Site: learnonline
Course: Referencing
Book: Paraphrasing
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2022, 7:51 PM


Avoiding plagiarism through quoting and paraphrasing

What is paraphrasing?


Paraphrasing is presenting ideas and information in your own words and acknowledging where they come from. By using your own words, you demonstrate your understanding and your ability to convey this information.

video iconWatch this short video to gain an understanding of the steps involved in paraphrasing and to learn some tips for how to do it effectively. You may find it useful to pause the video at each of the steps so you can read the example text.

light bulbKey Points Identified in the Video:

We have identified 5 steps involved with paraphrasing. They include:

  1. Read the original text until you understand it
  2. Note down key concepts
  3. Write down your version of the text without looking at the original
  4. Compare your paraphrased text and make adjustments to ensure that it does not remain too similar. Edit your work so it is written in an academic manner and it flows with the rest of your assignment
  5. Make sure you have included a citation

Four tips for paraphrasing:

  1. Start your first sentence at a different point from the original source
  2. Use synonyms
  3. Change the form of words
  4. Change the sentence structure

activity iconActivity

Once you have watched the short video above, practise your paraphrasing by working through the steps of paraphrasing in this interactive resource. You will be able to export your notes at the end of the presentation.

For More Information 

If you would like further support with paraphrasing, follow the links to the resources below.

What is quoting?

Quoting (or quotation) is when you take a phrase, sentence or passage straight from a reading and incorporate it into your own writing. You must always provide a reference when you quote another source directly, and certain punctuation must be used to show where the quote begins and ends.

Short quotes (i.e. less than 30 words long) must have inverted commas ('...') around them:


Longer quotes (i.e. longer than 30 words) must be indented from your writing:


Do not place inverted commas around indented quotes. Sometimes you will need to italicise or decrease the font of your indented quote: check the conventions of your referencing system.

Before quoting

It's important to follow the conventions of your discipline when it comes to quoting, as many disciplines (e.g. the sciences) have little use for quotes in academic work, while others (e.g. the Humanities) frequently use quotes.

Even when your discipline makes use of quotes, do not fall into the trap of over-quoting. Your reader is interested in reading your work and your voice, and if your assignment is comprised mainly of other people's voices this will not be looked upon positively. Anyone can quote other people, so it's important to demonstrate that you've also understood and can convey the information you read.

In addition, you should only quote something if it's especially insightful, or is someone's own argument or commentary on a topic. Do not quote basic factual information, eg: Canberra is the capital city of Australia, Barack Obama is the President of the United States, etc. 

Information-prominent and author-prominent referencing

There are two ways of incorporating paraphrases and quotes into your work: information-prominent and author-prominent.

Information-prominent is where you paraphrase or quote information from another source and only mention the author in your reference. This gives greater emphasis to the information you're providing rather than the author's role in developing that information:


Author-prominent is where you include the author's name as part of your sentence. This draws attention to the author's important role in developing the information you are using.


Though most academic papers contain a mixture of these two in-text referencing styles, in most disciplines there are usually more information-prominent references than author-prominent ones.

Reporting verbs

When using integral orientation, use a reporting verb after the author's name to establish the nature of the information being reported. Popular reporting verbs include:

  • describes
  • proposes
  • reports
  • shows
  • argues
  • suggests
  • analyses
  • demonstrates
  • states
  • observes
  • believes
  • says
  • comments

The choice of reporting verb can tell the reader a lot about what they're reading. For example, 'Lim proved' is very different from 'Lim argued': the former implies a hypothesis has been proven, while the latter implies an argument that's still open to interpretation. Be accurate in your use of these verbs, but also aim for variety: don't use the same two or three reporting verbs over and over again.