Topic outline

  • In general, paraphrases should be shorter, more succinct, and get to the main point quicker than in the original source passage.  Compare the original text below with the example paraphrase to see how this might look.  

    Original text 

    Read the original text below.  What is the main idea? How can we rephrase it in a shorter, succinct manner?

    The conservative orientation to education prevailed before the 1960s, with schools and teachers taking an authoritative approach and inculcating students with the dominant values, beliefs and practices of the time. Students are seen as passive recipients of this knowledge. Basically, education is understood as preparation for work (Kemmis et al., 1983). Conservative values education approaches vary. They can be based on religious or secular conceptions of morality, for example. However, they can be distinguished by their focus on preparing the student to fit or follow the conventions of the social, civic, religious or local community.

    (adapted from Jones, 2009, p. 38)

    Example of paraphrase

    In this paraphrase, the ideas in the original source are expressed in the writer's own words and in shorter form. A citation is included to acknowledge the original source. Notice how there is a citation in each sentence to make it clear to the reader that the ideas come from that source.

    According to Jones (2009, p. 38) education in the conservative realm took on a authoritative approach in that values were always imposed onto students who were seen as passive beneficiaries. In addition, schools prepared students for the workforce (Kemmis et al., cited in Jones, 2009, p. 38). The context in this approach will vary depending on what the definition of morality is in a particular instance (Jones, 2009, p. 38).

    Test your Knowledge

    For many second generation Australians the use of the community language is associated primarily with interactions involving members of the first generation: parents, older relatives and family friends. In other words, it is the intergenerational language. In some families and communities, this practice continues to be influenced by the older generation’s limited competencies in English. In most cases though, it is linked to the older generation’s preference for the use of the community language in familial settings for a plethora of reasons. 

    (Source: Pauwels, 2011, p. 156)

    Look at the paragraph about community languages above. How would you paraphrase this? When you are ready to test your knowledge look at the three paraphrases of the paragraph in the quiz below and decide whether or not they are acceptable.

    For more on plagiarism and what is acceptable paraphrasing, click here.