3.3 Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Paraphrasing means rewriting someone else’s idea in your own words (i.e., using different vocabulary and sentence structure than the original source) without changing the original meaning.

A good paraphrase demonstrates mastery of a topic, which is an important part of most assignments. Paraphrasing also allows you to maintain a consistent voice throughout your assignment and make better use of the material by expressing an idea more persuasively than in the original source or by emphasizing a word or idea that is more important to your work and more resonant with your reader.

Similar to paraphrasing, summarizing also involves restating a text or passage in your own words. However, a summary only restates the main points of a text, and therefore is usually much shorter than the original.

You would paraphrase when you want to explain a concept in detail, while you would summarize to convey the highlights of a longer source in a short space.


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Academic Integrity Handbook by Donnie Calabrese; Emma Russell; Jasmine Hoover; and Tammy Byrne is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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