idea of the material to be ready to write it in your own words. Read the text as many times as you need to remember all the important points, highlight the main parts, search for the definition of the terms you may not understand. It’s really important to know what are you talking about while paraphrasing, otherwise you can misquote someone’s ideas.
Write it down
It doesn’t matter if you are doing spoken or written paraphrasing, both ways you should make some notes or a brief plan. It will help you to get your thoughts together and to structure it in the right way. Write down the words or phrases that you think make the whole point of the material. You can pick several statements, definitions or conclusions from the text and turn them into the basis of your work.
Compare your result to the original text
Read your paraphrasing and then the original material and make sure that your version of it accurately expresses all the important information in a new form. Check if you accidentally forgot to paraphrase something valuable or maybe you added some personal thoughts by yourself. Fix those mistakes if you have it. Remember that paraphrasing should not contain your opinion or your own ideas on certain topics. You can change the words you use to describe an idea but not an idea itself.
Consider using quotation marks
Maybe there was some statement, phrase or even piece of poetry in the text that you couldn’t change in the order of its solid structure or information value. Feel free to indicate it as a quote by using the quotation marks and mentioning that it is a direct saying of an author. You can do the same thing with some unique terms you borrowed exactly from the original text.
Indicate the author
Do not forget to mention the title of the material you are reformulating and the author’s name.
That’s all the steps you need to follow. Now it’s time for some tips to complete your paraphrasing successfully and not to make any mistakes.
Tips for successful paraphrasing
Avoid plagiarism in any way
Plagiarism is really serious misconduct, it can make big damage to your reputation and even ruin your career or study. It can bring you serious penalties up to expulsion from an educational institution. If they find straight plagiarism in your work without reference to the author, your task will not be counted as completed and you will have problems. So take it seriously when you are working with someone’s copyright material.
If you have written your own material but still feel like you have read it somewhere else remember that there are a lot of websites and programs that help to check your work for plagiarism, take your time to use them.
Don’t try to copy the author’s style of writing
While paraphrasing keeps in mind that first of all, you are explaining the idea of the material, not the words. You can write in your own style or use one that is demanded by your task. If you have understood the material you don’t need to use exact same words or sayings to express the main point of it. It would be better for you to use your own comfortable style of presenting the information. It would be easier as well, especially if the original writing style happened to be complicated or full of difficult terms.
Do not distort the original meanings
Don’t try to make your own theory about what an author wanted to say with his text. Paraphrasing is not a review so you can’t add any type of your opinion here. Try to work with the original ideas, problems, and conclusions. You may disagree with some point of view that the author mentions in his work but you cannot delete or fix them into the ones you like.
Read other articles on your topic
As already been mentioned, make sure you fully understand what does the writer means in his work. If it is scientific research take some time to learn more about the topic. Read other articles similar to the text you need to paraphrase, which will expand your professional vocabulary and it will be easier to find synonyms and reformulate phrases.
Remember how to use facts
You should remember that facts cannot be protected by copyright. If you are using some well-known low of science you do not need to use any citing rules or quotation marks to mention it into your text. You can use any facts in your writings to justify certain things without dealing with plagiarism.
Now when you have those tips and a simple guide paraphrasing should not be something difficult for you. Good luck with your work.