Topic outline

  • Paraphrasing

    Paraphrasing - presenting the ideas and information you have read in your own words - is an important academic skill. By translating content from your research into your own words, you demonstrate to your reader that you've understood and are able to convey this content.

    It is important to be very thorough when you paraphrase. Paraphrasing is not simply taking what someone has written and changing a few words to make it your own. It is about translating another person's ideas into your own words and in reduced form. You must change the words and sentence structure a lot so they are no longer similar to the original. Even if you use an in-text reference to show where the idea came from, a lecturer may decide that what you have written is plagiarism if your wording is still too close to its source.  Look at the original text and examples of paraphrases below. 

    Original extract

    "Inquiry-based writing instruction is a form of gaining knowledge and skills through asking for information. It is a discovery method of learning which starts learning by posing questions, problems or situations rather than presenting facts directly to students"  (Wale & Bogale, 2021, p. 1).

    Examples of paraphrasing

    Poor quality paraphrase  

    In this first paraphrase, the writer has only changed a few words and swapped some of the sentence around. It's too close to the original, and would be deemed plagiarism despite the correct referencing.

    Inquiry-based writing is an instruction style of learning by asking questions to gain knowledge and skills.  Learning is through discovery which begins through questions, challenges and contexts instead of directly giving information to pupils (Wale & Bogale, 2021).

    Good paraphrase  

    This next example is much better.  The writer has translated the original idea concisely into their own words and included an in-text citation to acknowledge where the idea came from.

    As a teaching method, Inquiry-based writing moves away from the provision of information to a learning process of questioning, contextualising and problem-solving (Wale & Bogale, 2021).

    Original source of extract 

    Wale, B. D., & Bogale, Y. N. (2021). Using inquiry-based writing instruction to develop students’ academic writing skills. 
             Asian-Pacific Journal of Second and Foreign Language Education, 6(1), 1–16.