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How to Paraphrase in an Essay : Tips

Why Is It Important to Know How to Paraphrase in an Essay?

Someone else’s information in the scientific work is usually used as a paraphrase, and citation. Paraphrasing and quoting is an essential element of writing student scientific projects. Quotes in moderation decorate the text and give the impression of solidity: the author illustrates and reinforces his or her thoughts by remarks of reputable scientists, excerpts from primary sources, and so on.

When working with someone else’s information, it is necessary to distinguish citation (the exact use of somebody’s words) and paraphrasing (generalization of ideas using your own words).

Your essay should not be a repetition of what has been already said by various scientists. Therefore, it must include author’s own comments to the given material, his or her thoughts, and ideas.

Quoting and paraphrasing requires certain skills, because the cited source should be properly formalized as the reference. The absence of the reference constitutes a violation of copyright, while the wrong formatting of the reference is regarded as a serious mistake. The ability to correctly quote sources and in compliance with a sense of proportion is one of the most essential skills in scientific work. Proper selection, distribution, and the formatting of somebody else’s information in the text largely determines the appearance of the work and the overall impression arising the professor has when reading it.

Rules of Citation

You need to quote sources in the following cases:

  • When it is necessary to accurately reproduce the author’s words.
  • When specific facts and statistics identified by some authors are given.

Academic etiquette requires to accurately reproduce the quoted text, as the slightest reduction of the reference can distort the meaning, which was initially put by the author in the reference. Therefore when quoting you must stick to the following rules:

  • The text of citations should be put in the quotation marks and given in the grammatical form, in which it is represented in the source, preserving the characteristics of the author’s writing. All the punctuation inside the quotation must exactly reproduce the author’s punctuation.
  • The citation should be complete, with no arbitrary cuts in a quoted fragment and without distorting the meaning. In cases where you are only interested in a certain fragment of the author’s statement, you may skip some words, sentences, and paragraphs, when quoting, if it does not lead to a distortion of the piece, and is denoted by an ellipsis, which is put in place of passes. Ellipsis is placed in quotes anywhere (at the beginning, middle, or end). Arbitrarily reduction of the quote without indicating the reduction of the corresponding characters is not allowed.
  • Each quotation must be accompanied by a reference to the source, bibliographic description of which should be done in accordance with requirements of bibliographic standards.

Precise and accurate quoting provides a systematic and thorough indication of the source, from which information was taken. This source must be listed in the bibliography, and the text should be referenced with the source number and the page where the quote is taken. In other words, you have to document the sources so as to avoid any questions relating to what words and ideas belong to you, and what words belong to other people. This can be done as follows: in conclusion of the author’s material you need to indicate the serial number of the source according to the list of bibliography with the page on which the quoted material in square brackets.

The text contains the serial number and the page, on which the information is used

In today’s literature, there are many sources of quotations, which author makes references to in the work. A common mistake of students is a reference to the source, where this quote was printed. In such cases, you should not directly indicate the source, from which the quotation was taken, but the source you are quoting.

The quote is formatted as follows: in the end of the quote, you need to indicate the material of the quote in square brackets, followed by the serial number of the source according to the list of bibliography with the page, on which the quoted material is listed.

You must remember that the citation should be neither excessive nor insufficient, since both reduce the scientific level of the essay. Excessive quoting (abundance of quotes on each page) creates the impression of lack of independence in the project as a whole, while the lack of citing reduces the scientific value of the work.

Rules of Paraphrasing

The size (length) of paraphrasing (presentation of ideas of other authors in your own words) is similar to the original material. Paraphrase represents the details of the author’s reasoning and logic, but the most important feature of the paraphrase is that you do not use the exact words and sentences of the author.

The presentation of thoughts of other authors in your own words provides significant savings to the text. At the same time, you should be very accurate in the representation of the ideas of the author and correct in assessing the fragments you are using. When paraphrasing, as well as when quoting, appropriate references to the source, from which information was taken, are made. The source must be listed in the bibliography, and the text should be referenced with the source number, or, if you are paraphrasing ideas of several authors, using different sources, the numbers of sources.

In contrast to the citation, when paraphrasing, you do not need to specify the page.

The reference in the case of paraphrasing should be done in the following way: in square brackets, in the end of the fragment you are paraphrasing, indicate the serial number of the source (or sources) according to the bibliography list, where the material you’re paraphrasing, is located. If the reference refers to a certain word, the sign of the reference should o stand directly in the word, if the reference relates to a sentence (or a group of sentences), and then the sign of the reference should be at the end.

The ways of Paraphrasing

The process of paraphrasing is very creative, however, you need to keep in mind the following important points on how to paraphrase in an essay that will help you achieve a paraphrase of a high quality:

  • It is best to leave the main idea of the text, as well as personal statements, in their original form.
  • By changing the structure of the sentence and the order of ideas contained in it, keep the logical connections between them. For example, if the author begins the text with a generalization and reinforces it with an example, make this example as the entry to the generalization.
  • When paraphrasing a sentence, you can move the fragment from its beginning near to the end, and vice versa.
  • Actively use synonyms to replace words in the original text, not forgetting to adapt them to your specific theme.
  • If necessary, you can combine or divide the sentences.
  • Use direct quotes only in individual cases. In this case, try to opt the most interesting statements in the original text.
  • Always compare your paraphrased version of the text with the source. It is important not to lose any important details and the meaning of the original text.
  • Accompany your text with links, paying homage to the author of the source text. For example, Johnson, M.J. (2013) Modern trends in the development of the world economy.

How to Avoid Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is an intentional or unintentional representation of text, words, facts or ideas of another author as your own.

In the academic world, the author will be seen as plagiarized, if he or she:

  • buys, receives or finds an essay that he or she hands in as his (her) own;
  • inserts a phrase or an idea that is not identified that was literally copied from someone else’s work without the indication of the source in his (her) own review the passage;
  • uses virtually the same sequence of thoughts and organization of arguments, which is the original source;
  • doesn’t use marks of quotation for the words of the author;
  • uses more than one paragraph without comments.

Thus, it is very important to remember both how to cite sources and how to paraphrase in an essay so the text of the project won’t be very similar in the use of words or syntactic constructions to the original source.

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