How to Paraphrase

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Tips on Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing can be tricky. You need to make sure that you don’t copy the original author’s style or wording. Even if you have a citation, such borrowing would be considered plagiarism. Paraphrases should sound like you, using vocabulary and sentence structures that your reader would recognize as your work. To make sure you are not plagiarizing unintentionally, think about and jot down the source’s main points. Then, write your paraphrase without looking at the original. When you have finished, compare your paraphrase with the original:

  • Have you simply changed a few words to synonyms? Try again. Being handy with a thesaurus is not enough to make the sentence yours.
  • Have you included exact sequences of words from the original? If so, make sure to put quotation marks around those phrases, or re-write until the entire paraphrase is your words.
  • Have you retained the meaning of the original? Changing the author’s meaning is not plagiarism, but academic honesty requires you to represent other’s work accurately in your writing.

Here’s an example of a good paraphrase from Mizuki’s paper:

Original

To the extent that a woman’s self-image is challenged or threatened by an unattainable ideal of an impossibly thin female physique, she may well become susceptible to disruption of her self-regard, and may be more likely to develop an eating disorder.

Paraphrase in Paper (APA)

If a woman interprets the media’s representation of thinness as the ideal she must achieve, her sense of self-esteem might be threatened and even damaged, making her more likely to exhibit disordered eating patterns (Polivy & Herman, 2004, p. 2).

Note: APA does not require a page number reference for summaries, but you are encouraged to include it when it would help the reader find the relevant information in a long text. Be sure to ask your professor whether page numbers are needed for summaries in papers written for his/her class.

This complete citation appears in Mizuki’s reference list:

Polivy, J., & Herman, C. P. (2004). Sociocultural idealization of thin female body shapes: An introduction to the special issue on body image and eating disorders. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 23, 1-6. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.134.3.460

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The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
6171 Helen C White Hall   /   (608) 263-1992
locations & hours     events     about     contact     colloquium     blog

This section provides a quick resource for citing references in papers using the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2009).

  • Orientation to APA
  • Parenthetical Citations
    • Where to place citations
    • One or two authors
    • Three or more authors
    • No authors
    • Multiple sources in one reference
    • Electronic sources
  • Reference List
    • Book
    • Dissertation
    • Government report
    • Journal article
    • Magazine or newspaper article
    • Publication, private organization
    • Conference paper or poster session
    • Electronic source
    • Format the references list
  • Format and Headings
    • Title page
    • Page numbering and page header
    • Margins
    • Headings
    • Spacing
  • Usage and Style

 

podcast Watch our APA podcast

 

pdf Download an APA overview

  • Handbook Index
  • Academic and Professional Writing
  • Writing Process and Structure
  • Improving Your Writing Style
  • Grammar and Punctuation
  • Cite References in Your Paper
    • American Psychological Association Documentation
    • Chicago/Turabian Documentation
    • Modern Language Association Documentation
    • American Political Science Association Documentation
    • Council of Science Editors Documentation
    • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
    • Numbered References
    • Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources
  • Writing Center Home

Cite multiple sources in one reference

Two or more works in parentheses

Arrange by order of the reference list; use a semicolon between works

Several researchers (Alibali, Phillips, & Fischer, 2009; Siegler, 1976) . . .

Two or more works by the same author(s)

Don’t repeat name(s) earliest year first.

(Alibali, 1999, 2005)

Secondary reference

Only the secondary reference goes in the reference list

Racial injustice is one of the ecological risk factors for child psychopathology, according to Coie et al. (as cited in Greenbert, Domitrovich, & Bumbarger, 2000).

Contact Us

University of Wisconsin - Madison logo College of L&S

Last updated:

Monday, March 5, 2018

Feedback, questions, or accessibility issues

©2018 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
6171 Helen C White Hall   /   (608) 263-1992
locations & hours     events     about     contact     colloquium     blog

This section provides a quick resource for citing references in papers using the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2009).

  • Orientation to APA
  • Parenthetical Citations
    • Where to place citations
    • One or two authors
    • Three or more authors
    • No authors
    • Multiple sources in one reference
    • Electronic sources
  • Reference List
    • Book
    • Dissertation
    • Government report
    • Journal article
    • Magazine or newspaper article
    • Publication, private organization
    • Conference paper or poster session
    • Electronic source
    • Format the references list
  • Format and Headings
    • Title page
    • Page numbering and page header
    • Margins
    • Headings
    • Spacing
  • Usage and Style

 

podcast Watch our APA podcast

 

pdf Download an APA overview

  • Handbook Index
  • Academic and Professional Writing
  • Writing Process and Structure
  • Improving Your Writing Style
  • Grammar and Punctuation
  • Cite References in Your Paper
    • American Psychological Association Documentation
    • Chicago/Turabian Documentation
    • Modern Language Association Documentation
    • American Political Science Association Documentation
    • Council of Science Editors Documentation
    • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
    • Numbered References
    • Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources
  • Writing Center Home

Cite multiple sources in one reference

Two or more works in parentheses

Arrange by order of the reference list; use a semicolon between works

Several researchers (Alibali, Phillips, & Fischer, 2009; Siegler, 1976) . . .

Two or more works by the same author(s)

Don’t repeat name(s) earliest year first.

(Alibali, 1999, 2005)

Secondary reference

Only the secondary reference goes in the reference list

Racial injustice is one of the ecological risk factors for child psychopathology, according to Coie et al. (as cited in Greenbert, Domitrovich, & Bumbarger, 2000).

Contact Us

University of Wisconsin - Madison logo College of L&S

Last updated:

Monday, March 5, 2018

Feedback, questions, or accessibility issues

©2018 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System